Category Archives: Military Aviation

U.S. and Moroccan F-16s train during largest Department of Defense exercise in Africa

U.S. and Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16s have operated together during the annual, bilateral African Lion exercise in Morocco.

Six F-16 Fighter Falcon aircraft belonging to 480th Fighter Squadron from Spangdahlem, Germany, along with support assets deployed to Ben Guerir airbase, in Morocco, to participate in joint and combined air training during African Lion 2015, the largest U.S. exercise in Africa.

Taking place between May 15 and 22, the annual exercise is designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation’s tactics, techniques and procedures.

According to the U.S. Air Force, the training included first-time Royal Moroccan air force in-flight air refueling with U.S. tankers, emergency landing barrier training and joint datalink ops.

RMAF F-16 break

The training activities were carried out few days after a Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16C Block 52+ (serialled #08-8008), taking part in the Saudi-led coalition air campaign in Yemen was shot down by Houthi rebels on May 11.

Tail RMAF F-16

The aircraft, belonging to a contingent of six F-16s deployed to UAE to take part in the air war against ISIS, was involved in one of the very first RMAF missions over Yemen when it was hit by small arms fire. Pilot was killed in the downing.

 

Awesome video of KC-10 refueling another KC-10 against a full moon….through IR vision

This incredible video was taken by a Damocles targeting pod.

The video in this post was probably taken somewhere over Afghanistan.

It shows U.S. Air Force KC-10 “buddy” refueling against a full moon.

The IR-vision scene, with the moon appearing closer due to the magnifying effect of the zoom, was filmed with a Damocles multi-function targeting pod, by a French aircraft, possibly a Dassault Rafale, a Mirage 2000 or a French Navy Super Etendard that are equipped with the pod used for laser designation and day/night smart weapons guidance.

H/T Gizmodo

 

The story of an F-14 Tomcat RIO who became prisoner of war during the First Gulf War

The dramatic story of a US Navy Tomcat RIO, POW during Operation Desert Storm.

As we have recently explained, in the early morning of Jan. 21, 1991, the F-14B (BuNo 161430, at the time designated F-14A Plus) from the VF-103 “Sluggers,” callsign “Slate 46”,  flown by Lt. Devon Jones and RIO Lt. Lawrence Slade, was hit by an Iraqi SA-2 Surface to Air Missile.

The crew was forced to eject due to the violent flat spin which followed the SAM explosion.

During the descent, the two men saw each other for the last time before entering the clouds and once they put their boots on the ground their fate was quite different.

In fact, while Lt. Jones was saved with a spectacular Combat SAR mission, Lt. Slade tried to go as far as he could from the Tomcat crash site, walking for about 2 ½ hours in the desert using his radio every hour without receiving any reply.

Then, while Slade tried to hide himself near a little knoll, the Iraqis found him.

“At about 1030, a white Datsun pickup truck came around the knoll,” Slade says in the book Gulf Air War Debrief.

“It was probably bad luck because I don’t think they were looking for me; they were just driving by. Two men stopped and got out. One had a 12-gauge shot gun, the other, an AK-47. […] They approached me, but it never crossed my mind to pull out my pistol. I was obviously had. They made me strip off all my gear.”

The two men were very polite and after they put Slade between them in the pickup, took him in their tent where they fed him.

Then, after the lunch, they put him again in the pickup and they asked him if he wanted to go to either Saudi Arabia or Baghdad. Of course, he told them Saudi Arabia, choosing the most northern town he could recall. Slade knew that if the trip took three hours, it would have been Baghdad; eight, Saudi Arabia. Sure enough, 3 ½ hours later they pulled into an army camp, and he knew it wasn’t Saudi Arabia. For the rest of the day Slade was shuttled to six different camps, blindfolded and handcuffed. Nevertheless he was for sure a subject of interest, since people came out to see him, take pictures of him and poke at his gear. They’d pick on him, kick him, and if they spoke English they’d say things like “You kill our children.”

Slade spent the following three days in Baghdad where he experienced very harsh interrogations, then he was transferred in the first of several prisons where he spent his POW (Prisoner Of War) experience.

As he recalls: “In retrospect, I was shot down on the fourth day of the war and they had already had a few prisoners: a couple of Tornado crews, an A-6 crew and a Marine OV-10 crew. ”

Lieutenant Slade and his fellow POWs changed different prisons in Baghdad where they also experienced several allied bombs raids, the most intense of which was the one that took place on Feb. 23, when 2,000-lb bombs almost completely destroyed their jail.

