Author Archives: David Cenciotti

Did you know a three-time Super Bowl winner flew 45 combat missions over Iraq in the A-10?

Chad Hennings flew the A-10 in combat during the 1990s before winning three Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys.

Chad Hennings is mainly known for playing with the Dallas Cowboys for nine seasons.

However, he is also a U.S. Air Force Academy graduate who flew over Northern Iraq in support of Operation Provide Comfort with the A-10 Thunderbolt II in 1991.

After graduating from the Colorado Springs Academy in June 1988, he entered undergraduate pilot training at the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT) Program at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. But in April 1989 he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.

Needless to say, Hennings had to fulfill his military commitment before he could play in the NFL, something that was extremely initially quite had to accept.

As he explains in a post published on the U.S. Air Force website: “I wouldn’t say there were regrets, (but) it was an emotional struggle […]”

Anyway, he was able to complete the LIFT (Lead-In Fighter Training), became an A-10 pilot and was assigned to the 92nd Tactical Fighter Squadron based at RAF Bentwaters, in the UK, in June 1990.

During the time with the 92nd TFS Hennings deployed twice to Incirlik Air Base, in Turkey, from where he flew 45 combat missions over North Iraq in support of Operation Provide Comfort, an international relief effort to aid the Kurdish refugees in northern Iraq after the Gulf War.

“Football was a distant memory and something in the past that I never really thought about until the Air Force went through the reduction in force and they started the waivers in the spring of ’92,” Hennings said.

He received a waiver in 1992 to be released from active duty as part of the Air Force’s Reduction in Force. He would go on to serve almost 10 more years in the Air Force Reserve Individual Mobilization Augmentee program.

But, during his time as a reservist he played for the Dallas Cowboys for nine seasons and was part of three Super Bowl winning teams. He played in 119 games, recording 27.5 sacks and one touchdown before retiring in 2000.

Today, Hennings lives outside of Dallas, where he’s a partner in a commercial real estate company and does a lot of public speaking.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

F-35 arrival at NAS Patuxent River after first transatlantic crossing B-roll and pilot interview

Interesting video with pilot interview provides some interesting details about the F-35’s first transatlantic crossing.

On Feb. 5, the Italian Air Force’s first F-35, dubbed AL-1 and serialled MM7332 (with code “32-01” and markings of the 32° Stormo – Wing)  landed at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Mariland, at the end of the JSF’s first ever transatlantic flight.

The aircraft was piloted by one of the two ItAF test pilots, belonging to the Reparto Sperimentale Volo (Test Wing) from Pratica di Mare, who successfully completed the training at Luke AFB in November last year.

The following B-roll (H/T to @JamesDrewNews) shows the aircraft, landing at Pax River along with one of the supporting KC-767s (the F-35 was supported by 2x KC-767s, 2x C-130Js and 2x Typhoons).

After chasing the F-35 for most of its transatlantic flight, the two-seater Typhoon and its own supporting KC-767 landed at Pease ANGB, in New Hampshire, from where they will fly to Nellis AFB, in Nevada, in anticipation of the first participation of the Italian Typhoons to a Red Flag exercise.

Interestingly, the F-35 refueled 7 times from Italy to the U.S. and most of the refueling took place in bad weather: nevertheless, there were no problems nor disconnection as the F-35 is extremely stable (so as the KC-767).

 

The Italian Air Force has successfully accomplished the F-35’s first transatlantic crossing

The Italian Air Force made the history by successfully accomplishing the F-35’s first transatlantic crossing.

On Feb. 5, the first Italian Air Force F-35, the first JSF built outside the U.S., landed at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Mariland, at the end of a 7-hour transatlantic flight from Lajes Air Base, in Portugal.

The aircraft, dubbed AL-1 and serialled MM7332 departed from Cameri on Feb. 3 and was scheduled to land in the U.S. on the following day but the trip was delayed due to strong winds over the Atlantic Ocean.

The aircraft was piloted by one of the two ItAF pilots who successfully completed the training at Luke AFB last year.

F-35 ground

F-35 left side

The aircraft arrived at Pax River, where it will be involved in testing activities before moving to Luke Air Force Base, was accompanied by two KC-767 tankers, two C-130Js for logistical and SAR support, and one two-seater Eurofighter Typhoon acting as chase plane. One of F-2000B remained at Lajes as spare, and will wait until all return from the States within a couple of days (except for the JSF).

C-130J

Typhoon B

Typhoon B 2

The pictures in this post show the formation arriving a Lajes: noteworthy, the stopover marked the first landing of an F-35 in Portugal.

Image credit: APS – Associação Portugal Spotters

 

Northrop Grumman has just released an animation that shows how 6th Generation fighters might look like

Northrop Grumman has just launched a new ad that teases next generation fighter jets.

One year ago, Northrop Grumman, at that time competing with Lockheed Martin and Boeing for the LRS-B ( Long Range Strike-Bomber) released an interesting ad that teased the shape of the next generation bomber.

Earlier today, the aerospace giant released a new ad that clearly shows, along with a B-2 and some X-47B UCAVs, three 6th Gen. fighters: the new tailless concept, already exposed by some renderings last year, features the “cranked kite” design that’s in vogue with Northrop Grumman, which built the U.S. Air Force iconic B-2 stealth bombers the X-47B naval killer-drone demonstrator and the still much secret RQ-180 unmanned aerial vehicle surveillance aircraft.

The so-called Next Generation Air Dominance concept points towards a small and much agile plane, rumored to be supersonic, long-range, cyber-resilient against threats of the future interconnected world, and able to carry laser-weapons.

Russian supermaneuverable Su-35 Flankers have started flying over Syria

Russian Gen. 4++ fighter jet has joined the air war over Syria.

Yet another Russian modern weapon system has joined the Syrian Air War.

Previously exposed by images appeared on some Russian aerospace forums (that allegedly showed the aircraft during trailing a Tu-154 during the deployment), supermaneuverable Su-35S fighters have started “to carry out military tasks last week”, as confirmed by Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov.

The (four) aircraft will provide cover to the Russian warplanes conducting raids in Syria, that are already being covered by both RuAF and Syrian jets as well as the S-400 Triumf battery installed at Hmeymim airbase, near Latakia.

According to the Interfax News Agency, the aircraft belong to the first batch delivered in October-November last year “that were initially attached to the 23rd fighter aircraft regiment of the 303rd guard combined aviation division of the 11th Air Force and Air Defense Army of the Eastern Military district stationed at the Dzengi airfield and relocated to the Privolzhsky airfield in Astrakhan in a later period.”

The aircraft deployed to Syria following the usual route over the Caspian Sea, Iran and Iraq.

The 4++ generation Su-35 is characterized by supermaneuverability. Although it’s not stealth (even if some sources say it can detect stealth planes like the F-35 at a distance of over 90 kilometers…), once engaged in a WVR (Within Visual Range) air-to-air engagement, it can freely maneuver to point the nose and weapons in any direction, to achieve the proper position for a kill.

The deployment will give the Russians an opportunity to test their new combat plane in a real war environment.

Image credit: Oleg Belyakov/Wiki