Tag Archives: F-16

UAE F-16s arrive in Jordan to support war on ISIS. Some of them don’t wear national markings

Six UAE Air Force F-16s have arrived in Jordan.

Photographs showing of six United Arab Emirates Air Force F-16E/F Block 60 jets arriving at an airbase in Jordan were released by the Jordanian Armed Forces on Feb. 8.

UAE F-16 Jordan

The images depict the warplanes which were deployed to help Jordan and the US-led coalition in the fight against ISIS. The kingdom has conducted 56 air strikes against ISIS positions in the last three days after it launched an air campaign following the burning alive of the pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh captured on Dec. 24.

UAE Jordan taxi

According to the information released by Amman, C-17 cargo planes and A330 tanker aircraft supported the deployment.

The UAE Air Force had temporarily suspended its participation in the coalition air strikes over concern for the safety of its aircrews, following Kassasbeh’s murder.

Interestingly, two of the aircraft depicted on arrival in Jordan, don’t wear the national flag on the tail. This is not the first time aircraft taking part in real operations are stripped off their national markings. Some U.S. drones deployed in sensitive areas perform their clandestine missions “unmarked.”

However, since the participation of the UAE to the anti-ISIS air war is far from being secret, the lack of the UAE flag on the tail of two F-16s could be explained by their participation in the far less advertised air strikes on Islamist militias in Libya last year.

Here below a Royal Jordanian Air Force F-16 is prepared for a mission with its bomb marked with Koranic verses Jordanian bomb

Image credit: Jordanian Armed Forces

 

Dogfights, low level flying, live firing at Red Flag-Alaska through F-16’s GoPro cameras

Amazing footage filmed by 35th Fighter Squadron F-16s during training activities in Alaska.

Update: unfortunately the video was removed by the user who had uploaded it. Let us know if you see it online at a different address.

Here is an interesting footage made of several different clips filmed by the 35th FS pilots during Red Flag-Alaska 15-1 at Eielson Air Force Base in October 2014.

The Squadron deployed with their F-16s from Kunsan airbase, in South Korea, to train with U.S. and international forces and prepare for air expeditionary force tasking.

There’s almost everything you may expect from a cool aviation video: low-level flying, dogfighting, aerial refueling, live firing at the range.

Enjoy!

F-16’s automatic ground collision avoidance system: details, strengths and limitations

Ground Collision Avoidance Technology (GCAT)

On a recent flight in a Block 40 F-16 with our squadron’s weapons officer I was introduced to the new pilot-activated recovery system (PARS). Starting at about 20,000 feet (FL 200) we rolled inverted and started a rapid 30 degree nose-low dive. The pilot pressed a button initiating the PARS. Immediately the aircraft’s computer took command of the flight controls and we experienced a very intense 180-degree roll until wings level followed by a 5-G pull-up at 4 G’s/second until we were again flying straight and level. On the second demonstration we put the aircraft in a 30-40 degree nose-up attitude. After PARS initiation, the Viper went into autopilot controlling the roll and yaw of the aircraft while allowing the nose to slice down until we were again straight and level.

This PARS feature is part of the F-16’s newest upgrade to avoid mishaps due to controlled flight into terrain (CFIT). The entire fleet of F-16’s in the USAF received this important upgrade during the 2014 calendar year. This is incredibly EXCITING news for the fighter pilot community and hopefully will translate into hundreds of lives and billions of dollars saved. CFIT occurs for a variety of reasons and plagues aviation taking the lives of hundreds of military and general aviation pilots each year. Aside from PARS, the other application of this new capability is the Auto-GCAS (Ground Collision Avoidance System). Auto-GCAS provokes inputs to the flight controls similar to the PARS feature described above, but happens automatically without pilot initiation. The technology relies on sophisticated computer software, terrain maps, GPS and predictive algorithms that will ‘take the jet’ from the pilot when CFIT is predicted to be imminent.

A video HUD demo of the Auto-GCAS can be seen directly below, and further below a NASA video discussing how the GCAT technology was developed and works.

A Brief History of GCAT

The GCAT software was developed by NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards AFB, in partnership with the Office of the Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the Air Force Test Center (AFTC) and Lockheed Martin. The technology began development in the 1980’s and was ready for testing by the late 1990’s. By 2009, the Ground Collision Avoidance Technology was incorporated into an upgraded USAF Block 25 F-16D and underwent further testing at Edwards AFB, CA.

According to NASA: “The team conducted more than 556 test maneuvers during 49 flights, some of which involved diving at the ground and toward the sides of mountains. Key objectives included demonstrating that Auto-GCAS could significantly reduce the number of mishaps resulting from pilot spatial disorientation, loss of situational awareness, gravity-induced loss of consciousness, and landing-gear-up landings.

Air Force officials announced in 2013 that an operational Auto-GCAS system would be installed in the F-16 fleet and this largely took place throughout the 2014 calendar year. At the base I am currently stationed, we received the upgrade in Sep-Oct 2014. The application has also been tested for general aviation. In 2012, Auto-GCAS was adapted for a small, unmanned research aircraft and implemented as a smartphone application using the Android operating system linked to the aircraft’s autopilot. There remain plans to develop similar systems that can be incorporated into the F-22, F-35, and F-18.