But for sure the most impressive experience faced by Slade were the interrogations by Iraqi jailers. He had a total of six interrogations, some of what they called soft-sell, where they just asked him questions. Then there were the hard-sells, where they pounded on him. For the most part, they didn’t use any classic torture methods. They just beat him up, tied his hands behind his back and double-blindfolded him to the point where he couldn’t even blink.

They beat allied prisoners even when they answered their questions. Slade, as well as the other POWs answered to the questions just to make beatings stop “even though the answers were complete garbage. Some I didn’t know the answer to, and I’d tell them, then I’d make up something. I could hear them writing it down. I thought, ‘You idiots!’ […] Some time toward the end of February, they banged me up against the wall and broke my seventh vertebra.”

During these interrogations Slade was blindfolded and never saw his interrogators, probably so that he could not identify them later, or perhaps because the Iraqis understood how terrifying it is to be blind in the hands of  a torturer.

Lt. Slade endured interrogation, torture and starvation in the Iraqi hands for 43 days: even if his six weeks as a POW were not anywhere as long as six years in North Vietnamese prisons, to Lawrence Slade every week must have seemed like a year.

F-14B Slade 2

Image credit: U.S. Navy

 

Stunning pics of a B-52 strategic bomber doing some heavy carpet bombing in Jordan

B-52 Stratofortress bomber doing what it does best.

The photographs in this post were taken during a combined live fire demonstration in Wadi Shadiya, Jordan, May 18.

They show a B-52H from 2nd Bomb Wing, from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, drop some 500-lb GBU-38 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) bombs during the “monumental military demonstration” that was the final event of Exercise “Eager Lion” a recurring multinational exercise designed to strengthen military-to-military relationships, increase interoperability between partner nations, and enhance regional security and stability.

Noteworthy, the two B-52 Stratofortress bombers that marked the first participation of strategic bombers to Eager Lion, performed a 30-plus hour, 14,000 mile nonstop mission to the U.S. Central Command area of operations.

Buff carpet bombing

They coordinated the attack with Jordanian JTACs (Joint Terminal Attack Controllers) and, after the attack run, overflew the range escorted by two Royal Jordanian Air Force F-16s.

In addition to 5,000 U.S. servicemen, the two-week yearly exercise saw the participation of Jordanian forces as well as contingents from 16 other countries for a total force of about 10,000 troops.

The exercise was held among five sites across Jordan and based on the scenario of a friendly contingent committed to the aid of an allied nation under threat by an aggressive neighbor. Along with the U.S. Air Force strategic bombers, Jordanian tactical planes and U.S. Army helicopters of the 185th Theater Aviation Brigade’s aviation task force, EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) teams, Seabees and patrol craft were used to perform port security in Aqaba, Jordan’s only coastal city, while a Marine crisis-response force out of Kuwait took part in the drills, practicing non-combatant evacuation operation (NCO) by means of MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft in the north.

Image credit: U.S. Marine Corps

 

A view on the quite impressive F-15 Engine Shop at RAF Lakenheath airbase

There are 17 F-15’s exhaust engine nozzles in this image.

The photo in this article was posted by the 48th Fighter Wing on their FB page. It shows at least 17 complete exhaust engine nozzles for the F100-PW-220 and F100-PW-220-229 engines of the F-15C, D and E jets based at RAF Lakenheath, UK.

You can clearly see the typical convergent-divergent profile of the axially symmetrical exhaust nozzles, the nozzle actuators and the titanium actuating rods.

Noteworthy, unlike many other supersonic aircraft’s jet engines, the PW-220 and -229 are “exposed” and lack the so-called “Turkey Feathers” cover plates. These covers were removed in the 1970s to make maintenance easier on U.S. Eagle jets; the Israeli F-15Is, that are equipped with the same engines, or the F-15K Slam Eagles (the Strike Eagle version for the Republic of Korea Air Force) still use them.

The one depicted in the image must be a part of the Engine Shop of the 48th CMS (Component Maintenance Squadron), one of the units of the 48th FW, responsible for on-equipment and off-equipment maintenance and accessory repair of F-15C, F-15D, F-15E and HH-60G aircraft.

According to the unit’s Factsheets, among all the other things, the 48th CMS also manages equipment calibrations and intermediate level maintenance on F-15C, F-15D, F-15E and C-130 avionics line replaceable units; F-15E, F-16, and A-10 LANTIRN navigation, targeting and reconnaissance pods as well as F100-PW-220 and F100-PW-220-229 engines.

Image credit: 48th FW