Category Archives: Military Aviation

Watch Finnish and Swedish fighter jets take off and land on a Finnish country road during a recent exercise

Finnish and Swedish aircraft take off and land on roads as part of the training.

From Sep. 19 to 26 the Finnish Air Force conducted Exercise Baana 2015 which took place at the Rovaniemi Air Base and from the road strip at Hosio.

Finnish Hornet and Hawk jets, tactical and light transport aircraft were joined in this exercise by two Swedish Air Force Gripen fighters from 211 Squadron, F 21, which landed on a road runway in Finland for the first time.

Gripen Forsvarsmakten

Gripen Forsvarsmakten 2

According to the Swedish Armed Forces, Baana 2015 has been a challenge for the Swedish pilots since they had to fly in from Sweden and land on a section of highway 924 under overcast conditions, as the following video shows.

As we have already explained, such kind of training was part of the standard training conducted mainly in Central, Eastern and Northern Europe during the Cold War. With the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, highway take-offs and landings have become less frequent.

However, the threat of Russian bombers violating the airspace of Baltic countries requiring dispersion and QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) intervention, from any place, including public roads, is still alive.

Image credit: Swedish Armed Forces

Russian Su-30SM, Su-24 violate Turkish airspace. Flanker locks on TuAF F-16 for +5 minutes

It looks like a Sukhoi Su-30SM deployed to Syria has had a close encounter with Turkish Air Force F-16s past the Syria-Turkey border.

Russian planes deployed to Syria violated the Turkish airspace twice in the last couple of days.

According to NATO, the violations occurred “on 3 October and 4 October by Russian Air Force SU-30 and SU-24 aircraft in the Hatay region. The aircraft in question entered Turkish airspace despite Turkish authorities’ clear, timely and repeated warnings. In accordance with NATO practice, Turkish fighter aircraft responded to these incursions by closing to identify the intruder, after which the Russian planes departed Turkish airspace.”

Some more (sometimes contradictory) details appeared on the Turkish media outlets: although the first reports said the aircraft (initially IDed as Mig-29 Fulcrums – a type flown by the Syrian Air Force and not deployed in theater by the RuAF) breached into the Turkish airspace for 5 miles, according to Ankara, the Russian Su-30SM multirole plane violated Tukey’s airspace by “only” some hundreds of meters and returned to Syria after it was intercepted by two F-16s from the Turkish Air Force out of 10 flying CAP (Combat Air Patrol) near the border.

Furthermore, it seems that the Russian Su-30SM (as said, initially referred to as a Mig-29, before it was determined it was a Flanker-derivative multirole jet) maintained a radar lock on one or both the F-16s for a full 5 minutes and 40 seconds.

According the Russians, the violation was due to a “navigation error”: quite funny considered the type of navigation systems equipping a modern Su-30SM.

Although the navigation error can’t never be ruled out a priori, considering the equipment carried by a 4++ Gen. aircraft, and that it was flying next to a “danger zone” there’s reason to believe that the two pilots on board were perfectly aware of their position.

What is even more weird is the fact that the Russian plane locked the Turkish F-16s for such a long time: instead of turning back the RuAF Sukhoi was ready to fire (or to respond to fire).

Almot no details are currently available about the Su-24 Fencer violation.

As explained when a Turkish RF-4 was shot down by a Syrian coastal anti-aircraft battery after violating the Syrian airspace in 2012, aircraft entering a foreign airspace should not be fired upon but warned, intercepted and eventually escorted outside the violated airspace.

In 2014, a Syrian Mi-17 was shot down by a TuAF F-16, while in 2013 it was the turn of a Syrian Mig-23. But now the Turkish F-16s defending Ankara borders face a different threat….

Image credit: Russian MoD


Video: F-35Cs land aboard USS Eisenhower to continue Joint Strike Fighter Developmental Testing at sea

The Navy’s F-35C has kicked off the second phase of Developmental Testing at sea.

On Oct. 2, U.S. Navy test pilots Cmdr. Tony “Brick” Wilson and LT Chris “TJ” Karapostoles landed F-35C test aircraft CF-03 and CF-05 aboard USS Eisenhower (CVN 69) off the coast of the eastern United States.

With these two arrested landings the carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter has begun the second phase of Developmental Testing  (DT-II).