Strengths & Limitations of GCAT

Two of the most common human factors conditions that lead to death or loss of aircraft in combat aviation are spatial disorientation and G-induced loss of consciousness (G-LOC). Spatial Disorientation is the inability to determine one’s position, location, and motion relative to their environment, and is covered in greater detail in a separate post. There are three types of Spatial D: Unrecognized, Recognized, and Incapacitating. The Pilot-Activated Recovery System (PARS) will save pilots suffering from recognized and capacitating Spatial-D as long as the pilot remains able to activate the technology. If a pilot is spatially disoriented but remains unable to initiate PARS, Auto-GCAS should theoretically still save him/her from CFIT. The other big killer, the notorious G-LOC (For more info on Pulling G’s see this post), is expected to occur less frequently with incorporation of the newer, more effective G-suit called ATAGS, but Auto-GCAS will also play a role to save pilot and aircraft if G-LOC were to occur. Lastly, gear up landings in any aircraft utilizing this technology should no longer occur.

Ground Collision Avoidance Technology has some significant software and hardware limitations. For example, the system is not able to make inputs on the throttle. If the throttle is in idle upon activation, the aircraft will quickly lose maneuverability and control authority. This will limit the efficiency and ability for inputs of the flight controls to produce their desired effect. In other cases, a reduction in power may be required for the optimal recovery. Pilots have been trained on this new system and are aware of these limitations. If the GCAT systems find that they are unable to initiate recovery due to the current throttle setting, all it can do is notify the pilot.

Although this technology will undoubtedly give fighter pilot spouses reason to sleep more peacefully, possible exceptional circumstances in which the Auto-GCAS cannot prevent CFIT still exist. The recent loss of an F-16 and death of Capt. Will “Pyro” DuBois after installation of GCAT remains a tragic example of the fact that even though new technologies are creating significant strides in safety, the risk inherent to combat aviation will always be present.

A tribute to PYRO can be found here.

REFERENCES

1. Peter Merlin, Public Affairs. NASA website. Auto-GCA Installed in USAF F-16s. Accessed 14 Dec 2014.

Adapted from an original article on the aerospace medicine blog called GoFlightMedicine, owned and edited by USAF Flight Surgeon, Capt Rocky ‘Apollo’ Jedick.

Top image credit: NASA

[Updated] Greek F-16 has reportedly crashed on TLP apron during take off from Albacete. Other aircraft reportedly hit

Photos from Albacete airbase, in Spain, show fire on the flightline.

According to the reports coming from Albacete airbase, home of the Tactical Leadership Program, an F-16 belonging to the Hellenic Air Force has crashed on take off.

Photos emerging on social networks seem to suggest the aircraft may have hit the flightline: two Italian Air Force AMX jets seem to be quite close to the burning wreckage of the Greek two-seater F-16D. However, more aircraft are believed to be involved, since several explosions were heard following the impact of the HAF fighter jet.

www.rtve.es

Screenshot from rtve.es website

Spanish media outlets have been issuing updates since the incident occurred around 3.00 PM LT: according to the latest reports, 2 people were killed and 10 injured as a consequence of the crash.

Update 18.30 GMT

10 casualties and 13 injured people, according to the latest reports from the crash scene. At least one French Alpha Jet seems to have been hit by the F-16D; U.S. F-15E aircraft appears to be parked close to wrecked Fighting Falcon.

According to the Italian MoD 9 Italian military injured in the Greek Air Force F-16D crash at Albacete in Spain. The Italian contingent taking part in TLP includes 2 AMX jets from 51° Stormo (Wing) of the Italian Air Force from Istrana airbase and 5 AV-8B+ Harrier II of the Italian Navy from Grottaglie airbase.

 

Top image credit: @MotorAire

 

Jordanian F-16 allegedly downed by ISIS in Syria. Pilot captured.

A Rojal Jordanian Air Force F-16 was allegedly downed by ISIS in Syria. Pilot has been captured by IS militants.

Although it has not been officially confirmed yet, pictures posted on Social Media seems to prove a Royal Jordanian Air Force F-16 has crashed in Syria. Pilot, whose military ID card was recovered and posted on Twitter, was captured by Islamic State militants.

According to several sources, the aircraft was downed by ISIS militants, 11 km to the east of Al-Raqqa, in the northern part of central Syria.

ISIS captured RJAF pilot

Although the reasons of the crash are still unknown, if it was not flying at high altitude, the aircraft may have been hit by ground fire.

ISIS forces are known to operate MANPADS (Man Portable Air Defense Systems) along with anti-aircraft artillery pieces: the effectiveness of such weapons systems against low/medium flying jets and helicopters has been proved by the number of Syrian Arab Air Force aircraft shot down by local insurgents.

F-16 downed in Syria

H/T Lorenzo Mainardi for the heads-up