Tag Archives: U.S. Air Force

Four U.S. A-10 Thunderbolt jets have deployed to Slovakia

A-10s continue their tour of eastern Europe.

Four A-10 Thunderbolt II jets and approximately 40 airmen from the U.S. Air Force Theater Security Package, deployed to Sliac Air Base, Slovakia, May 16, in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

The contingent of the 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron have taken part to a joint training with the Slovakian air force whose aim was to improve interoperability in allied air operations and multinational close-air-support operations.

According to U.S. Air Force Gen. Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa commander: “The U.S. Air Force’s forward presence in Europe, augmented by a rotational force like the TSP, allows us to work with our allies to develop and improve ready air forces capable of maintaining regional security.”

The 354th EFS is currently deployed to Campia Turzii, Romania, but takes part in “micro deployments” across eastern Europe to reassure local NATO allies and show them the U.S. commitment: since they started their six-month tour of duty in Europe, the 12 TSP “Warthog” attack planes from the 355th Fighter Wing, Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, have been stationed in Germany, UK, Poland, Romania, and Estonia.

During their stay in Slovakia, the A-10 worked with the Slovakian air force L-39s in joint close air support training with JTACs (joint terminal attack controllers).

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

Stunning pics of a B-52 strategic bomber doing some heavy carpet bombing in Jordan

B-52 Stratofortress bomber doing what it does best.

The photographs in this post were taken during a combined live fire demonstration in Wadi Shadiya, Jordan, May 18.

They show a B-52H from 2nd Bomb Wing, from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, drop some 500-lb GBU-38 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) bombs during the “monumental military demonstration” that was the final event of Exercise “Eager Lion” a recurring multinational exercise designed to strengthen military-to-military relationships, increase interoperability between partner nations, and enhance regional security and stability.

Noteworthy, the two B-52 Stratofortress bombers that marked the first participation of strategic bombers to Eager Lion, performed a 30-plus hour, 14,000 mile nonstop mission to the U.S. Central Command area of operations.

Buff carpet bombing

They coordinated the attack with Jordanian JTACs (Joint Terminal Attack Controllers) and, after the attack run, overflew the range escorted by two Royal Jordanian Air Force F-16s.

In addition to 5,000 U.S. servicemen, the two-week yearly exercise saw the participation of Jordanian forces as well as contingents from 16 other countries for a total force of about 10,000 troops.

The exercise was held among five sites across Jordan and based on the scenario of a friendly contingent committed to the aid of an allied nation under threat by an aggressive neighbor. Along with the U.S. Air Force strategic bombers, Jordanian tactical planes and U.S. Army helicopters of the 185th Theater Aviation Brigade’s aviation task force, EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) teams, Seabees and patrol craft were used to perform port security in Aqaba, Jordan’s only coastal city, while a Marine crisis-response force out of Kuwait took part in the drills, practicing non-combatant evacuation operation (NCO) by means of MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft in the north.

Image credit: U.S. Marine Corps

 

U.S. Air Force A-10 and F-15 Theater Security Package activities in Europe in one infographic

An interesting infographic provides some detail about the two TSPs in Europe.

12 A-10s belonging to the first Air Force Theater Security Package and 12 F-15s of the first ANG  TSP (theater security package) are currently deployed in eastern Europe in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

Both TSPs will operate from bases across the Old Continent for about 6 months to augment U.S. Air Force in Europe support to Operation Atlantic Resolve, and reassure regional allies.

The following infographic provides some additional detail about the activities conducted by the TSPs so far (actually, until May 11).

TSP Infographic

 

The U.S. will base B-1 bombers and surveillance planes in Australia amid South China Sea tensions

Bombers and ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) aircraft head towards the Pacific.

It looks like the U.S. Air Force is planning to deploy some strategic bombers and surveillance aircraft in Australia to put some pressure on China amid South China Sea tensions.

The South China Sea is the subject of several territorial claims. China claims sovereignty on some island chains and  waters that are within the 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zone of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam

This year, China has started building an airstrip on the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea  waters claimed by the Philippines.

According to FP, the Defense Department’s Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs David Shear, during testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on May 13, said that along with moving U.S. Marines and Army units around the region, the Pentagon will deploy air assets in Australia, “including B-1 bombers and surveillance aircraft.”

The U.S. Air Force ISR aircraft, possibly unmanned Global Hawk drones, will monitor activities around the disputed islands, whereas the “Bone” heavy bombers will serve as a deterrent to challenge Beijing aggressive ownership claims.

U.S. strategic bombers have already been temporarily deployed to Australia, to take part in exercises with the Royal Australian Air Force, in 2012 and at the end of 2014 as a consequence of a joint Force Posture Initiative signed in 2011 to train together to face threats in the Pacific.

Actually, U.S. aircraft don’t really need to deploy to Australia to put pressure on China: Air Force Global Strike Command’s bombers, including B-52s and B-2s, routinely operate from Andersen Air Force Base, in Guam, strategically located 1,800 miles (about 2,900 km) to the east of China. And they can even launch round-trip strike missions from their bases located in the Continental U.S.

According to Xinhuanet, China cautioned the U.S. against taking any actions in the region, urging Washington “not to take any risks or make any provocations so as to maintain regional peace and stability.”

Image credit: Boeing

 

Watch a C-5 Galaxy drop a Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missile during a test

Although it didn’t make it to something more than a test, the mobile ICBM concept saw C-5 carry and drop a Minuteman missile.

In 1974, the U.S. thought that the best way to preserve its ICBMs (Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles) from Soviet nuclear strikes was to load them in C-5 Galaxy airlifters and keep them on the move.

A three-stage Minuteman, 56 feet in length and 86,000 pounds in weight, was attached to some parachutes that could drag it out of the cargo hold and then point it upward, then it was loaded into a Galaxy and air launched over the Pacific from the aircraft: a timer ignited the rocket motor and the missile flew for about 25 before it cascaded into the Pacific Ocean.

This video shows the ICBM loaded into the C-5 Galaxy and air launched during the unique test. Cool.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force