Tag Archives: Royal Air Force

Russian Tu-95 bombers escorted by Mig-31 interceptors skirt UK, get intercepted multiple times

Two Russian Tu-95MS strategic bombers performed a 19-hour mission over the Atlantic Ocean. They were intercepted multiple times along the way.

On Jan. 29, two Russian Air Force Tu-95 strategic bombers from Engels airbase successfully completed a 19-hour long range mission over neutral waters near the Barents and Norwegian Seas, the Atlantic Ocean.

The Bears, accompanied by Mig-31 Foxhound long-range interceptors, were refueled twice by Il-78 Midas aerial refuelers and were intercepted and escorted by RAF Typhoons, Norwegian F-16s and French Mirage 2000s at various stages of their trip.

Even though according to the Office of Press and Information of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation “All flights of the [Russian] Air Force were carried out in strict accordance with international regulations on the use of airspace over neutral waters, without violating the borders of other states,” during their tour, the strategic bombers flew quite close to the UK airspace, causing “disruption to civil aviation”.

The Russian Tu-95s flew within 25 miles of the UK without filing a Flight Plan (FPL), without radio contact with the British ATC agencies and, obviously, without transponder switched on, and were shadowed by Typhoon jets scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Coningsby supported by a Voyager tanker.

This was not the first time Russian bombers skirted the UK airspace and it won’t be the last one. However, the UK summoned the Russian ambassador after the latest “dangerous” episode.

Image credit: Russian Federation MoD

 

 

RAF Typhoon jets fly over the snow-capped Grand Canyon on their way to Red Flag

RAF Typhoons supported by a Voyager tanker deployed to Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas to take part in Ex. Red Flag. And here are a few cool photos of the lead formation en-route.

Last week, the lead formation of RAF Voyager and four Typhoon FGR4 multi-role aircraft deployed to Nellis AFB, near Las Vegas, where they will attend exercise Red Flag.

Typhoons over Gran Canyon no snow

The formation crossed the Atlantic Ocean and went “feet dry” over the U.S. East Coast near Charleston then few across the U.S. the last leg of their 6,000 mile trip to the airbase in Nevada which brought the formation over the Grand Canyon.

Typhoons over Gran Canyon close

The flight over the Grand Canyon National Park provided a unique opportunity for the RAF photographers aboard the tanker to take some stunning images of the snow-capped rims.

Typhoons over Gran Canyon snow

Image credit: RAF/Crown Copyright

 

Argentina to get Russian Su-24 Fencer attack planes; UK to review Falklands air defenses

UK may be forced to review Falkland Islands air defenses to face a renewed threat in South Atlantic.

According to a report in the Daily Express newspaper, the Argentine Air Force is to get a dozen Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer attack planes from Russia in return for foodstuff.

As a consequence, the UK Ministry of Defense is in the process of reviewing the Falkland Islands air defenses, as the delivery of the supersonic, all-weather attack aircraft ahead of the delivery and full operating capability of the two new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers could pose a  threat to the islands, referred to as “Malvinas” by the Argentine.

According to Jane’s, the islands current air defenses include four Eurofighter Typhoon jets, Rapier SAM (Surface to Air Missile) systems, along with about 1,200 troops permanently stationed in the South Atlantic base.

Even though the Typhoons are modern enough to deal with a dozen Su-24s, the Soviet-era twin-engined two-seater planes with a variable geometry wing with a combat radius of 615 km in lo-lo-lo profile, are able to perform ultra-low level surface and maritime strike missions, carrying a wide variety of General Purpose as well as Laser Guided Bombs and stand-off missiles, such as the Kh-31 (AS-17 “Krypton”) anti-radiation and anti-shipping sea-skimming missiles.

We don’t know whether the potential deal includes armament; still the possible delivery of Su-24s to Argentina makes the Falkland Islands a bit more vulnerable to an attack by the Fuerza Aérea Argentina than it will be until the FAA operates a fleet of aging Mirage III or A-4 Skyhawks, the same jets defeated by the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy during the Falklands War.

Image credit: Alexander Mishin

 

F-35B successfully completed initial tests with ASRAAM and Paveway IV weapons

UK F-35B has conducted first tests with ASRAAM and Paveway IV weapons at Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland, United States.

A British test team, has successfully completed initial trials with ASRAAM (Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile) missiles and Paveway IV LGBs (Laser Guided Bombs) on the F-35B, the STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) variant of the Joint Strike Fighter, at NAS Patuxent River, US.

“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.

Image credit: BAE Systems

 

RAF pilot draws what someone thought was a “giant penis” over UK base sparking complains

In what is just an unfortunate accident, a RAF jet on holding pattern for landing at a UK base drew what someone thought was a giant penis in the sky.

It is “not what it perhaps appears to be” said a spokesperson at RAF Lossiemouth airbase, in the UK, answering questions raised by contrails in the sky that allegedly drew a “giant penis” near the Scottish airbase.

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…

As RAF spokesman said: “people sometimes look into the sky and see all sorts of things.”

Contrail RAF Lossiemouth

Image credit: Cascade via Mirror.co.uk

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.