Tag Archives: United States Marine Corps

Watch a U.S. Marine Corps KC-130J refuel two F-35B Joint Strike Fighters

If you suffer air sickness, this footage is not for you.

Here’s a B-roll showing two U.S. Marine Corps KC-130s flying with two F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters over Beaufort, South Carolina, during an aerial refueling mission on Mar. 19, 2015.

The KC-130 is an extended range tanker transport aircraft modified for aerial refueling of aircraft equipped with an IFR (In Flight Refueling) probe: in other words, F-35B and C, the variants for the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy.


(Fake) Video shows triangular shaped aircraft attack Taliban camp in Afghanistan

A mysterious triangular shaped airborne object attacks Taliban camp in a video allegedly filmed by U.S. Marines. Genuine or fake? Fake.

The following footage was allegedly filmed in Afghanistan by U.S. Marines that captured this footage of what looks like an Unidentified Flying Object, hovering over a Taliban camp in Afghanistan before attacking and destroying it.

Although triangle-shaped, hence resembling the mysterious planes spotted over Kansas and Texas, the UFO seems to be smaller than the two aircraft photographed at high altitude over Continental U.S.

Here’s a screenshot showing the aircraft.

Mystery triangle Afghanistan close-up

Is the video genuine?


Here’s an interesting analysis.

The footage was posted on a Youtube channel with tons of videos of spacecrafts and UFOs, some of which are clearly fake, doctored videos.

Even if secret drones and new stealth planes really exist, this video is probably not among the evidences of those Black Projects and the triangular aircraft was added in post-editing on a video of an ammunition pile being detonated.

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Take a rare ride on Marine One: what it’s like to travel aboard President’s chopper

When President of the U.S. travels aboard the VH-3D (or any other chopper operated by the USMC HMX-1 – Marine Helicopter Squadron One), the helicopter uses the radio callsign “Marine One” by which the aircraft is known.

Here’s a rare behind the scenes video showing POTUS chopper, the only one belonging to a head of a state to be carried aboard to follow the president in its visits.

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Camp Bastion attack could be U.S. Marine Corps Harrier fleet’s ground zero

As already explained, the recent Taliban attack on Camp Bastion, that cost the U.S. the worst air loss to enemy fire in one day since the Vietnam War, almost wiped out the entire U.S. Marine Harrier force in Afghanistan: besides killing two Marines, including the Commanding Officer of Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 211, six AV-8B+ aircraft were destroyed and two more severly injured.

Since the VMA-211 “Avengers” had deployed to Afghanistan with 10 airframes, only two Harriers survived the insurgent attack in one of the strategical airbases in Afghanistan (aircraft that were immediately returned to the U.S.).

In other words, in a matter of a hours, the U.S., that had moved VMA-211 from Kandahar to Camp Bastion on Jul.1 to have the planes closer to where the troops need support, not only lost one of its most valuable CAS (Close Air Support) platforms in Afghanistan, but also about 1/15th of the entire American Jump Jet fleet.

Even though you may believe that the loss of 8 Harriers is not a big deal when you have a fleet of 120+ such planes, you have to consider that  about 15 planes are TAV-8B two seater jump jets used for training purposes, along with about the same amount of single seaters.

Moreover, of the remaining Harriers (about 100), not all airframes can be used in combat with the same effectiveness, because the U.S. Marine Corps, along with the upgraded AV-8B+ (like those destroyed at Camp Bastion), that features the APG-65 Radar and the Litening pod, flies also the less capable AV-8B.

Hence the extent of losses suffered in Afghanistan is higher than the 7 percent and could be a big deal for the U.S. Marine Corps that has to carefully ration the employment of the Harriers if it wants to keep the AV-8B+ in service beyond 2030, when it will eventually be replaced by the F-35B.

Well before the Camp Bastion attack, to increase the availability of spare parts and extend the life of the Harrier, the Marines procured second hand RAF Harrier GR9s.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

The second generation AV-8B Harrier, developed in the first ’80s, was well suited for U.S. Marine Corps requirement for a Close Air Support aircraft able to give effective tactical support to amphibious landing operations. Over the years, it was also upgraded to carry AMRAAM missiles, JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack Munitions), and today the plane (operating also with both the Spanish and Italian Navy) is able to undertake CAS missions, naval Theater Air Defense and precision Air-to-Ground tasks.

That’s why the Harrier is so important for the U.S. Marine Corps.

Beyond the AV-8B+

The USMC and the Italian Navy plan to replace their Harriers with the F-35B, the STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) version of the JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) conceived for Jump Jet users: U.S. Marines, IT Navy and Royal Navy / Royal Air Force (the first “international” F-35 is the F-35B BK-01 / ZM135, that made its maiden flight in April 2012). Althought it’s not among the AV-8B+ operators, the Italian Air Force is expected to operate 15 F-35Bs along with 60 F-35As.

The STOVL aircraft will be a swing role platform suited to be effective in a net-centric environment, where it will perform both sensor and shooter roles. But it will not be fully operational before the late 2020s, and the USMC is planning to upgrade its Harriers in order to keep them in service until a significant amout of F-35Bs will be operational.

Not only the USMC will have to upgrade the jump jets.

Probably, both Spanish and Italian Navy will have no choice but to upgrade their Harriers, which could be really effective with SDBs (Small Diameter Bombs) and new avionics, considering that the Air Superiority within a naval group area of operations is provided by the combination of both airborne and ship-based capabilities.

Nevertheless, since it doesn’t partecipate to the JSF program, Spain will probably lose its embarked fixed wing component if it doesn’t acquire the F-35B.

Written with The Aviationist’s “Skipper”

Commanding Officer of the Harrier squadron decimated at Camp Bastion among the Marines killed in the Taliban attack

The Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 211 “Avengers” that was decimated on Friday Sept. 14, when a force of insurgents attacked Camp Bastion, in Helmand, has not only lost two Marines and eight of the ten AV-8B+ Harrier jets deployed in Afghanistan.

According to UTSanDiego.com, Marine and family sources have confirmed that Lt. Col. Chris “Otis” Raible, commanding officer of the Yuma squadron is among the killed in action of the unprecedented attack that resulted in the destruction of six jump jets and significant damage (possibly beyond repair) to two more Harriers belonging to the VMA-211, the unit he commanded.

The VMA-211 is part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing headquartered in San Diego at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

Raible led the “Avengers” when the unit, deployed to Afghanistan in April 2012, relocated from Kandahar Airfield to Camp Bastion on Jul. 1 and he’s depicted in most of the images released by the U.S. Marine Corps to give account of the transfer.

Image credit: U.S. Marine Corps

Camp Bastion was in close proximity to all the units they supported and this gave the VMA-211 the opportunity to conduct more combat operations and communicate more effectively with the ground combat element.

Unfortunately neither Raible nor the rest of the “Avengers” could predict the attack that cost the U.S. the worst air loss to enemy fire in one day since the Vietnam War, that has rendered the Squadron unable to support the troops in the ground and compelled the Marine Corps to fly the remaining two airframes back home.

Image credit: U.S. Marine Corps