F-35C test pilots and engineers from the F-35 Lightning II Pax River Integrated Test Force (ITF) based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Patuxent River, Maryland, that has already conducted DT-I on the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) from Nov. 3 to 14, 2014, will remain aboard “IKE” until Oct. 15 testing JSF carrier suitability and integration in the at-sea environment.

The test team will achieve this objective through a series of test events designed to gradually expand the aircraft operating envelope at sea. In fact, during DT-II, the F-35C will perform a variety of operational maneuvers, such as catapult take offs and arresting landings, while simulating maintenance operations and conducting general maintenance and fit tests for the aircraft and support equipment.

DT-II is the second of three at sea test phases planned for the F-35C: indeed, as any other naval aircraft the Lightning II undergoes DT-I, -II, and –III test phases. After the end of each Developmental Testing phase, the team conduct an assessment of the F-35C’s performance in the shipboard environment before advising the Navy on any adjustments necessary to ensure that the fifth generation fighter is ready to meet its scheduled initial operational capability in 2018.

As this video shows, cold and wet weather did not prevent the test team from operating the two Lightning IIs aboard the USS Eisenhower.

Gorgeous cockpit video of the last Vulcan bomber flying in formation with the Red Arrows for the last time

The last flying Vulcan Bomber, XH558, flew with the Red Arrows one last time at the Southport Air Show.

After taking part in air shows for eight years, the last flying Vulcan bomber will perform its final flights today taking part at Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon and at Shuttleworth Uncovered Air Show, which will end Old Warden Collection airshow season.

Avro Vulcan XH558 (carrying civil registration G-VLCN), is the only airworthy bomber of a fleet of 134 Vulcan V bombers operated by the Royal Air Force from 1953 until 1984.

Vulcan Red Arrows RAF cockpit 2

The aircraft made its maiden flight in 1960 and was retired from active service in 1984, then it continued to fly with the RAF’s Vulcan Display Flight, performing until 1992.

Its display career restarted in 2008, after the Vulcan To The Sky Trust was able to bring the bomber back to airworthy condition the previous year, but on May 15 this year it was announced that 2015 would have been the delta-winged aircraft’s final flying season.

Vulcan Red Arrows RAF cockpit 3

To salute the iconic plane, the Red Arrows display team performed a flypast with the mighty Cold War bomber for the last time during Southport Air Show on Sept. 19.

Squadron Leader David Montenegro, Red 1 and Team Leader of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, remarked that “It was a great honour to lead a formation flypast with the Vulcan, particularly as the aircraft type was once based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire – now home to the Red Arrows.”

Vulcan Red Arrows RAF cockpit 4

In the following beautiful video, taken from the cockpit of the bomber, you can join the Vulcan aircrew who flew with the Red Arrows for the final time.

U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors covered Pope Francis’s Boeing 777 during his US tour.

A photo unveiled the presence of two Raptors close to “Shepherd One.”

During Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, the U.S. government carried out one of the largest domestic protective security operations in its history.

In fact, each U.S. military branch, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Secret Service (which is usually tasked to protect US president and vice president), and local-state police departments, joined together conducting a huge escort operation  to safeguard the Pope from a wide variety of attack possibilities.

As unveiled by Ian D’Costa in his article “America Deployed its Best Fighter to Cover the Pope’s Tour of the Country,” on, it seems that this impressive contingent also included the Lockheed Martin F-22, the U.S. Air Force fifth generation stealth fighter.

Indeed, as reported by D’Costa, shortly after Pope’s American Airlines Boeing 777 departed from New York heading to Philadelphia, a planespotter named Robert Dube, took a picture of an Airbus taking off from John F. Kennedy international airport with a KC-10 Extender refuelling a pair of F-22s in the background (top image).

Considered that Raptors don’t refuel over Manhattan or nearby too often, it is safe to assume that the aircraft were  deployed to counter a potential terrorist attack conducted by using a hijacked airliner.

Anyway the U.S. Air Force would have not allowed to any aircraft to penetrate the bubble erected to protect “Shepherd One” (as the aircraft in which the Pontiff is flying is nicknamed) and its most advanced air superiority fighter has been the best option to deter an intervention from any potential airborne threat.

Needless to say, it was probably not the only type of aircraft the Air Force committed to such task.

The Pope's return flight to Rome could be tracked online on

The Pope’s return flight to Rome could be tracked online on

Top image credit Robert Dube via Ian D’Costa (