Author Archives: David Cenciotti

Photo shows 38 warships and 4 submarines during RIMPAC 2014′s group sail

An impressive naval armada was arranged for RIMPAC 2014 photo.

It does not happen too soon to see +40 warships sailing together.

The reason is quite obvious: first, there are some navies that are made by little more (if not less) than 40 serviceable surface ships. Second, even though it would not be that easy to come too close to the naval formation (considered that the flagship is a U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier), this *could be* an huge target for air, naval and underwater assets involved in maritime attack/anti-ship missions.

Nevertheless, the sight is quite impressive and, alone, it can represent a good deterrent.

The photo was actually taken during RIMPAC 2014, the 24th exercise in the series of world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise taking place in the Pacific Ocean from Jun. 26 to Aug. 1.

Twenty-two nations are taking part to this year’s edition of the drills that marks the first particpation of China with four ships belonging to the People’s Liberation Army Navy.

RIMPAC 2014 reportedly involve 55 vessels, more than 200 aircraft, and some 25,000 personnel.

Image credit: U.S. Navy

 

[Photo] EP-3E ARIES II spyplane over Tripoli during U.S. Embassy evacuation

U.S. Embassy “relocation” was supported by F-16, MV-22 Osprey as well as EP-3E Aries II aircraft

The US embassy in Tripoli, Libya, was evacuated with staff “relocated” to Tunisia in the early hours of Saturday Jul. 26 amid continuing clashes between rival militias in the capital and fighting at the airport.

Although the DoD said both F-16s and MV-22 Ospreys and ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) aircraft supported the evacuation, it did not unveil U.S. Navy EP-3E ARIES II signal intelligence platforms were involved in the operation.

The presence of the U.S. Navy spyplane was exposed by a picture that was posted on the Facebook page of Ejjaw Kollah group.

The ARIES II is a highly modified version of the P-3C that became famous on Apr. 1, 2001 when one such planes and its crew were detained for 11 days  following a collision with a Chinese J-8IIM fighter (that crashed causing the death of the pilot) and the subsequent emergency landing at Ligshui airbase, in Hainan island.

The U.S. Navy spyplane, most probably operating out of Sigonella, Italy, was already spotted over Libya in 2012. At the time there were rumors the aircraft was involved in operations aimed at detecting and tracking smuggled weapons travelling towards Egypt and destined to Gaza.

Below, an image of an F-16 (from Aviano airbase?) circling over Tripoli.

F-16 over Libya

Image credit: Ejjaw Kollah

[Video] Up close and personal with the elusive RC-135 Rivet Joint at Al Udeid airbase, Qatar

You don’t happen to see many close up footage of the RC-135 Rivet Joint spyplane.

The Rivet Joint is a U.S. strategic asset that is used by the Pentagon in every theater across the globe to draw the EOB (Electronic Order of Battle) of the enemy prior and during crisis or wars.

The aircraft is equipped with all sorts of antennae and sensors, to eavesdrop enemy signals, transmissions, detect frequencies used by radio and radars and pinpoint sites of interest, mobile stations, SAM batteries, etc. within a large area of operation, and transmit the snooped data via satellite.

Whereas an RC-135W is often launched from RAF Mildenhall, in the UK, to collect Russian emissions from the Baltic Sea, other Rivet Joint are based at Al Udeid airbase, Qatar, in the Persian Gulf, from where they operate within the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing and keep an eye on the electromagnetic spectrum of Iranian (and Iraqi) and other regional forces.

Here’s an interesting video, with some close-ups on the elusive plane.

 

[Video] Pro-Russia separatists shoot down Ukrainian Su-25, inspect wreckage

Two Ukrainian Air Force Su-25 Frogfoot attack planes were shot down in eastern Ukraine lately. Here’s the video of pro-Russia separatists inspecting the wreckage.

On Jul. 23, two Ukrainian Air Force Su-25s flying a CAS (Close Air Support) mission near Today, July 23, near Dmytrivka terrorists were shot down by the pro-Russia separatists.

According to the Ukrainian MoD, the two attack planes were part of a flight of four Frogfoot jets egressing the area of operation, when they were hit by anti-aircraft missiles.

Su-25 crash site

At the beginning of the footage you can see the flares deployed by one of the two aircraft, a sign that it was most probably targeted and downed by a MANPADS (Man Portable Air Defense System) rather than a SARH (Semi-Active Radar Homing) surface to air missile (as the Su-11 Gadfly “Buk”, believed to have downed the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 flying as MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on Jul. 17).

Armed U.S. Predator drone appears over Iraq

An MQ-1 Predator drone was filmed near Mosul, Iraq.

Allegedly filmed in the skies over Anbar, south of Mosul, in Iraq, the video below shows what clearly seems to be an MQ-1 Predator.

As some analysts noticed the aircraft appears to be armed with Hellfire missiles, even if the first images are a bit too blurry to say it with certainty. Indeed, the Predator seems to carry at least one AGM-114 on the left hand underwing pylon (the other one is barely visible and could be empty) but it could only be the effect of distortion due to the distance and the drone could also be flying with empty pylons (quite rare, because “pure” reconnaissance missions are usually flown without any pylon and a drone with both empty pylons would mainly point to the event that both missiles have already been fired).

American unmanned aerial systems (UAS) are conducting about 30 – 40 daily reconnaissance missions over Iraq.