Category Archives: Military Aviation

In photos, U.S. Air Force B-1 bombers blast through Green Flag-West 15-02

B-1B Lancer bombers at work at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, and over the Southern California desert during Green Flag exercise.

B-1 bombers, assigned to the 34th Bomb Squadron, from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, have deployed to Nellis AFB, Nevada, to take part in Green Flag-West exercise.

Las Vegas background

Green Flag-West provides combat training to joint and coalition warfighters in the art of air-land integration and the joint employment of airpower at the U.S. Army National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California.

B-1 on apron

The images shows the “Bones” (as the B-1 is nicknamed among aircrews), both on the ground and while being refueled mid-air by a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 93rd Air Refueling Squadron, Fairchild AFB, Washington, temporary assigned at Nellis Air Force Base.

B-1 tails

The B-1’s blended body configuration, variable-geometry wings and turbofan engines with afterburners provide long-range employment, maneuverability and high speed while enhancing survivability. Moreover, the plane can rapidly deliver massive quantities of precision and non-precision weapons operating from deployment bases (as happening in Syria) as well as on Global Power round-trip missions from the Continental U.S.

B-1 refuel

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

U.S. Air Force teaming F-22s with F-35s to maximise their 5th Generation capabilities

U.S. Air Force is starting to integrate its F-35s and F-22s to improve fifth-generation tactics.

Four F-22 Raptors belonging to the the 94th Fighter Squadron, from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, deployed to Eglin Air Force Base, Florida to conduct joint training with the local-based F-35A Lightning IIs from the 58th Fighter Squadron.

The joint training was aimed at improving integration between the two most advanced radar-evading planes in service with the U.S. Air Force: flying mixed formations, the F-22s and F-35s flew OCA (offensive counter air), DCA (defensive counter air) and interdiction missions, maximizing the capabilities provided by operating two fifth-generation platforms together.

“The missions started with basic air-to-air and surface attacks,” said Maj. Steven Frodsham, F-22 pilot and 149th Fighter Squadron, Virginia Air National Guard in an Air Force press release. “As the training progressed, the missions developed into more advanced escort and defensive counter air fifth-generation integration missions.”

Fifth-generation capabilities had their combat debut with the F-22 in the air-to-ground role during the early stages of Operation Inherent Resolve, against ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria. The successful baptism of fire reaffirmed the pivotal role played by stealth technologies and sensor fusion capabilities, brought together by 5th Gen. warplanes, in current scenarios.

Earlier this year Chief of U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command Gen. Michael Hostage said the F-35 is what USAF needs to keep up with the adversaries but the F-22 Raptor will have to support the Joint Strike Fighter even though its service life extension and modernisation plan will cost a lot. Because, as he explained: “If I do not keep that F-22 fleet viable, the F-35 fleet frankly will be irrelevant. The F-35 is not built as an air superiority platform. It needs the F-22.

That’s why the U.S. Air Force has already started to team Joint Strike Fighters with Raptors.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

GoPro video shows U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demo team display from the Lead Solo point of view

This is probably one of the coolest Thunderbirds video ever.

Filmed from the cockpit of U.S. Air Force Flight Thunderbirds demo team’s Lead Solo, the following video provides a previously unseen point of view of the team’s most famous maneuvers, including the crossover break, the belly-to-belly Calypso pass and the solo’s maximum performance maneuvers.

The video was filmed with GoPro cameras installed inside the cockpit of pilot Maj. Blaine Jones, who flies the #5 position within the team.

Jones is a former F-22 pilot, who joined the team in 2012 as opposing solo (#6).

H/T to Neil Walker and Tom Demerly for the heads-up

 

Video of F-35C jet’s first carrier-based night flight operations aboard aircraft carrier

F-35C Lightning II Conducts First Night Flight Ops During Developmental Testing aboard USS Nimitz

On Nov. 3, F-35C CF-3 piloted by Navy test pilot Cmdr. Tony Wilson, conducted the very first arrested landing of the Joint Strike Fighter plane on a supercarrier.

Following the first successful arrested landings (the second came on the same day, with F-35C CF-5), the two jets of the F-35 Lightning II Pax River Integrated Test Force from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, performed a series of catapult launches, touch-and-gos and arrested landings.

On Nov. 13, at 6:01 p.m. (PST), the JSF had another first when it was launched for the first carrier-based night flight operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68). After a series of planned touch-and-go landings, the aircraft came for an arrested landing at 6:40 pm.

Here’s an interesting video of the first night ops aboard a U.S. Navy flattop.

Image credit: U.S. Navy

 

Video shows Su-24 Fencer attack plane perform an insane low-level flyby at unknown airbase

Su-24 Fencer buzzes some heads at an unknown airbase

The following video shows a Su-24 attack plane (serving with the Russian and Ukrainian air forces and a few other operators) performing a really low pass on some observers grouped on the apron of an unknown airbase.

Although it was posted on Liveleak under the Channel “Ukraine”, the aircraft may not belong to the Ukrainian Air Force: the Su-24 seems to sport a camouflaged color scheme, whereas Ukrainian Fencers are painted with a light grey paint scheme.

There are many videos on the web showing Su-24s doing what they do best: flying at ultra-low altitude.

In April this year, a Russian Su-24MR, flew within 1,000 yards of the USS Donald Cook, the U.S. Navy destroyer operating in the Black Sea following the crisis in Ukraine, a show of force considered  “provocative and inconsistent with international agreements.”

H/T to Al Clark for finding the video and posting link on Youtube.