Developed within a German-led multinational program as a short-range air-to-air missile to replace the ageing AIM-9 Sidewinder the IRIS-T has a range of 25 km and can engage targets flying behind the launching platform thanks to an extreme close-in agility which allows turns of 60 g at a rate of 60°/s.
Interestingly, as the top image (taken by The Aviationist’s contributor Giovanni Maduli) shows, the dummy IRIS-T missile was carried on an underwing pylon while previous tests with the AIM-9L Sidewinder were carried out with the air-to-air missiles mounted on the wing tip launchers.
Among the aircraft deployed to Nellis Air Force Base for the Red Flag 14-3 last summer, were the Republic of Singapore Air Force F-15SGs, and F-16s. All painted with various special designs on the tails.
Along with the American hi-tech combat planes and the supporting planes, Red Flags attract many interesting foreign participants.
The 14-3 edition held last summer featured, among all the others, even the RSAF F-16s and F-15SG currently working and training with the 56 FW at Luke AFB, Arizona, and the 366th FW at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho.
Four of these combat planes sported special tails.
The images in this post were shot by The Aviationist’s photographer Tony Lovelock in July, as the aircraft recovered to Nellis at the end of their RF 14-3 missions.
Even this RSAF Chinook was deployed to Nellis AFB.
The M-346 “Master” Advanced Combat Trainer is getting a new type of fuel tank.
Taken at Decimomannu airbase by The Aviationist’s contributor Gian Luca Onnis, the above picture shows an M-346 “Master” advanced combat trainer carrying three 630l (450kg) external fuel tanks
Interestingly, the shape of the fuel tanks is different from that of the drop tanks initially carried by the Master prototypes (as those shown in the image below) which resembled th 500l (380kg) type carried on outer wing pylons by Italian Air Force AMX light fighter bombers.
Taken at Decimomannu airbase last week, the following picture shows an M-346 “Master” advanced combat trainer with two dummy AIM-9L Sidewinder air-to-air missiles at the wing tip launchers.
Serialled CP X617, the first IPA (Initial Production Aircraft) is involved in a testing campaign which follows the one conducted last April at Decimomannu airbase when the aircraft flew with BRD (Bombs and Rocket Dispencer) for Mk-106s thin-cased cylindrical bombs used to simulate the high-drag (retarded) Mk-82 Snakeye bombs.
On Jul. 19, Finmeccanica group company’s Alenia Aermacchi signed a contract worth 1 billion USD, with Israeli Ministry of Defence to supply 30 M-346 advanced combat trainers to replace the Israeli Air Force’s aging fleet of A-4 Skyhawks.
On Jul. 20 (the following day), it was announced that Israel’s IAI will supply the Italian Air Force with two Gulfstream G550 Eitam conformal airborne early warning (CAEW) aircraft (as well as ground support equipment and logistical support services) under a deal worth 750 million USD that is part of “a larger larger Government-to-Government agreement between Israel and Italy that includes aircraft, engines, maintenance, logistics, simulators and training, provided also by other Israeli and international companies.”
Indeed, under an additional agreement worth 182 million USD, IAI will also develop, manufacture and supply an observation satellite to Italy’s Telespazio.
What’s curious is that, with the recent sales, both the Italian Air Force, the Republic of Singapore Air Force and the Israeli Air Force will soon be (at least momentarily) the only operators of both the M-346 and the G550 planes.