“Dummy” weapons (identical in shape and weight to the original ones) were tested during 9 flights in different configurations of both weapons types on two F-35Bs, flown by Billie Flynn, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 test pilot and Squadron Leader Andy Edgell from the RAF.
According to the team, which included personnel from BAE Systems, “the initial tests are an important step in integrating weapons onto the F-35B, allowing test pilots to understand how they affect the way the aircraft performs and handles.”
Such tests are the first step towards full interoperability of the two weapons, already used by the Royal Air Force on its existing fleet, with the F-35B, destined to enter in UK’s active service, with both the RAF and Royal Navy by 2018.
As already highlighted in the past, whilst carrying significant payload on external wing pylons makes the JSF more “convincing” as a multi-role platform, it makes the plane much less stealthy as well.
Indeed, it looks like someone mistook the vapour contrails left by one the aircraft based at RAF Lossiemouth waiting for landing on a holding pattern, and thought that a rude shape was drawn on purpose by one of the British pilots.
However, as you can see in the photo below, much fantasy is needed to see something pervert in the so-called “racetrack” flown by the RAF jets at high altitude…
The contrails (short for condensation trails) appear for the quick condensation of the water vapour that is contained in the exhaust of the engines and in the surrounding air (due to a quick decrease in pressure and temperature) and crystallization of it around the solid aerosol particles ejected by the aircraft’s engines. As temperatures where the change of state happens are extremely low (from -40° Celsius), contrails should appear from altitudes around 8.500 meters (in ISA, International Standard Atmosphere, that has a ground temperature of 15° C and a vertical temperature gradient of -6,5° C/1,000 meters).
RAF Lossiemouth is one of the main operating bases within UK, home to both Tornado and Typhoon squadrons.
The two Russian strategic bombers flew parallel to the Norwegian coast, heading to the south-west, were part of a larger package that included four more Bears and four Il-78 tanker aircraft that returned to Russia after skirting the Norwegian airspace.
During the time the Typhoons shadowed the Tu-95s , the RAF pilots had the opportunity to get some nice shots of the Bears, like the one you can see in this post.
The yearly Malta International Airshow at Luqa airport, once again proved to be one of the most interesting events in southern Europe.
Held at Malta International Airport in the weekend of Sept. 27-28, the traditional Malta International Airshow featured some really interesting visitors.
Among the highlights of this year’s edition, the K-8E jet and C-130H Hercules cargo plane of the Egyptian Air Force, the German Navy P-3C, the AW139 of the Italian Guardia Costiera (Coast Guard), the BN2 and Alouette helicopter of the Armed Forces of Malta and the G550 AEW aircraft of the Israeli Air Force.
Noteworthy, during the Sunday’s Finale, the Red Arrows display team made a flypast escorting an Air Malta A320.
Photographer and The Aviationist’s contributor Estelle Calleja took the following interesting pictures of the airshow.
Here’s the effect of the first British air strike on ISIS in Iraq.
On Sept. 30, RAF Tornado GR4 aircraft from RAF Akrotiri airbase, Cyprus, attacked ISIS positions in northwestern Iraq.
The two planes, were flying an armed reconnaissance mission when they were tasked to support Kurdish troops who were under attack from ISIS terrorists.
During the second strike, the British “Tonkas” destroyed a “technical” (armed pick-up truck) with a Brimstone missile.
The Brimstone, is a fire-and-forget anti-armour missile, first fielded during 2008 after an urgent operational requirement, used on the RAF’s Harriers during operations over Afghanistan, that became the RAF weapons of choice during in the Air War over Libya.
Optimized for use against fast moving platforms, these small guided missiles feature a warhead of 9 kg and have a range of 7.5 miles. They use a millimeter wave (mmW) radar seeker with a semi-active laser (SAL) that enables final guidance to the target by either the launching platform or another plane, and are perfect to destroy a vehicle with very low collateral damage risk, and an accuracy of about 1 – 2 meters.