Author Archives: David Cenciotti

Can you ID this rocket that was abandoned in Milan’s suburbs?

A rocket was found in the outskirts of Milan.

On Oct. 24, a rocket was found in Parco Lambro, a large park located in northeastern Milan, Italy.

About 70 cm in length, the rocket is painted olive-drab and has a yellow nose, as if it contains an explosive warhead. Although it may be a fake (it looks too clean, without rivets, bolts, labels etc.), its shape reminds that of a 5-Inch HVAR (High Velocity Aircraft Rocket) or a 3.5-Inch FFAR (Forward Firing Aircraft Rocket) – old rockets whose length is twice that of the ordnance found under a tree at Lambro park in Milan.

In 2011, a rocket “used by Italian helicopters” (most probably an 81-mm Medusa rocket) was found in a field near the tracks of a Rome-Naples high-speed railway bridge in the area of the settlement Ceccano, near Frosinone. The rocket, hidden below some black plastic bags, is about 1.5 meters in length and, although filled with propellant, it had no explosive material.

Image credit: Newpress via Corriere.it

ISIS flag planted on hill near Kobane: Coalition air strike wipes it out

Video shows what happened to a hill near Kobane. Wiped out by an air strike conducted by US-led coalition bombers.

This is a striking video showing what happened to a hill near Kobane, where ISIS had just planted a flag. IS fighters are unware the position is going to be literally buried by bombs dropped by coalition jets.

B-1 bombers have been spotted over Kobane several times in the last few weeks, as the Syrian village near the Turkish border is the theater of a fierce battle between ISIS and Kurdish forces.


Although an identification of the weapons used in the air strike is almost impossible, the following image is a frame from the footage with the bomb (most probably an LGB) highlighted.

Someone may guess why so many bombs where dropped on a flag and couple of IS fighters (one of those seemed to escape the first couple of hits): a symbolic attack?

Bomb on ISIS hill

H/T to Guido Olimpio for posting the link to the AFP on FB

 

Hornet Ball 2014: the best naval aviation video of the year

Once again, Hornet Ball is the best naval aviation video of the year.

The Hornet Ball (Strike Fighter Ball Pacific) is an annual event consisting of all the West coast Naval F/A-18C Legacy Hornet and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet squadrons, their pilots and guests.

Each year the event features a video, produced by “Wingnut”, a Hornet pilot himself, compiled from all the squadrons’ last year of flying in both combat and training missions: catapult launches, trap landings, aerobatics, dogfighting against Su-30s and Mig-29s, live firing of air-to-air missiles, HARM anti-radion missiles, LGBs (Laser Guided Bombs), cluster bombs, low level flying in the desert, ATFLIR  (Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infrared) pod clips, and much more.

Here’s the Hornet Ball 2013.

H/T Tom Demerly and Al Clark for the heads-up

 

“Soviet mission markings” on a U.S. RC-135U spyplane used to monitor the Ukrainian crisis

Some interesting markings were noticed on the fuselage of a U.S. surveillance plane at RAF Mildenhall, in the UK. The reason behind them, is (somehow) unknown.

Traditionally, fighter jets that scored an air-to-air kill sport special markings (that may have the shape of stars, crosses, roundels, downed aircraft’s profile or silhouette, etc) painted on the sides. Similar markings (bombs, missiles, type of target etc) are also worn by fighter bombers to show the amount of ordnance spent by that specific aircraft against ground targets.

During “peacetime” operations, similar markings are sometimes applied to those aircraft that have scored simulated kills during mock air combat training, have dropped a new kind of weapon (on the range, for testing purposes), or have flown a specific mission. Needless to say, the markings which celebrate virtual kills are less significant than those earned during a conflict…..

However, not only tactical planes and fast jets wear these markings, as the image on this post, taken last month at RAF Mildenhall by photographer Gary Chadwick proves.

The photo shows the “mission markings” applied above the crew entry hatch, on the left hand side of the RC-135U Combat Sent 64-14849 “OF” with the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron/55th Wing of the U.S. Air Force: five hammer and sickle symbols along with the silhouettes of four aircraft carriers (outline reminds that of U.S. flattops rather than Russian Navy Admiral Kuznetsov).

The RC-135U is believed to be involved in missions to monitor the Ukrainian crisis since August 2014.

The Combat Sent is one of the most secretive U.S. surveillance planes that can simultaneously locate, identify, and analyze multiple electronic signals. It provides strategic electronic reconnaissance information, performing signal analysis by means of a wide variety of commercial off-the-shelf and proprietary hardware and software, including the Automatic Electronic Emitter Locating System.

RC-135U refuel

Above: RC-135U refueled by KC-135 over Norway during mission out of RAF Mildenhall, UK, in September

On Apr. 23, a U.S. RC-135U Combat Sent performing a routine surveillance mission in international airspace over the Sea of Okhotsk, was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 Flanker in one of the most dangerous close encounters since the Cold War.

Top image credit: Gary Chadwick

 

NATO jets, including Canadian Hornets, scrambled twice in two days to intercept Russian spyplane

NATO QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) jets scrambled twice in two days to intercept Russian military aircraft

The Il-20 is the most frequent Russian Air Force aircraft intercepted by NATO fighter jets in the Baltics.

Noteworthy, as the Swedish Air Force is hunting the foreign submarine in the Stockholm archipelago, the spyplane has been intercepted twice in two days, over the Baltics.

According to the Latvian military on Oct. 20, a Russian Il-20 was intercepted by Royal Canadian Air Force CF-188s scrambled from Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania. Then, on the following day, Portuguese AF F-16s, also deployed to Siauliai airbase for NATO Baltic Air Policing mission were scrambled to intercept and shadow an Il-20 Coot intelligence gathering aircraft.

Russian Air Force Il-20s regularly fly in the Scandinavian region causing alert scrambles by NATO planes providing QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) for the Baltic Air Policing mission. On Mar. 3, 2014 one the Russian ELINT (Electronic Intelligence) planes almost collided with SAS Boeing 737 with 132 people on board southwest of Malmö, Sweden.

Image credit: RCAF