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
An interesting shot, shows a Super Hornet land on aircraft carrier with an AGM-84 Standoff Land Attack Missile-Expanded Response weapon.
This image shows an F/A-18E Super Hornet belonging to the Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147 Argonauts as it performs an arrested landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz underway conducting routine training exercises in the Pacific.
What makes the photo particularly interesting is the presence of an AGM-84 SLAM-ER on the Hornet‘s right hand underwing pylon, along with a centerline tank for buddy refueling.
The AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER (Standoff Land Attack Missile-Expanded Response) is a precision-guided, air-launched cruise missile for attack of land and sea targets at a maximum distance of 155 miles (250 km). The stand-off missile can be used for air strikes against still and moving targets, thanks to a GPS and IR (Infra-Red) imaging for its navigation and control and can be remotely controlled while in flight to be dynamically redirected to another target, should the need arise.
Even if the SLAM-ER is not a new weapon in the U.S. Navy inventor you can’t find many photos of the Super or Legacy Hornets operating from a flattop with the stand-off missile.
Image credit: U.S. Navy
Harrier Nighttime Flight Deck Operations
Top image shows an AV-8B Harrier preparing to land on the flightdeck of amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) during night operations.
What makes the picture particularly interesting is the characteristic NVG signature of the Jump Jet about to land on the flight deck of the ship.
Makin Island is the flagship of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group and, with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in the Arabian Sea and it is going to replace USS Bataan, whose AV-8B Harriers of the 22nd MEU have conducted surveillance missions over ISIS forces in northern Iraq.
Here below is an interesting video showing AV-8B+ Harrier jets on the flight deck of USS Kearsarge sailing off the coast of North Carolina back in 2013.
The Jump Jets belong to the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 266 (Reinforced) of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).
Top Image credit: U.S. Marine Corps
Take off and landing from an aircraft carrier can be extremely dangerous.
Even if they are extremely important to project power across the globe, aircraft carriers and their flight decks are among the most dangerous working places all around the world.
Planes and helicopters that operate from aircraft carriers and huge ships face space constraints, weight limits, challenging weather conditions and, usually, unavailability of a nearby divert airfield: that’s why in spite of a lot of training and skills, something goes wrong every now and then.
The following video shows some famous and other less known mishaps, close-calls and incidents aboard U.S. and foreign aircraft carriers and warships at sea.
Obviously there are many other videos available on the Web. Let us know which one in your opinion is the most shocking or somehow interesting footage showing a carrier deck mishap.
With a series of tests conducted aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt the Navy’s unmanned X-47B drone demonstrated its ability to operated safely and seamlessly with manned aircraft.
On Aug. 17, the U.S. Navy successfully tested its X-47B UCAS (Unmmaned Combat Air System) alongside an F/A-18F Hornet in a flight deck working environment.
The unmanned aircraft (destined to become USN’s first “killer drone”) completed a series of tests, which included a catapult launch and arrested landing, which demonstrated its ability to operate safely and seamlessly with manned aircraft.
After hitting some important milestones operating as a singleton, the next step was to occupy the carrier pattern with the manned aircraft in order to test whether the UCAS is able to land and vacate the landing area within the time lines that are required for blue water ops aboard a U.S. flattop.
According to the U.S. Navy:
“The first series of manned/unmanned operations began this morning [Aug. 17] when the ship launched an F/A-18 and an X-47B. After an eight-minute flight, the X-47B executed an arrested landing, folded its wings and taxied out of the landing area. The deck-based operator used newly developed deck handling control to manually move the aircraft out of the way of other aircraft, allowing the F/A-18 to touch down close behind the X-47B’s recovery.
This cooperative launch and recovery sequence will be repeated multiple times over the course of the planned test periods. The X-47B performed multiple arrested landings, catapults, flight deck taxiing and deck refueling operations.”
Future plans include nighttime taxiing and flying.
Image and Video credit: U.S. Navy