Category Archives: Military Aviation

Frecce Tricolori MB.339PAN sports brand new livery to celebrate 55th anniversary of the display team

It’s the first time the Frecce Tricolori paint one of their aircraft with a special color scheme.

The “Frecce Tricolori” display team, the only one in the world to perform a display with 10 jets, is equipped with a modified Alenia Aermacchi MB339A, a single engine tandem seat training and tactical support aircraft.

The aircraft of the Italian Air Force display team differ from the standard model serving with the Aeronautica Militare’s 61° Stormo (Wing) at Galatina airbase by the presence onboard of the coloured smokes generation system fed from an under wing fuel tank filled with a colouring agent which is discharged through nozzles placed in the jet exhaust; by the fact it flies with no tip tanks to enhance maneuverability; and, above all, by the characteristic livery of the planes: blue, with tricolored stripes.

Frecce Special

To celebrate the 55th anniversary of the team (actually, the 55th display season), the aircraft assigned to the Frecce Commander was painted with special tail (with the tricolored stripes that cover the whole of it), special silhouettes of the aircraft flown by the team since 1961 (F-86, G.91 and MB.339) and was given the celebratory number #55 (instead of the #0 carried usually sported by “Pony 0″ the Commander’s plane).

Frecce Special nose section

side detail

Five years ago, to celebrate its 50th anniversary, the aircraft of the Frecce Cdr was slightly modified by simply applying the number #50 instead of #0.

The images in this post were taken by The Aviationist’s contributor Alessandro Fucito at Grazzanise airbase, where the Frecce had deployed for rehearsals, on Apr. 22.

Image credit: Alessandro Fucito

 

Some interesting photos of the impressive Israel’s 67th Independence Day flypast

An impressive flypast took place over Tel Aviv.

On Apr. 23, Israel celebrated its 67th Independence Day with the traditional flypast over the beaches of Tel Aviv.

Formations of F-16s, A-4s along with F-15s trailing a B-707 tanker, C-130s, CH-53s and several other Israeli Air Force aircraft took part in the aerial display.

The pictures in this article were taken by photographer Amit Agronov, who took the shots from the 16th floor of the Carlton hotel in Tel Aviv.

Here below is a C-130J-30 “Shimshon”:

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A Gulfstream G550 “Nahshon-Eitam” CAEW (Conformal Airborne Early Warning) aircraft:

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A formation of F-16I “Sufa” multirole combat planes:

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Some of the last A-4 Skyhawk trainers, “Ayit” for the Israeli Air Force, took part in the flypast. The aircraft are being replaced by the brand new Alenia Aermacchi M-346 “Lavi”.

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Below, Beechcraft Super King Air “Tzofit” and RC-12K “Kookiya”:

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Three CH-53 “Yas’ur 2000″ helicopters over the beaches of central Israel:

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Civilian liners from El Al and Arkia (below, a B-757 and an E-195) took part in the display as well: according to local media outlets they took off from Tel Aviv Ben Gurion, flew to the Haifa area before turning east and heading to Jerusalem.

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A formation of the F-16C “Barak”:

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The flypast is destined to feature some stealth multi-role aircraft in the coming years: speaking at the Independence day party, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said the United States plan to deliver the first of 33 F-35I (a specially modified version of the Joint Strike Fighter) fighter jets to Israel next year to help its ally maintain its military edge in the Middle East.

The Israeli Air Force could purchase further planes, to form two squadrons of F-35s, each one equipped with 25 JSFs.

Image credit: Amit Agronov

 

Photo shows China’s Air Force One escorted by 8 Pakistan Air Force JF-17 jets

You don’t see such kind of escort flights every day.

Chinese President Xi Jinping received a very warm welcome on his arrival for a two-day state visit in Pakistan on Apr. 20. A formation of eight JF-17 Thunder jets intercepted and escorted the presidential Boeing 747-400 as it entered Pakistan’s airspace in bound to the Nur Khan airbase in Rawalpindi, Punjab province.

The impressive escort was rather symbolic: the JF-17 is a light, single-engine, multi-role combat aircraft jointly manufactured by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) of China. It represents one of the most evident signs of the strong ties between Beijing and Islamabad.

