Tag Archives: F-15

Impressive photo shows F-22 stealth jet dogfighting against F-15 at close range

Aerial combat between U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors and F-15 Eagles, seen from the inside.

The image in this post was taken from a U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagle from the 131st Fighter Squadron, 104th Fighter Wing, Barnes Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts, during a close range aerial combat exercise against a U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor from the 154th Wing, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

You can clearly see the two planes maneuvering at very close range, pulling Gs, with the F-22 releasing flares counter measures against (simulated) heat seeking air-to-air missiles.

The dogfight took place off the coast of Penang, Malaysia, Jun. 16, 2014, during “Cope Taufan 2014″ a biennial LFE (large force employment) exercise taking place June 9 to 20 designed to improve U.S. and Malaysian combined readiness.

Both aircraft are currently deployed to Royal Malaysian Air Force P.U. Butterworth, Malaysia.

Cope Taufan

The exercise, that marks the F-22′s first deployment to Southeast Asia, featured also some interesting mixed formation between U.S. planes with Royal Malaysian Air Force MIG-29N Fulcrum, Su-30 and F-18 Hornet jets.

Cope Taufan

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

It’s not clear whether the F-22 has flown DACT (Dissimilar Air Combat Training) against Malaysian Migs or Sukhois; if this is the case, it would be interesting to know which ROE (Rules Of Engagement) were applied and the outcome of the confrontations between the Russian multirole planes and the U.S. most advanced fighters.

 

Russian Bombers Fly 50 Miles off California. F-22s and F-15s intercept them.

Four Russian Air Force Tu-95 Bear were intercepted by F-22s near Alaska. Two of the strategic bombers came within 50 miles from California Coast.

As we reported few days ago, a U.S. Air Force RC-135U performing a routine surveillance mission in international airspace over the Sea of Okhotsk, north of Japan, some 60 miles off eastern Russia on Apr. 23, was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 Flanker.

Just in case you though only U.S. (spy)planes fly in the vicinity of the Russian airspace, the Washington Free Beacon unveiled that U.S. fighter planes were scrambled to intercept four Tu-95 Bear H bombers, two of those came within 50 miles of California coast.

Two USAF F-22 Raptor stealth jets, most probably from 3rd Wing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson intercepted the “intruders”, that were seemingly conducting a training attack run, over the Aleutians.

Then, two of the four Tu-95s headed back home, whereas the remaining two flew off Northern California, triggering another alert scramble by NORAD (North America Aerospace Defense Command) that dispatched two F-15s to intercept and shadow the Russians.

According to the defense officials who talked to the Free Beacon, the bombers were supported on their (typical) long range mission by two IL-78 tankers .

Even if such close encounters are quite normal across the world, we can’t but notice that they have become at least more frequent in the last couple of years.

For sure Russia’s annexation of Crimea and growing tension between Washington and Moscow have given headlines like “Tu-95s flying close to Guam“, “Su-27s performing reckless interception of U.S. spyplanes“, “B-52s and B-2s temporarily deployed to the UK” and so on, a completely new meaning.

Top: File Photo of F-22 intercepting Tu-95 (U.S. Air Force)

Operation Opera: how 8 Israeli F-16s destroyed an Iraqi nuclear plant 33 years ago today

33 years ago, one of the most famous and dangerous long range attack mission in Israeli Air Force history.

Israeli Air Force’s interest in the Lockheed Martin F-16 was born after the Yom Kippur War when the IAF realized that, alongside the F-15 Eagle, they needed a new, advanced, relatively cheap, multirole jet.

The negotiations with the U.S. to acquire the F-16 started in 1975 and after some years of delay, caused by the Middle East tensions, the Fighting Falcon sale was finalised in 1979 as result of the Camp David peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.

The first F-16s were delivered to the IAF in 1980 and the following year, before all the Netz (as the F-16A is called by IAF) were handed over, the new Vipers took part in one of the most famous mission in Israeli Air Force history, the Operation Opera.

The operation was aimed at destroying the Iraqi Osirak nuclear plant, also called Tamuz 1, at Al Tuwaitha, 12 miles southeast of Baghdad.

[Read also:Israel strikes weapons convoy in Syria to halt shipment of “game changing” missiles to Hezbollah]

As explained by Bill Norton in his book Air War on the Edge, A History of the Israel Air Force and its aircraft since 1947, the IAF conducted this attack following Saddam Hussein’s bellicose claims which led to the Israeli fear that the French-built facility could have the capabilities to produce weapons-grade fissionable material.

The training was conducted in the Negev where a mock-up of the nuclear plant was built: against this facility at least two attacks were simulated in August and September 1980. After the training missions, four dates were set and after three of them were cancelled, on Sunday May 10, 1981 pilots were already aboard their aircraft when the operation was cancelled once again because of the risk some French employees could be inside the Osirak plant at the time of the attack.

But finally on Jun. 7, 1981 at 15:55LT Operation Opera was launched.

IAF F-16

Eight F-16s, belonging to both 117 and 110 Squadrons both based at Ramat David, took off from Etzion, the best placed base for the attack, escorted by six F-15s while an E-2C Hawkeye provided airborne early warning and control and several CH-53s for SAR duties were deployed near the Iraqi border.

Two more Fighting Falcons were kept as a reserve.

The F-16s were armed with two 2,000 pounds Mk. 84, two AIM-9J Sidewinders, two 370 gal. external tanks under the wings and one 300 gall tank under the belly.

[Read also: Israeli Air Force strikes Syria for the second time. Syrian air defenses unable to react.]

As told by Norton, the Israeli jets flew more than 600 miles in the skies of three supposedly enemy nations: to reach the target, the first country that the aircraft overflew was northern Saudi Arabia and its deserts.

The route over Iraq was planned not only to avoid the radar coverage but also the airfields; inbound to the target the F-16s flew at an altitude between 150 and 300 ft.

At 17:35 with the sun at their back complicating any intercept attempt, the aircraft arrived over the target: before releasing their bombs the F-16s lit their afterburners at about 12.5 miles from the nuclear plant, climbed to 8,000 ft and then dived at 600 kts releasing their Mk. 84s at 3,500 ft.

The weapons were delivered on target by two waves of four Falcons each.

Even if two bombs missed the target the others were able to destroy and damage the reactor and several facilities. Some Mk. 84s had very long delayed fuzes to avoid any attempts to repair or rebuild the plant.

[Read also: Air strike on Damascus military complex shows Syrian Air Defense can do nothing against Israeli Electronic Warfare]

The attackers remained on the reactor site for less than two minutes and the only opposition they faced, were an inefficient AAA fire and some SAM launches which missed the F-16s.

On their way home, the Fighting Falcons climbed to 40,000 ft to save fuel and overflew the third hostile country, Jordan, which however didn’t show any opposition against them.

One F-15 and one F-16 diverted from the planned route to complicate any intercept attempts, while all the aircraft landed at Etzion after a 3 hours of mission, during which no aircraft was damaged.

A documentary (spit into three videos you can find below) explains how IAF planned and executed the Operation Opera, to date one of the best examples of how a long range attack mission can be carried out.

 

 

Image credit: IAF

 

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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

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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