In the US military, a Wild Weasel is a fighter aircraft that has been upgraded and adapted to attack and destroy enemy air defense systems, which include their surface-to-air missile launching sites and their radars. To fulfill this type of mission, the fighter is armed with anti-radiation missiles and fitted with a passive radar to guide them to the targets to be hit. The first anti-radation missile used to equip this type of aircraft was the AGM-45 Shrike, which entered service in 1965. To sum up, the mission of the Wild Weasel is to search out and knock out SAM sites, requiring a reliable aircraft that can survive, with a big bombload capacity.
The first Wild Weasel aircraft was the US Navy’s A-6 Skyhawk. However, the most reknown aircraft to carry out the mission of wiping out enemy anti-aircraft defenses were the F-105G and the F-4G, which were special versions of the F-105 Thunderchief and the F-4 Phantom II respectively. The former was first used in combat in the Vietnam War, in the late 1960, to secure an air path for the bombers to fly in and drop their bombs. The F-4G would successfully take part in Operation Desert Storm, the 1991 Gulf War, destroying the Iraqi SAM launching sites and blinding their air defense systems. The single-seat F-16C version was also adapted to perform the Wild Weasel role.