Tag Archives: Royal Air Force

Britain offers France use of airbase in Cyprus to support air war on ISIS in Syria

French combat aircraft may use RAF Akrotiri base, in Cyprus, to launch air strikes on IS.

In the wake of the Paris terror attacks, Britain has offered France the use of its airbase in Cyprus, strategically located on the island in the eastern Mediterranean Sea off Syria, to support air strikes on ISIS.

Primarily, the base is going to act as a reserve diversion airfield for the jets operating from the French  nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle that has been operating in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, from where it launched the first raids against ISIS earlier this week.

British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said:

“This offer is another demonstration of our solidarity with our French allies. It is right that we do all we can to help them hit ISIL harder. Meanwhile, we will continue to strike this vile organization in Iraq and build the case for extending those strikes to Syria.”

At the moment, a dozen French Rafale and Mirage 2000 jets are supporting Operation Chammal from Muwaffaq Salti Air Base in Jordan and Al Dhafra Air Base in the UAE. This component is supplemented by another 20 jets based on the CDG aircraft carrier, operating in the Mediterranean Sea.

According to The Telegraph, David Cameron claimed that Great Britain is going to do “all in its power”, supporting France in the struggle against ISIS, in a response to the Paris acts of terror. The proposal emerged after the meeting of the British PM David Cameron and Francois Hollande, the French President

The RAF has been using its Cyprus airbase to conduct airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq since September 2014. Tanker and reconnaissance aircraft are also stationed there.

Interestingly, this is not the first time the French are using the British Airbase in Cyprus in cooperation with the Royal Air Force. During the Suez Crisis, in 1956, the air forces of both countries were stationed in Cyprus, launching air strikes against Egypt and flying sorties, the aim of which was to neutralize the Egyptian Air Force.

In 2012, Akrotiri airbase was “targeted” by Syrian Su-24 Fencer attack jets launched by Assad to probe the local air defenses. As we commented back then, buzzing the enemy airspace to test its reaction time or actively disturbing the enemy training activities is not rare. Much rare are actual engagements, like the one that saw a Russian Su-24 shot down by TuAF F-16 yesterday along the Turkey-Syria border).

Image Credit: Dassault Aviation

Cool night pictures show RAF fast jets participating in Ex. Trident Juncture 2015 from Spanish airbase

The Royal Air Force fighter jets have taken part in Trident Juncture 2015.

As the following unique night photos show, most of the RAF fast jets involved in the largest NATO exercise since 2002 were based at Albacete, Spain which became temporary home to 1(F) Squadron and 31 Squadron for the duration of the Trident Juncture 2015 3-week exercise.
Tornado RAF 2

Noteworthy, the RAF fast jet crews performed day and night sorties in a range of scenarios varying from leading offensive strike packages of 40 aircraft, to night combat search and rescue supported by US Air Force CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft.
Typhoon RAF 1
The Tornado GR4s from 31 Squadron and the Typhoon FGR4s from 1(F) Squadron have also had the chance to work together during several missions of the drill: throughout these mixed formation sorties in fact, the Typhoons protected the Tornados on the way into a target and then both the machines simulated dropping Paveway IV precision bombs. The Typhoons then switched back to the air-to-air role to fight their way out.
Tornado RAF 1
During Trident Juncture 3000 flying sorties were flown, 1,200 in Spain alone, where 120 aircraft were spread over seven air bases.  The aim of Trident Juncture 2015, which took place from Oct. 3 to Nov. 6, was training the troops of the NATO Response Force (NRF) and other Allied forces, to increase their readiness to respond to a wide range of challenges.
Typhoon RAF 3

Image credit: Crown Copyright


This epic video shows RAF pilot recreating Battle of Britain moves in a vintage Spitfire

Ever wondered what it was like to fly in a Spitfire during the Battle of Britain? This  video will give you an idea.

The video below will bring you aboard a vintage Spitfire recreating classic Battle of Britain moves over the English Channel, in order to give an idea of how intense flying against Luftwaffe fighters in 1940 really was.

The display footage was filmed on Sep. 10, at the Guernsey Air Display in RAF BBMF (Battle of Britain Memorial Flight) Mk V Spitfire AB910. The legendary fighter was flown by Wg. Cdr. Justin Helliwell, flying along with another iconic aircraft, the Hurricane Mk II PZ865 piloted by Sqn. Ldr. Dunc Mason.

The Channel Island displays at Guernsey and Jersey were part of the commemorations for the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and both air shows have been very special given the Island’s occupation during WWII.

Gorgeous cockpit video of the last Vulcan bomber flying in formation with the Red Arrows for the last time

The last flying Vulcan Bomber, XH558, flew with the Red Arrows one last time at the Southport Air Show.

After taking part in air shows for eight years, the last flying Vulcan bomber will perform its final flights today taking part at Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon and at Shuttleworth Uncovered Air Show, which will end Old Warden Collection airshow season.

Avro Vulcan XH558 (carrying civil registration G-VLCN), is the only airworthy bomber of a fleet of 134 Vulcan V bombers operated by the Royal Air Force from 1953 until 1984.

Vulcan Red Arrows RAF cockpit 2

The aircraft made its maiden flight in 1960 and was retired from active service in 1984, then it continued to fly with the RAF’s Vulcan Display Flight, performing until 1992.

Its display career restarted in 2008, after the Vulcan To The Sky Trust was able to bring the bomber back to airworthy condition the previous year, but on May 15 this year it was announced that 2015 would have been the delta-winged aircraft’s final flying season.

Vulcan Red Arrows RAF cockpit 3

To salute the iconic plane, the Red Arrows display team performed a flypast with the mighty Cold War bomber for the last time during Southport Air Show on Sept. 19.

Squadron Leader David Montenegro, Red 1 and Team Leader of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, remarked that “It was a great honour to lead a formation flypast with the Vulcan, particularly as the aircraft type was once based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire – now home to the Red Arrows.”

Vulcan Red Arrows RAF cockpit 4

In the following beautiful video, taken from the cockpit of the bomber, you can join the Vulcan aircrew who flew with the Red Arrows for the final time.

Cool pictures show U.S. F-15Es flying in formation with Spitfires during Battle of Britain celebrations

The last airshow of the season at Duxford celebrated the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Among the highlights of the Battle of Britain Anniversary Air Show that took place on Sep. 19-20,  there was a flypast made by two U.S. F-15E Strike Eagles of the 492nd Fighter Squadron from RAF Lakenheath, and two Spitfire Mk Is.

F-15E Spit 2

In fact, even if the airfield in Cambridgeshire is a very popular venue for warbirds enthusiasts, contemporary aircraft usually join classic aeroplanes, not only to commemorate historic events but also to boost the already spectacular flying display of the air show.

F-15E Spit 4

These cool photos, taken from the cockpit of one of the two F-15Es, give you a glimpse of what it is like to fly in formation with the iconic Spitfire.

F-15E Spit 5

Image credit: RAF Lakenheath/U.S. Air Force