The Pakistan Air Force plans to operate 160 JF-17 multirole jets about one-third of those are already in active service.

Image credit: AP via Sobchak Security

Polish Air Force to form a new F-16 Viper Demo team. And here’s the jets livery

The New Tiger Paint Scheme For Polish Air Force F-16s Is Going To Be the Livery Of  Poland’s Viper Demonstration Team!

Polish Air Force’s Tiger Squadron – 6th Fighter Squadron based in Krzesiny, near Poznan – is going to be involved in the NATO Tiger Meet exercise in Turkey, scheduled to take place at Konya airbase, between May 4. and 15.

According to the Polish media outlet Lotnicza Polska, 2 out of 6 jets taking part in the exercise received special color schemes.

Besides the NATO Tiger Meet Exercise, the Krzesinian pilots would also be involved in the Greek Squadron Exchange event (between June and July) and in the Israeli Blue Flag Exercise, planned in November.

Notably, the Polish Vipers have been painted, not covered with a film-overlay. It seems that the Bydgoszcz-based Wojskowe Zaklady Lotnicze No. 2 (Military Aviation Works) facility has already acquired a proper technology needed to cover the body of the jets with lacquered paint scheme. Now, due to the new cover there is no risk that the special paint scheme would disappear. Quoting Piotr Rutkowski, a representative of the facility, Lotnicza Polska claims that plans to create the new paint scheme for the F-16s date back to 2014. However, at that time, the paints needed to create the scheme could not be exported from the US due to legal restrictions.

More than the paint scheme what is really interesting of the story published by Lotnicza Polska outlet is the final paragraph, according to which, the Polish F-16 Demo Team will finally be created. The demo-pilot is apparently involved in the training activities.

According to unofficial information obtained two months ago by The Aviationist, from a source closely tied with the Krzesiny AB, the Polish Viper demo is going to be similar in shape to the Viper Team West of the USAF.

Our source suggested that the show is going to involve two examples of the F-16. It has been also said that flares may not be a part of the display, since the countermeasures used by the Polish Vipers have a too long burning-time. Noteworthy, the new display team will retain the Tiger livery that will make its debut in Turkey.

The above development is particularly interesting also for PR reasons. So far, the only appearance the Polish F-16 has made during air shows was in a form of a flypast – this created some doubts among the public opinion – a lot of people claimed that Polish Vipers are not combat-capable and that they are lagging behind the MiG-29, that regularly performs dynamic displays at airshows around Europe.

Even though the Fulcrum is an older jet – its capabilities are much less advanced than those of the F-16 Block 52+ jets – the Polish Vipers have often suffered from some bad PR , especially among the public who has no in-depth expertise in aviation. The general audience reasoned that there must be something wrong with the new Polish fighters, since they were not flying dynamic displays at airshow.

The debut of the new Viper team is probably going to take place during the Radom Air Show. We are planning to attend the show and provide you with a report.

Image Credit: WZL no. 2

 

U.S. Navy F-35C aircraft conduct first detachment visit at NAS Lemoore

Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101, the “Grim Reapers,” based at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, deployed with its F-35s to NAS Lemoore, the future basing site for the F-35C.

VFA-101, the U.S. Navy newest F-35 unit based at Eglin AFB, Florida, deployed to NAS Lemoore, California, for a six-day visit to the future basing site for the F-35C (the Carrier Variant version of the Joint Strike Fighter), that is scheduled to receive 10 JSFs by 2017.

A former F-14 squadron, the VF-101 “Grim Reapers” was disbanded after the retirement of the Tomcat and was reactivated in 2012 to receive the controversial plane that is going to become the backbone of the U.S. carrier air wings strike capabilities: in fact, by 2025, the Navy’s aircraft carrier will operate a mix of F-35Cs, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers electronic attack aircraft, E-2D Hawkeye battle management and control aircraft, MH-60R/S helicopters and Osprey tilt-rotor Carrier Onboard Delivery aircraft.

During the six-day visit, two F-35C Lightning II jets flew in formation over the Sierra Nevada mountain range with an F/A-18E and an F/A-18F belonging to VFA-122 from Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore.

Image credit: U.S. Navy