Tag Archives: F-15

Israeli, Italian, Hellenic and U.S. Air Force take part in largest joint-military exercise in Israel’s history


It has nothing to do with an eventual attack on Tehran as it was planned several months ago.

Still, its timing is funny, as it kicked off on the same day U.S. and Iran signed the historic nuclear deal in Geneva.

Exercise “Blue Flag”, taking place over a vast area of southern Israel from Nov. 24 to 28 and involving about 100 aircraft from the host nation, U.S., Italy and Greece, is the largest joint-military exercise in Israel’s history.

Its aim is to improve cooperation among the participating air forces and train together in a wide range of missions, including Defensive, Offensive Counter-Air and Close Air Support.

Italy, that has built a strong military relationship with Israel in the last years, taking part to previous local smaller scale drills, has deployed AMX and Tornado fighter bombers, while U.S. detached some F-15E Strike Eagles from RAF Lakenheath, in the UK. Greece dispatched F-16s to take part in Blue Flag that is being attended by observers from 20 nations.

H/T to Strategy Reports for the link to the video.

Image credit: IAF


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Israel scrambled F-15 fighter jets against multiple airspace violations by unknown drones

F-15 IAF

The Jerusalem Post has reported that on Sept. 28, two Israeli Air Force (IAF) jets were scrambled to intercept two unidentified objects over Northern Israel.

The report is very limited in detail as it does not state whether an intercept was made or the two objects departed Israeli airspace.

Quoting Israeli TV Channel 2 news, they also said another jet was scrambled over an unnamed southern city;  no further details are known about this episode either, although the Times of Israel said that this jet had taken off from the Tel Nof Air Force base and flew over Haifa, in what it is believed to be a series of intrusions by drones.

The Times of Isreal also posted a link to the Channel 2 website which has a video of what it says was the F-15 that scrambled over Haifa.

On Apr. 25, 2013, an Israeli Air Force F-16 shot down an UAV (unmamned aerial vehicle) over the sea off Haifa.

Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com


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Here are the images of the first ten U.S. F-15 fighter jets deploying to Israel for “Juniper Stallion 13″

82-0048-JZ. F-15D. 159FW. 122FS. Lheath. 14.07.2013

On the afternoon of Jul. 14, 2013, ten F-15 fighter jets (8 x F-15Cs and 2 x F-15Ds) left the UK for Israel on Jul. 16. from the Louisiana ANG arrived at RAF Lakenheath, in transit for the Middle East.

The Aviationist’s photographer Tony Lovelock was there to take the images of the aircraft landing in the UK.

The U.S. planes were bound to Israel, to take part to Juniper Stallion 13, a bilateral aerial exercise held between the U.S. and Israeli air forces, lasting approximately two weeks.

Juniper Stallion 13 is an annual a combined, bilateral F-15/F-16 air-to-air training event designed to improve the interoperability and cooperation between the U.S. and Israeli Air Force.

Fort those who may believe the exercise has something to do with the situation in Syria, the official statement by the U.S. European Command claims that: “JS 13 is an annual training event which has been in planning for more than a year.”

Last month, the U.S. Air Force released some nice images showing the air power build up near the Syrian border depicting a Jordanian F-16 Fighting Falcon leading another Jordanian F-16, as well as an American F-16 from the 120th Fighter Squadron, Colorado Air National Guard, and two Marine F-18s from VMFA-115 over a training base in Northern Jordan.

By the way, note the kit bag strapped down behind the seat of 539.

78-0539-JZ. F-15C. 159FW. 122FS. Lheath 14.07.2013

Image credit: Tony Lovelock

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Bomber incident: two Nuclear-armed Russian Tu-95s reportedly skirt U.S. military base at Guam

According to the Washington Free Beacon website two Russian Tu-95 Bear-H strategic bombers circled Guam island, in the Pacific Ocean, on Feb. 12.

“Defense officials said the bombers tracked over Guam were likely equipped with six Kh-55 or Kh-55SM cruise missiles that can hit targets up to 1,800 miles away with either a high-explosive warhead or a 200-kiloton nuclear warhead,” reports Bill Gertz in his piece.

The episode happened shortly before President Obama delivered his State of the Union address and prompted U.S. to scramble some Kadena F-15s temporary deployed to Andersen Air Force Base.

The Eagles shadowed the two Russian bombers until they left the the area in a northbound direction.

Andersen AFB, on Guam, is strategically located 1,800 miles (about 2,900 km) to the east of China.

It has hosted a deployed strategic bomber force since 2004; recently, the Air Force has announced it will base two B-2 Spirit bombers in the Pacific atoll.

Although this kind of incident is not frequent, this is not the first time Russian strategic bombers conduct a long range training sorties into the south Pacific. And circumnavigate Guam.

In 2007, President Vladimir Putin said Russia had resumed the long-range flights of its strategic bombers that had been suspended in 1992. According to Putin, those tours of duty would be conducted regularly and on strategic scale.

