Tag Archives: United States Air Force

U.S. Air Force A-10 Close Air Support missions as seen through GoPro cameras

This is one of the coolest A-10C Thunderbolt videos ever.

GoPro cameras in the cockpit of U.S. Air Force A-10s while they fly at low altitude or through the mountains, refuel from a KC-135 tanker, fire AGM-65 Maverick missiles and GAU-8 Avenger 30 mm hydraulically driven seven-barrel Gatling-type gun.

It may be close to retirement (even though it is supporting Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq and strengthening U.S. presence across eastern Europe), but the “Hog” remains one of the most badass aircraft around.

The video was filmed by pilots of the 25 Fighter Squadron belonging to the 51st Fighter Wing at Osan Air Base, South Korea.

H/T to Tom Demerly for the YT link

 

U.S. F-15E goes supersonic over UK: ceiling tiles come down in local Supermarket

A sonic boom probably caused by U.S. F-15E Strike Eagles shook homes and businesses in Wales.

The sonic boom that caused several ceiling tiles come down in a supermarket in the Welsh town of Aberystwyth, UK, was caused by U.S. fighter planes.

Indeed, according to the statement issued by the Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft from RAF Lakenheath had been training in the area when something went wrong.

Initially, the exercise was to be carried out over the sea, but due to the fact that the airspace the exercise was planned in was lost, the jets were directed to RAF military training airspace over the southern part of Wales.

The Strike Eagle which went supersonic broke the “sound barrier” at the altitude of 18,000 feet inadvertently causing the sonic boom.

Here’s  how the last part of the USAFE statement reads:

We offer our sincerest apologies for any disturbance or concern that this may have caused. We continue to emphasise airspeed restrictions in our pre-flight briefings to minimise the possibility of inadvertently breaching the sound barrier.

Supersonic flight over the land is usually forbidden for the military aircraft in normal, peacetime conditions except for specific areas.

In CONUS (Continental US) one of these areas is the HASSC (High Altitude Supersonic Corridor), located in Southern California. HASSC is used for flight testing, and it passes over Edwards Air Force Base. It is not the sole corridor of this type, but it is one of the few controlled by the military.

Most of these are within the FAA jurisdiction.

According to the FAA regulations the controlled airspace extends up to 60,000 feet. Anything flying above may fly at “unlimited speeds.”

There is no risk of noise pollution at these altitudes. Supersonic flights are of course permitted in special conditions, for example in case fighter jets have to intercept hijacked liners.

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

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Final Special Operations MC-130P Combat Shadow leaves European theater

Special Operation Command Europe’s transitioning from the Combat Shadow to the MC-130J Commando II.

The departure of the last MC-130P Combat Shadow, tail number 66-0215, from its home base at RAF Mildenhall,  UK, on Feb. 3, marked the final step of the convertion of the 352nd Special Operations Group to the new MC-130J Commando II.

While flown as a routine training mission, the last sortie brought the plane on a final farewell flight to all those fields that the 67th SOS was stationed at in the UK including RAF Sculthorpe, RAF Prestwick, RAF Woodbridge and RAF Alconbury.

Noteworthy, during the farewell flight the MC-130P performed an aerial refueling (AAR) with one of the 352nd SOG’s newest aircraft, a CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft from the 7th Special Operations Squadron.

Since the mid-1980s, the Combat Shadow took part on a wide variety of special operations across the world, including AAR, precision airdrop of personnel and equipment; and the execution of night, long-range, transportation and resupply of military forces.

Since Vietnam, the Combat Shadow has deployed for Operation Just Cause in Panama, Operation Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia and Turkey, Operation Deny Flight in Yugoslavia, Operations Restore Democracy and Uphold Democracy in Haiti, Operations Deliberate Force and Joint Endeavor in Bosnia, Operation Assured Response in Liberia, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn in Iraq and Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya.

