Tag Archives: Eurofighter Typhoon

Italian Typhoons scrambled for the 27th time in 2015 to intercept Russian plane over the Baltic Sea

Baltic Air Patrol QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) service is always quite busy.

On Apr. 18, the Italian Air Force two Italian Air Force Typhoons deployed to Šiauliai, Lithuania, for the NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission, were scrambled to identify and escort a Russian Federation patrol aircraft flying close to Latvia’s airspace.

The alert take off of the QRA aircraft was ordered by the CAOC (Combined Air Operations Centre) in Uedem, Germany to intercept a Russian Il-20 on a routine intelligence gathering sortie over the Baltic Sea.

Interestingly, the intercept mission flown by the Italian F-2000s (as the Typhoons are designated within the Aeronautica Militare) was the 27th since the Italian Air Force took over the lead role of BAP on Jan. 1! Quite impressive, if compared to the standard frequency QRA cells are scrambled during the standard national air security service at home.

One of the 27 missions flown by the Italian Typhoons was launched to intercept a Tu-22M Backfire bomber flying at supersonic speed towards Sweden.

Since Russian invasion of Crimea and subsequent international crisis over Ukraine, Russian activity in the Baltic Area has increased, often forcing NATO jet fighters on QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) at several airbase in Lithuania, Estonia and Poland, to perform Alert Scrambles to identify Moscow’s warplanes flying with transponder switched off, no flight plan and no radio contact, in international airspace.

Russian planes based in Kaliningrad Oblast have also intercepted NATO spyplanes in the area.

Some of these close encounters have been quite controversial with NATO and Russian planes coming a bit too close one another.

Image credit: Eurofighter

 

Stunning footage shows Saudi Arabia’s air power at war against Yemen’s Houthi rebels

Interesting footage shows Saudi warplanes involved in Operation Decisive Storm.

On Mar. 25, Saudi Arabia launched the first air strike on targets located in neighbouring Yemen.

Codenamed Operation Decisive Storm, the air war was started to counter the Houthi offensive on Aden, the provisional capital town of the internationally recognized (yet domestically contested) Yemeni government.

As Yemeni President Hadi left Aden to Saudi Arabia, the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) along with several regional air arms launched the first raids against Houthi, who are allied with Yemen’s ousted former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Warplanes from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain are taking part in the operation.

The following footage shows RSAF Tornado IDS, F-15S and Eurofighter Typhoon jets launch and recover, day and night, from King Khalid airbase.

Noteworthy, the clip also shows one of the four Sudanese Air Force Su-24Ms that are taking part in the coalition air strikes in Yemen.

Here below you can find another interesting video, focusing on UAE Air Force contribution to the Operation:

H/T to ACIG.info Forum, for hosting the most interesting thread on the Yemen air war you’ll find on the Web.

 

Russian Tu-22 bomber scares NATO air defenses flying at supersonic speed over the Baltic Sea for the first time

The latest close encounter between NATO and Russian planes over the Baltic Sea was  different.

Early morning on Mar. 24, NATO and Swedish QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) interceptors were scrambled  to identify and shadow a formation of two Russian Air Force Tu-22M Backfire bombers escorted by two Su-27 Flanker aircraft.

As usual, the aircraft were flying with no FPL, no transponder, in international airspace. But, unlike all the previous events the leading Tu-22M bomber was flying at supersonic speed!

As a consequence of the high-speed of the Russian planes, the Italian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon jets, providing BAP (Baltic Air Patrol) duties from Siauliau airbase, Lithuania, had to perform a supersonic run to intercept and escort the Tu-22s and accompanying Su-27s.

According to our sources, this was the very first time a Russian Air Force plane flying from mainland Russia to Kaliningrad Oblast was flying abeam Latvia, within the Riga FIR (Flight Information Region), heading towards Denmark and the Scandinavian peninsula at supersonic speed.

The Backfire decelerated to subsonic speed and rejoined with the rest of the formation that was picked up by a flight of two Su-27s from Kaliningrad that relieved the other two Flankers.

Although the Russians did not violate any rule, their flying without transponder, without establishing radio contact with any ATC agency, may pose dangers to civilian aviation. Even more so, if the bombers or their escort jets fly at supersonic speed or aggressively react to aircraft that are launched to intercept them.

Some analysts believe the purpose of the flight was provocative: Moscow has recently warned Denmark that if it joins Nato’s missile defense shield, its navy will be a legitimate target for a Russian nuclear attack.

As a side note, on the afternoon on Mar. 24, the Italian Typhoons were scrambled again to perform another supersonic interception of two Su-27 Flanker returning to mainland Russia from Kaliningrad: the pair that had been relieved by the second flight of Flankers earlier on the same day.

H/T to Erik Arnberg for providing additional details.

Image credit: Alex Beltyukov – RuSpotters Team /Wikipedia

 

Italian Typhoon jets have started Operational Testing and Evaluation in the air-to-ground role

The Italian Eurofighter Typhoons are involved in the OT&E in the air-to-ground mission.

In the last weeks, the Italian Air Force Typhoons currently deployed to Decimomannu airbase in Sardinia have flown with Litening targeting pods and inert GBU LGBs (Laser Guided Bombs), the first sign of their involvement in the OT&E (Operational Testing and Evaluation).

Indeed, the Italian F-2000s (as the aircraft are designated within the Italian Air Force) are conducting tests aimed at assessing their potentiality in the air-to-ground role: not only is a multi-role Typhoon capable to carry Paveways and JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack Munitions), already used by the ageing Tornado and AMX (that will be replaced by the F-35 in the future), useful for the Aeronautica Militare as it is for the Royal Air Force, but it could also be more appealing for potential foreign buyers.

Although the air superiority role remains priority, considered their ability to use the ordnance in inventory for other aircraft (including the Storm Shadow air launched staff off missile), the Eurofighter will possibly be used in the swing role or as “back up” attack platforms within the Italian Air Force for several years to come.

Typhoon with GBUs

Image credit: Giampaolo Mallei

 

Listen to Russian Strategic Bombers talk to their Ground Control while skirting UK airspace

Here is an interesting six-minute-long message recorded using a high frequency radio.

On Feb. 18, two Russian Air Force Tu-95MS Bear bombers on a long-range patrol flew close to the UK airspace off Cornwall.

Although the 60-year old 4-engine powered turboprop planes remained in international airspace, they were shadowed by two RAF Typhoons in QRA (Quick Reaction Alert): something that is becoming a sort of routine considered the frequency of such Russian missions over northern Europe.

Noteworthy, as the Bear H aircraft flew close to UK, Tom Hill, a radio enthusiast and reader of The Aviationist, using an HF receiver, recorded the following 6-minute audio.

It’s a coded message believed to be a message passed by the Tu-95 to a female controller on the Russian Air Force Strategic HF Voice net.

Any Russian reader can translate it? If so, leave a comment below.

Interestingly, according to one of our sources, for the first time in several months, the entire Bear mission on Feb. 18 was supported by a Russian airborne command and control aircraft: the Ilyushin Il-80 (NATO reporting name “Maxdome”).