Shot by aircrews of the VAQ-132 Scorpions of the U.S. Navy between 2011 and 2012, the following awesome video brings you along the Military Training Routes in Washington State, where EA-18G Growlers train for terrain masking.
Flying at 420 and 540 knots and at 500 feet, pilots train low altitude ingress and egress to a target defended by enemy radars and surface to air missile batteries.
H/T to Bill Garcia for the heads-up
[Video] U.S. Navy launches its killer drone off the deck of an aircraft carrier. A new era has begun. May 14, 2013Posted by David Cenciotti in : Aircraft Carriers, Drones , 1 comment so far
A new era for naval aviation has just begun.
On May 14, the US Navy successfully launched the Northrop Grumman X-47B unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) off the deck of an aircraft carrier for the first time. A breakthrough for robotic aviation and military Implementation of unmanned systems.
The video, just released by the U.S. Navy shows the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air Systems (UCAS) demonstrator – please note that both UCAV and UCAS acronyms are used for this drone, being taxied and then catapult-launched from the flight deck of USS G. W. Bush.
Ship-board testing had started on Dec. 9, 2012.
On the flight deck the X-47B (that on Nov.29, successfully completed its first land-based catapult launch from Naval Air Station Patuxent River) is controlled using an arm-mounted control display unit (CDU).
The new gadget is a special remote control for moving the X-47B on flight decks which attaches to the wrist, waist and one hand. Through the device, deck operators ahve access to a display and can control the aircraft’s throttle, tailhook, steering, brakes and perform several other functions associated with maneuvring an aircraft on deck.
British fighter pilot will soon attend the famous Top Gun school for the first time ever May 13, 2013Posted by Jacek Siminski in : Aircraft Carriers, Military Aviation , 1 comment so far
British Royal Navy Lieutenant Stephen Collins will be the first ever British pilot to attend the famous Top Gun school.
Image Credit: Royal Navy
He was selected after an internship which included a tour on the USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) aircraft carrier.
He must have proven his guts, because soon after the U.S. Navy offered him the opportunity to be involved in the Top Gun, which is officialy known as United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor Course.
It is even more astounding, taking into account Collins’ age: he’s only 26.
Stephen Collins is by no means entering the Top Gun School by accident. His father was a pilot during the Falklands War, later on he moved to Red Arrows aerobatic team. We might suppose that Stephen has talent in his genes.
For the last five years he has flown in the US Navy, being a partaker of an exchange programme the purpose of which is to allow the British aviators get used to aircraft carriers operating conditions.
Even Collins himself emphasised that element:
The U.S. and the Royal Navy have worked together very closely on the Joint Strike Fighter program. The ultimate aim is for us to get some experience flying a jet with very similar capabilities to that one. It’s a good trade, the U.S. gets a pilot out of it and the Royal Navy gets the experience.
Here’s a BBC interview with mr. Collins, where he elaborates on how his training looked in practice and how he ended up in Top Gun Fighter School.
As he says, the California weather is definitely better than in the UK:
Jacek Siminski for The Aviationist
Last of the legendary U.S. Air Force F-4 Phantom jets to become yet another missile victim May 2, 2013Posted by Jacek Siminski in : Drones, Military Aviation , 7comments
The last of the produced F-4 Phantom jets has been converted into a flying dummy target-drone for missile training.
The RF-4C, production no. 68-0599 is not a machine that is young or freshly retired, as it has been a part of the AMARG inventory since Jan. 18, 1989.
Just after being prepared for flying in a form of a target drone it was given a name Last One.
Image Credit: AMARG
It is 316th QRF-4C (target drone designation for F-4) that was created. The conversion of the former MiG-21 adversary is conducted with the help of BAe Systems.
The QF-4 is created using the planes that sit on the USAF’s desert boneyard in Tuscon, Arizona.
As no Phantoms are left to be converted, the oldest F-16s are next in the queue to be converted into dummy targets for training or new missile research. The first F-16 made its first flight in May 2012.
This is as far as the Air Force goes.
The US Navy is not using Phantoms anymore, as the last ones were also QF-4 target drones in service with Naval Air Warfare Center in Point Magu, California. The Phantom drones are expected to be a part of USAF target dummy inventory until 2013-2014 (later they will be replaced by the abovementioned F-16).
The QF-4 has replaced QF-106 target drone.
The QF-4′s not only serve a drone role, as several of them are still painted in historical camo and take part in the USAF Heritage Flights at the airshows when not being used as targets.
When being a target, the QF-4 provides quite realistic training platform, as it can imitate all kinds of evasive maneuvers.
Image Credit: air-and-space.com
The following video shows practical application of QF-4 in training of the Air National Guard:
In the video we can see two F-15 jets shooting at the targets – the QF-4 Phantoms. To simulate the aerial combat with the highest possible fidelity the targets are equipped with the whole array of countermeasures (chaffs and flares) and may be flown remotely (when serving as a target) or with a pilot in cockpit (Heritage flights, maintenance). When unmanned, the QF-4 also carries an explosive device for self-destruct purpose in case it becomes uncontrollable.
Even if most modern air forces are equipped with more advanced fighter planes, the F-4 is still comparable if not superior to many enemy aircraft U.S. fighter could face in case of war….
Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist
Some of the best F/A-18E Super Hornet images ever: Air Power Demo over USS John C. Stennis April 26, 2013Posted by David Cenciotti in : Aircraft Carriers, Military Aviation , 5comments
The following images show scenes that have little (if not nothing) to do with “usual” flight ops.
Two F/A-18E Super Hornets from the Tophatters of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 14 overfly with extended landing gear and hook (hence, in landing configuration) the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) during an air power demonstration taking place over the flattop as the it returns from an eight-month deployment to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility.
Air power demo include aircraft belonging to both the embarked squadrons and take place in the vicinity of the aircraft carrier for all the personnel to see.
Here are two more pictures, most probably taken from the cargo door of a C-2 Greyhound, showing the “Rhinos” (nickname for the Super Hornet used on U.S. supercarriers) over or near USS Stennis.
Image credit: U.S. Navy