On Aug. 8, 2007 two Tu-95 undertook a 13-hour round trip from Blagoveshchensk base to “visit” Guam for the first time since the end of the Cold War.

Guam is among the key strategic U.S. military installations in the Pacific theater; a base that is pivotal to the Air Sea Battle Concept strategy designed to counter China’s military power in a region characterized by territorial disputes.

Tracking the Bear

Image of a past interception. Credit: U.S. Air Force

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Thirty minutes to choose your fighter jet: how the Shah of Iran chose the F-14 Tomcat over the F-15 Eagle


Despite all the skepticism about the actual airworthiness of Iran’s new stealth fighter “Qaher 313″, one thing is certain: Iran is still flying the iconic Grumman F-14.

More than 6 years after its last flight with the U.S. Navy, the Tomcat is still in service in a small number of examples with the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF), to such an extent, Iran has recently tested a brand new air-to-air missile dubbed “Fakour”, for the combat plane made famous by Top Gun.

In fact, 80 F-14s were ordered by the Shah and 79 were effectively delivered. The procurement of the Tomcat to Iran was very important not only for Grumman, which was facing serious cash flow problems due to the difficult development of the aircraft, but also for the future of the fighter itself, since at the time F-14’s program was affected by schedule slippage and cost overruns.

When the Shah announced his intention to replace the old F-4 Phantoms in service with the Imperial Iranian Air Force, it was clear that both the USAF’s new F-15 and the Navy’s F-14 would have had the same opportunity to become Iranian’s main fighter.

So, after briefings held by USAF and Navy personnel in the Shah’s palace in Tehran, Iranian officials decided that it would have been the flight demonstration at Andrews Air Force Base, near Washington DC, scheduled in July 1973, to determine which one between the two fighters, would be the best to satisfy the then Imperial Iranian Air Force’s requiremens.

The flight demonstration was scheduled not to exceed 30 minutes from the first take off to the landing of the second aircraft.

The base was closed for that short time in which at the presence of the Shah, the two U.S. fighters had to fly their demonstration: it was decided  that the USAF’s F-15, piloted by Irv Burrows (McDonnell Douglas’ test pilot), would have performed first, while Don Evans and Dennis Romano (Grumman’s test crew) with their F-14, would wait their turn after the Eagle.

While the F-15 taxied onto runway, Don and Dennis started engines of the Tomcat ahead of the schedule and burned down fuel in the warm up area during the Eagle demonstration, to reduce the difference in thrust to weight ratio between the two fighters. However F-15’s demonstration was spectacular, not only for the raw power of the aircraft but also for pilot’s skills: Burrows was a great pilot and that day, he showed all his ability.

Flagship departs

The flight demonstration was the same for both aircraft: it consisted in a sequence of maneuvers beginning with a high performance take off followed by an Immelman turn and climb-out, then a descent to a high speed fly-by, two high-g low altitude turns followed by a slow speed fly-by in the landing configuration and last, the landing.

Since the F-15 has a higher thrust to weight ratio than the F-14A, the Eagle performed a really impressive flight profile during which it pulled an incredible 7-g 360 degree turn.

After the F-15 had finished its display, everyone was waiting for the underpowered F-14A demonstration: the Tomcat’s TF-30 engines would have not given to the aircraft the same thrust to weigh ratio of the Eagle.

However, during the F-15’s performance, Evans and Romano burned down a great quantity of fuel and now they had only 2,500 pounds of remaining gas: while this little quantity was only sufficient to accomplish their flight demonstration, 2,500 pounds was also one eight of the Tomcat’s  internal fuel capacity and thanks to this fact the Tomcat had the same thrust to weight ratio of the Eagle.

At this point the F-14 had one thing that the F-15 didn’t have: variable geometry wings that would have made the difference for the grace of the flight demonstration.

Don and Dennis pushed both throttles to full zone five afterburner (which was the maximum afterburner thrust setting for TF-30 engine) and took off to perform the same demonstration of the F-15: the sequence of the maneuvers was just like the Eagle’s one, but the Tomcat’s crew, during the knife-edge pass, decided to sweep the wings from fully swept to fully forward and then they executed a turn at the maximum Tomcat’s performance, producing a large cloud of vapor off the wings due to the shock wave.


Then approaching the mid with the wings swept at 40 degrees, the Tomcat went into a full afterburner 360 degree 8 ½ g turn accelerated to 400 knots, very impressive to see. To end the demonstration, Evans and Romano added a touch-and-go landing: when the main landing gears came in touch with the runway they inserted full zone five afterburners and the Tomcat climbed in vertical. At this point, while they had almost ran out of fuel, they made a spectacular carrier landing approach and they fully stopped in one thousand feet of runway.

Once the show ended, the Shah literally ignored the Eagle and walked directly towards the Tomcat speaking for some minutes with the crew still sat in the cockpit of the fighter: he’d chosen the Tomcat, saving the Grumman and assuring a future to the F-14.

Image credit: Grumman/IRIAF, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy

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