According to the Swedish Armed Forces, Baana 2015 has been a challenge for the Swedish pilots since they had to fly in from Sweden and land on a section of highway 924 under overcast conditions, as the following video shows.
As we have already explained, such kind of training was part of the standard training conducted mainly in Central, Eastern and Northern Europe during the Cold War. With the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, highway take-offs and landings have become less frequent.
Deployed from their homebase at MCAS Miramar, VMFA-232 fly the “Legacy” Hornets in a combination of surveillance flights and kinetic strike missions in support of Iraqi Security Forces in their fight against ISIS.
Noteworthy, the Marines F-18s appear to have been removed of their IFR (In-Flight Refueling) probe cover. In the past, other U.S. warplanes, including the U.S. Navy F-14s involved in Desert Storm, conducted combat operations without the probe hatch in order to prevent it to get jammed with the basket used by some aerial refuelers (like the U.S. Air Force KC-135s) or because it blocked during AAR (Air-to-Air Refueling) ops as a consequence of low temperatures at night.
This cool footage was filmed from a Finnish Air Force F/A-18 Hornet pilot.
Nine nations have taken part in Arctic Challenge Exercise 2015, a multinational flying exercise that included approximately 115 combat aircraft deployed at several airbases in Sweden and Norway.
Among the air arms that attended ACE 2015 there is the Finnish Air Force that took part in the drills with F/A-18 Hornet jets based at Rovaniemi (Finland) and Bodø (Norway).
On Jun. 4, at the end of their ACE 2015 mission, two FiAF Hornets returned to Bodø flying over the Norwegian coastline, mountains and fjords: here below you can see the view those pilots enjoyed from their cockpits.
If you can’t see the video below, click here to watch it on FB.
A circular No-Fly Zone, centered in Davos, with a radius of 25 NM, was enforced by the Swiss F/A-18 Hornets of the Fliegerstaffel 11 and the F-5E Tigers of the Fliegerstaffel 8 from Meiringen airbase, main operating base of the air security operation.
Needless to say, all the aircraft taking part in the air policing missions carried live air-to-air missiles: the Tiger jets carried AIM-9P Sidewinder IR-guided AAM (Air-to-Air Missiles) at the wingtips, whereas the Hornets carried 2 AIM-9X Sidewinders at the wingtips and either two AIM-120 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missiles) or one AIM-120 and the ATFLIR (Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infra Red) pod underneath the fuselage.
Some of the Hornets had the text “STDY 121.5” message on their centerline external fuel tank: a message to any intruder to switch to the international emergency frequency 121.5 MHz to get instructions from the interceptor and the air defense radar.