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.
Two Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet jets intercepted and shadowed a Russian Air Force Il-20 Coot over Lithuania.
On Nov. 8, two RCAF CF-18 (or CF-188) Hornet jets deployed to Lithuania for NATO Baltic Air Policing mission were radar-vectored to intercept and escort a Russian Ilyushin Il-20 Coot-A plane flying off the Baltic coast.
According to Canadian media outlets, the CF-18s were conducting a routine training sortie out of Siauliai airbase, when they were re-tasked to visually ID the Russian ELINT (Electronic Intelligence) plane that had violated Lithuania’s airspace (even if some sources say the Il-20 was reached by the Canadian Hornets as it was flying over international waters – hence, in international airspace).
The CF-18s shadowed the Il-20 for 5 minutes, took some photographs (not yet released), then were ordered to return to base.
The Il-20 electronic reconnaissance plane is, by far, the Russian aircraft most frequently intercepted by NATO fighter jets in the Baltic region.
The same type of aircraft was involved in the near-miss incident on Mar. 3, 2014, when SAS flight SK 681, a Boeing 737 with 132 people on board from Kastrup – Copenhagen to Rome had to change course in order to avoid colliding into an Il-20, flying without transponder and therefore not visible to the civil Air Traffic Control, about 50 miles to the southwest of Malmö.
Each year the event features a video, produced by “Wingnut”, a Hornet pilot himself, compiled from all the squadrons’ last year of flying in both combat and training missions: catapult launches, trap landings, aerobatics, dogfighting against Su-30s and Mig-29s, live firing of air-to-air missiles, HARM anti-radion missiles, LGBs (Laser Guided Bombs), cluster bombs, low level flying in the desert, ATFLIR (Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infrared) pod clips, and much more.
The image in this post is interesting for at least two reasons.
First it shows an F/A-18E preparing to land on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) sailing in the 5th Fleet Area of Responsibilty from an unsual point of view: the one of an accompanying warship of the Nimitz Carrier Battle Group.
Second, the Super Hornet is depicted with the afterburner lit, most probably because the pilot is either in the process of adding more power to keep the proper glide path or about to execute a missed approach (“wave off”).