Author Archives: David Cenciotti

Video shows A-10 Thunderbolts and C-17 Globemasters in action over Nevada Test & Training Range

A-10s and C-17s during Joint Forcible Entry Exercise over Keno Airfield.

The footage in this post shows A-10 Thunderbolt and C-17 Globemaster aircraft in action over Keno Airfield on the Nevada Test & Traning Range during JFE (Joint Forcible Entry Exercise) 14B on Dec. 6, 2014.

Featuring some 100 aircraft, JFE is a US Air Force Weapons School large-scale air mobility exercise with the aim to test the ability of the participants in the weapons school courses to plan and execute complex air operations, including infiltration and exfiltration of combat forces via airdrops and tactical landings on unimproved landing strips, in a simulated contested battlefield.

C-17s release flare over Keno

 

USAF A-10s appear in videos showing Kurdish fighters breaking ISIS siege of Mount Sinjar in Iraq

While we wait for some official footage of the A-10s at work in Iraq, here’s a clip where you can hear and see the Air Force “Hogs” in action.

Kurdish Peshmerga forces reportedly broke Islamic State siege of Iraq’s Mount Sinjar, freeing thousands of members of the Yazidi minority who were trapped there since August.

At min. 1:38 of the following footage released by Kurdish authorities you’ll see an A-10 flying high over the Peshmerga fighters east of Mount Sinjar moving in trucks and armoured personnel carriers.

Then, at min. 1:20 of the video below you will hear the unmistakable sound of the GAU-8 Avenger a 30 mm hydraulically driven seven-barrel Gatling-type cannon of the A-10 aircraft belonging to the 163rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron “Blacksnakes”, part of the 122nd Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard, based at Fort Wayne, Indiana, currently deployed to Ahmed al Jaber airbase, in Kuwait.

Little official information about the A-10 involvement in war on ISIS has been released so far. We know the Warthogs are being used in Iraq and not in Syria, a sign that the Pentagon probably considers Syrian air defense systems a lethal threat to the aircraft or that A-10s are not dispatched where they can’t get TACP (Tactical Air Control Party) support to conduct Close Air Support.

H/T to Save the A-10 page for the heads-up

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

New Photos of Russian Planes intercepted by Norwegian Fighter Jets

Here’s a nice collection of images shot by the Royal Norwegian Air Force during the recent close encounters with Russians off Norway.

On Dec. 18, two RNoAF F-16s in QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) were scrambled from Bodo airbase to intercept an unidentified aircraft flying off the north of Norway.

The aircraft was later identified as an Il-20 Coot intelligence gathering plane, flying in international airspace off Finmark.

The news of the latest close encounter was given by the Norwegian media outlet Nordland in an article on their website which included an extremely interesting collection of images (some of those posted below) taken by RNoAF pilots during recent intercept missions of Russian Air Force combat planes.

Here below, an armed Mig-31:

Mig-31 side
A couple of weeks ago, the RNoAF released HUD (Head Up Display) footage of an F-16 almost colliding mid-air with a Russian Mig-31 Foxhound flying alongside Su-34 Fullbacks.

Below, an armed Tu-22M:

Tu-22

Tu-22 missile

A Su-24 Fencer:

Su-24

Bottow view of an armed Mig-31 Foxhound:

Mig-31

Il-78 refueling a Tu-95 Bear:

Il-78 refueled

Image credit: RNoAF

H/T to Stefan Bøyum Schlömilch for the heads-up

 

First Australian F-35 has arrived for training at Luke Air Force Base

The first Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II jet landed at Luke Air Force Base marking the first international partner F-35 to arrive for training at the airbase in Arizona.

On Dec. 18, the first Australian F-35A Lightning jet arrived at Luke Air Force Base where it will be used for pilot training beginning in 2015.

The aircraft, known as AU-2, was flown on its 90-minute transit from Lockheed Martin’s plant in Fort Worth, Texas, to Luke by U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Todd “Torch” LaFortune. It was then assigned to the 56th Fighter Wing, that already operated a fleet of 17 F-35s.

The arrival of AU-2 at Luke AFB marks the first of 10 international partners starting training in the US. The second F-35A for Australia, designated AU-1, is scheduled to arrive at Luke Air Force Base in the next few days.

The RAAF is expected to operate 72 such multi-role planes from two airfields, Williamtown, in New South Wales, and Tindal, in the Northern Territory, along with the current fleet of Australian F/A-18F Super Hornet (some of those are deployed in the UAE to support U.S. led campaign against ISIS) and EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft.

As a side note, Luke AFB is the base where fuel trucks have been given a two layer coating of “solar polyurethane enamel” (whose outer color is white) to prevent fuel stored in the tanks from over-heating with consequent F-35 engine issues.

RAAF F-35 Luke taxi

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

Russia surpassed U.S. in production of new combat planes, Russian United Aircraft Corporation says

According to the Joint Stock Company UAC (United Aircraft-building Corporation), Russia has produced more combat aircraft than the U.S., in 2014.

As reported by Russian media outlets, in an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio station, Vladislav Goncharenko, deputy head of the military aviation programmes department at UAC (the a Russian holding which encompasses Irkut, Mikoyan, Sukhoi, Ilyushin, Tupolev, Beriev and Yakovlev), Moscow has surpassed the U.S. in the number of produced combat aircraft.

Whilst in 2013, UAC companies delivered 68 planes, 100 aircraft, 95 of those are combat planes for the Russian Air Force were produced and delivered in 2014.

Along with the production of more planes, UAC subsidiaries have carried out the modernization of existing aircraft and the development of new weapons systems, Goncharenko said.

Even though we don’t know the corresponding U.S. figures, the number of new aircraft delivered to the front-line units of the Russian Air Force is a clear sign Moscow is strongly supporting its renascent military power.

For sure “quantity” does not always come with “quality” and, most probably, U.S. technology will still be ahead of Russian (or Chinese) one for several decades. However, it’s impossible to foresee the outcome of a dogfight in which few, advanced American 6th Generation fighter jets, face outnumbering Russian 5th Generation warplanes.

In the meanwhile, PAK-FA T-50 prototypes have been quipped with Himalayas EW defense systems to increase jamming resistance and self-protection capabilities. The delivery of the first production PAK-FA 5th Generation stealth jet to the Air Force is planned for 2016 whereas new type of combat and reconnaissance drone will appear by 2018. 6th Generation aircraft are being studied as well.

By 2020, 55 PAK-FA fighters will be in service with the Russian Air Force.

H/T to @Missilito for the heads-up