Even though it also participated in the War in the Pacific, attacking Japanese airfields and shipping early in WWII, it was used primarily in Europe, against German industrial and military targets. Serving with the Eighth Air Force, in UK, and Fifteenth Air Force, in Italy, the aircraft was used a strategic, high-flying, long-range bomber capable to sustain heavy battle damage.
Throughout the conflict, little less than one half of the 1.5M tons of bombs dropped by US aircraft on Germany and occupied territories were dropped by B-17s.
Between 1935 and May 1945, 12,732 B-17s were produced. Of these aircraft, 4,735 were lost during combat missions. Less than 100 B-17 airframes have survived since then, less than 15 are airworthy, none of them is a combat veteran. Among the Flying Fortress bombers that can still take to the air, there’s EAA’s B-17G-VE, serial number 44-85740, nicknamed “Aluminum Overcast.”
As explained by the EAA website, “Aluminum Overcast” carries the colors of the 398th Bomb Group of World War II, which flew hundreds of missions over Nazi-held territory during the war: in particular, it commemorates B-17G #42-102516 which was shot down on its 34th combat mission over Le Manior, France, on Aug. 13, 1944.
Filmed by our reader and friend Erik Johnston, the following walkaround video provides the unique opportunity to see the pilot Ken Morris sharing his extensive knowledge of this iconic airplane.
The report is based on the testimonies of some locals who have seen the giant cargo land at the Houari Boumediene airport at 5:09PM LT.
However, the same source later found that the airlifter belonged to the Qatari Emiri Air Force.
Anyway, Algeria has never hidden its intention to acquire some C-17s (six to eight) in order to renew its fleet of transport aircraft and, according IHS Jane’s, last year Algerian authorities were in the early stages of negotiations with the company for a number of different types of aircraft, including the Globemaster.
In April 2013, a C-17 of the 446th Airlift Wing has undergone extensive testing in Algeria, including landing at the highest Algerian airfield in Tamanrasset, in the south of the country.
The interest of Al Quwwat aljawwiya aljaza’eriiya in the C-17 is a sign that after procuring Su-30MKA, Mig-29S and Yak-130A jets and upgrading the existing fleet of Su-24s, Mig-25s and Mi-24s, Algeria is planning to upgrade its inventory with aircraft able to support anti-terrorism and border surveillance tasks across the country.
The ICH-47F is a customised version of the legendary, legacy Chinook which incorporates a secure communications system, self-protection system and advanced datalink system.
According to AgustaWestland, the new variant has a Maximum All Up Weight (MAUW) of 23 tons, is equipped with two Honeywell T55-GA-714A engines which gives it excellent “hot and high” capability and is suitable for all-weather operations. Even though it can perform a wide variety of missions, its primary one has obviously remained the same: tactical transportation of troops and equipment, both internally and externally, by means of the aircraft’s cargo hook system.
The ICH-47 is produced by a Joint Industrial Agreement between Boeing and AgustaWestland, that is prime contractor for with responsibility for systems integration, final assembly and aircraft delivery to the Italian Army. Boeing builds the fuselage in the U.S, then final assembly is carried out at Vergiate plant in Northern Italy.
The missile used in the test was modified so it could not hit its target; however, the QF-16 has a scoring system which tells the ground station how close the missile came and its trajectory.
According to Boeing, “The ground control station sets the coordinates for the missile. Then, using its on board system, the QF-16 validates that the missile hit those coordinates, and detects the distance and speed of the missile. If all the data matches up, the mission is considered a kill.”
The tankers are assigned to the 14° Stormo (Wing) based at Pratica di Mare airbase, near Rome, whose 8° Gruppo (Squadron) flies the aircraft for AAR (Air-to-Air Refueling), strategic trasportation and MEDEVAC (Medical Evacuation) missions.
The first KC-767 was delivered to the Italian Air Force on Jan. 27, 2011 and had its “baptism of fire” few months later, during the Air War in Libya, when the new tanker conducted air-to-air refueling missions of Italian planes involved in Operation Unified Protector.
In the KC-46 variant, the next generation tanker is going to replace the U.S. fleet of KC-135E Stratotanker refuelers but, whilst in the KC-135 the “boomer” (as the operator is nicknamed) is prone and moves the flying boom in the receptacle watching the receiver through a rear observation window, in the KC-767 the operators move the boom using a joystick and watching the video from a series of cameras mounted on the tanker’s rear fuselage.
The advanced camera system feeds a Remote Vision System (RVS) that provides high-definition stereoscopic imagery to the vision goggles attached to a sort-of flight helmet worn by the boomer during the air-to-air refueling.
The aircrews of the 8° Gruppo are also capable of “buddy refueling operations”: a KC-767 can refuel another KC-767 mid-air using the flying boom and the aircraft’s receptacle, further extending the aircraft endurance.
With the help of the Italian Air Force Press Office and the 14° Stormo, we have had the opportunity to take part in one of the “buddy refueling” missions flown by the 8° Gruppo for training purposes.
All the images in this post were taken by The Aviationist’s photographer Giovanni Maduli on board KC-767 “A600” on Jul. 2, 2014.
The Author wishes to thank Capt. Stefano Testa of the ItAF Press Office and Lt. Col. Massimiliano Colasi of the 14° Stormo for the help provided before, during and after the flight.