The first of a reported 12 MC-130J’s arrived on Jun. 7, 2013 to replace the 67th SOS (Special Operations Squadron) aging fleets of MC-130E and P tankers.

The 67th SOS primary roles are Air refuelling of SOF helicopter/tilt rotor aircraft, infiltration, exfiltration and resupply of SOF by airdrop and land.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

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US F-16 to deploy to Poland for the next two weeks

About 150 men and 6 F-16 Viper fighter jets are going to be flying over the Polish territory for the next two weeks. The supporting C-17 transport planes and the ground crews have already arrived on Thursday, while the F-16’s are going to arrive in 32. AFB in Łask today (May 11, 2013).

As the Polish Air Force Commander, General Majewski, said, the planes from the Air National Guard 176th Tactical Fighter Squadron originating from Truax AFB in Wisconsin are going to train integration and interoperability with the Polish Jastrząb (Polish name for the F-16) planes. Additionaly the exercise will involve Su-22‘s from 21 AFB in Świdwin and MiG-29‘s from 23 AFB in Minsk Mazowiecki.

Sentry Eagle 2007

Image Credit: USAF

The aim of the exercise is to facilitate integration of pilots, ground and logistics crews. What’s more, the exercise also aims at improving the English linguistic proficiency of the Polish aviators.

On May 17, the American aviators are to be visited by the US Ambassador in Poland, Stephen Mull and by general Majewski.

Integration between PAF and USAF has already begun: a regular rotation of USAF detatchments in Poland has started this year (with Nellis AFB detatchment in Łask being the first one).

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist

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(Finally) U.S. Air Force to add a new Helmet Mounted Cueing system to the Raptor stealth fighter

Although it is integrated in U.S. F-15C/D, F-16  Block 40 and 50 and F-18C/D/E/F, on the Eurofighter Typhoon and on several other modern planes (including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter – with some difficulties), a modern Helmet-mounted cueing system is a feature that the F-22 Raptor lacks.

F-22 FF Nellis

There are various reasons why the pilots of the most advanced (and much troubled) air superiority fighter were not given a helmet that, by projecting aircraft’s airspeed, altitude, weapons status, aiming and symbology, provides the essential flight and weapon aiming information through line of sight imagery, enabling the aircrew to look out in any direction with all the required data always in their field of vision: (too much) confidence that capability was not needed since no opponents would get close enough to be engaged with an AIM-9X in a cone more than 80 degrees to either side of the nose of the aircraft; limited head space below the canopy; the use of missiles carried inside ventral bays whose sensor can’t provide aiming to the system until they are ejected.

And also various integration problems that brought the Air Force to cancel funding…

However, even the (almost) invincible F-22 eventually needed an advanced helmet that could make the HOBS (High Off Bore Sight) possible.

The U.S. Air Force is preparing to evaluate the Visionix Scorpion helmet-mounted cueing system (HMCS) on the F-22 Raptor.

“We absolutely hope to have the Scorpion helmet [on the Raptor],We think we’ll get into that business this summer,” said to Flight Global Col. Robert Novotny, commander of the 53rd Test and Evaluation Group (TEG), who looks into new technologies for the Air Force from Nellis Air Force Base.

The Scorpion HMCS is a paddle shaped full colour display and will give the Raptor a high off-boresight (HOBS) capability ahead of the initial installation of the AIM-9X planned for 2015 with a full upgrade to the missile in the 2017 time frame, when the fighters increment 3.2B upgrade program comes into play.

Scorpion

Image credit: Gentex

Novotny went on to add: “If we can get that [HMCS] in the jet, then we can get them an off-boresight heat-seeking missile like the AIM-9X.We want to get this done because we’ll bring some great capability to the pilot, as all helmets do, and give them the off-boresight later.”

The addition of the HMCS and the AIM-9X on the F-22 shows that, in the foreseeable future, the Within Visual Range scenario can be more likely and worriesome for the best American fighter plane than some Raptor fans are willing to admit.

Written with Richard Clements

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