Author Archives: David Cenciotti

[Video] F/A-18C Hornet painted in Russian Flanker paint scheme takes part in Top Gun training

U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18C in Adversary role at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina.

Eye-catching paint schemes which make fighter planes similar to their Russian counterparts have become a distinguishing feature of U.S. Aggressors and Adversary jets.

Along with “splinter” patterns, that are inspired by Russian 4th and 5th generation aircraft, more traditional camouflage, like that used by the Russian Naval Aviation, is applied to U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornets (that inadvertently invented the splinter paint design).

The following video shows Marine Corps VMFAT-101 F/A-18 and NSAWC (Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center) F-16s (including some Adversaries in Flanker color scheme) taking part in Top Gun jet fighter training at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, SC.

ISIS surveillance drone is only an amateurish remote-controlled quad-copter

Drones used by ISIS militants are remotely-controlled products you can buy online for about 500 USD rather than something comparable to real UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles).

Even though some media outlets reported that ISIS have acquired unmanned capabilities, after a video posted on Youtube showed Islamic militants using a “surveillance drone” in Syria, the technology used by the terrorist organization is something quite amateurish.

Indeed, the footage was filmed by a Phantom FC40, a famous commercial remote-controlled quad-copter that, according to the vendor DJI Innovations, comes with a smart camera, which supports 720p/30fps HD video and can be controlled (and maybe hacked) through an iOS or Android app running over a 2.4G Wi-Fi connection.

Phantom-FC40

Image credit: DIJ

The Phantom FC40 is not a professional system: it is in the “For Everyone” category, meaning that it is ready to fly and almost everyone can safely fly it.

ISIS used this type of UAS to film Tabqa airfield that they later captured.

Even though they probably found the imagery from the Phantom useful to get a rough idea of the enemy positions before the attack, this commercial drone does not enable the militants to scout details out from long distance in real time nor wait for hours until relevant people appears on the scene as real UAVs can do.

In other words, a Phantom FC40 is far from being the sophisticated UAS (Unmanned Air System) that would give ISIS at least a basic unmanned capability as that owned by Hamas. But it gave the militants some exposure and most probably worked for their propaganda purposes.

In July, the military wing of Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas, Al Qassam Brigades, showed footage of an Ababil A1B over Gaza Strip.

H/T to Giuliano Ranieri for the link to the video

 

Incredible photo of F-16 fighter planes under sky set alight by Northern Lights

Here’s an unbelievable photo shot at Amari Airbase, Estonia.

Taken by photographer Gen Vagula at Ämari Airbase, Estonia, where the aircraft have been deployed to undertake Baltic States air policing duties, this awesome image shows four Royal Danish Air Force F-16 jets parked under a sky set alight by Aurora Borealis.

Aurora (“Aurora Borealis” or “Northern Lights” in the northern hemisphere and “Aurora Australis” or “Southern Lights” in the southern one) is a natural light display caused by the collision of solar wind and magnetospheric charged particles with the high altitude atmosphere (thermosphere).

Ämari, located some 40 kilometers (25 miles) to the southwest of Tallinn, is the second airbase used by NATO to perform QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) duties and provide air defense for those member states that have no fighter jets of their own to secure their airspaces: Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.

NATO planes deployed to the Baltics (the other airbase is Siauliai in Lithuania), are often scrambled to intercept Russian planes flying to/from Kaliningrad oblast, performing long-range missions around Scandinavia and the British Isles, or simply spying in the Baltic region.

Image credit: Gen Vagula

 

Finland steps up air defense following airspace incursions by Russian planes

Even though on average there are about about four to six incidents a year Russian planes have entered the Finnish airspace without permission three times in the last week.

Finnish Air Force is stepping up readiness of its air defense assets following three incidents in a week during which Russian planes entered Finland’s airspace without authorization.

According to the Finnish media outlet Yle.fi, the latest such incursions occurred on Aug. 28, when a Russian An-72 transport plane entered the Finnish airspace over the Gulf of Finland and flew within Helsinki’s FIR for about four minutes.

An-72 FinnAF

Image credit: Finnish Air Force

Even though the aircraft did not penetrate deep into Finland’s territory, the frequency of such violations (the others were recorded on Aug. 23 and 29) raised concern among Finnish authorities, to such an extent Finnish Air Force F/A-18 Hornets have been moved to support bases in the south from where they are flying surveillance flights.

One of the Hornet bases closer to the 1,300-kilometer border with Russia is Kuopio/Rissala, even though the Air Force spokesperson said that standby aircraft have been based at Seutula and Vantaa, Yle.fi reported.

Furthermore, Finnish Hornets are trained to operate from public roads, a type of operations that has been part of the standard training conducted mainly in Central, Eastern and Northern Europe since the Cold War.

Top image credit: U.S. Air Force in Europe

H/T to Antti Hietaniemi for the heads-up

[Video] Flying at treetop altitude with a Russian Mach 3 Mig-25 Foxbat interceptor

Awesome video of the Mig-25 Foxbat flying at very high speed and ultra low altitude some years ago in Russia.

The Mikoyan-Gurevich Mig-25 is a Soviet-era supersonic interceptor equipped with a powerful radar, four air-to-air missiles and a top speed of Mach 3.

The PD was an improved variant of the aircraft introduced at the end of the 1970s with R-15BD-300 engines and new N-005 Saphir-25 (RP-25M) Pulse-Doppler radar.

Designated Foxbat-E by NATO, these fast fighter planes conducted ultra-low level training missions (like those flown today by the Russian Air Force jets); the following video, with footage filmed in various periods, from the end of the 1980s to the end of the 1990s, shows some treetop flying, aerobatics and formation flying.

Some Mig-25RBs, reconnaissance-bomber derivative of MiG-25R, a high-altitude daylight reconnaissance aircraft, are believed to be still in service with the Russian Air Force.