Monthly Archives: June 2012

"Turkish F-4 gunned down by anti-aircraft artillery inside the Syrian airspace" U.S. intelligence says

The Turkish RF-4E shot down by Syria on Jun. 22, was probably gunned by a shore-based anti-aircraft artillery battery while it was flying inside the Syrian airspace.

Therefore, the U.S. version of the episode is in tune with the Syrian account (at least for what deals with the position of the aircraft when it was hit) of the mishap, rather than the Turkish one.

This is what the U.S. intelligence/defense sources indicated to the Wall Street Journal that, in an article published on Jun. 29, also confirmed The Aviationist’s early hypothesis that the Turkish Phantom was flying a mission aimed at probing Damascus air defenses.

Although how the American officials have gathered specific details about the position of the plane remains a sort-of mystery (an ISR – Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance – and/or an AEW – Airborne Early Warning platform spying Syrian activities might have recorded something) such embarrassing discrepancies emerge while Ankara amasses rocket launchers and anti-aircraft guns along its border with Syria as a reaction to the downing of its fighter jet (whose crew members have not been recovered yet).

TuAF RF-4E Phantom II

Image credit: Turkish Air Force

Photo: Eurofighter Typhoon’s kill markings. F-16, F-18 and Mirage 2000 among the shot down fighters

As already explained several times, kills scored during simulated dissimilar air combat training are not particularly interesting (other than for marketing purposes) unless the actual Rules Of Engagement (ROE) and the training scenario are known.

However, there is a lot of people who consider kill markings and HUD captures extremely seriously.

Therefore, here’s an interesting picture, showing some kill markings on an Italian Eurofighter Typhoon.

Taken at Grosseto airbase in 2010 by Dario Leone, a reader of this blog, the photograph clearly shows the aircraft downed by the F-2000s of the 4° Stormo during DACT: F-18, F-16, Mirage 2000, Tornado and AMX (with the “Tonka” and the AMX not being particularly significant because they are fighter bombers that don’t excel in the air-to-air scenario).

In 2009, an F-22 kill marking on a EA-18G Growler made the news.


Watch this image: a ship-based anti-ballistic missile launched at night by a guided-missile cruiser

Even if similar pictures have already been published in the past, I find the following image particularly interesting because it was taken on Jun. 27 and shows a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block 1B interceptor as it leaves the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) after launch during a Missile Defense Agency test in the Pacific Ocean.

The SM-3 Block 1B successfully intercepted a short-range ballistic missile target that had been launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, located on Kauai, Hawaii.

Such SM-3 ship-based missile systems are used by the U.S. Navy to intercept short to intermediate range ballistic missiles as part of Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System but they can be used against satellites at the lower end of Low Earth orbit.

In the past, the anti-satellite role was intended to be fulfilled with the ASM-135 ASAT, an air-launched multi stage missile, carried exclusively by the U.S. Air Force’s F-15 Eagle, that was tested but never deployed into active service.

Image credit: U.S. Navy

Video: High Park Fire Helicopters at work

Ignited Jun. 9 by a lightning strike to a tree in Roosevelt National Forest, Colorado’s High Park Fire, has burned 87,284 acres and destroyed at least 257 homes in the foothills west of Fort Collins.

More than 1,300 fire personnel, 17 hand crews, 103 engines, 11 dozers and 18 water tenders as well as air resources including 7 helicopters plus a helicopter with a radiometric imaging system attached are currently fighting the fire that is now 75 percent contained (estimated containment date: Jul. 1).

The following videos show Blackhawks taking off with Bambi buckets, S-64 Aircranes reloading water and a Lakota taking off and flying in support of the High Park Fire.

Here's another cool B-52 cockpit video!

With all the fleet having surpassed 50 years of active service, the B-52 heavy bomber remains one of the most interesting (and powerful) weapon system in the U.S. inventory.

Few days ago the post If you love the B-52, this video was made for you: take-off, aerial refueling, formation flying, landing with the Buff showed some interesting footage taken during a sorties with a Stratofortress of the 96 Bomb Squadron at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana.

Here’s another one, filmed during a training mission that included aerial refueling.