Monthly Archives: August 2012

Exposed: First Syrian rebels DIY unmanned aerial vehicle (that may never be able to fly…)

The following video shows what is believed to be the first Free Syrian Army drone.

According to the speaker, the DIY Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is equipped with a camera and is capable of carrying 50 kg of explosive “against Assad forces”.

Three meters in length with a 3 m wingspan, it features a 6-blade (each measuring 10 cm) propeller (that is quite similar to a car radiator fan…) connected to an engine capable of 4HP at  3,600 RPM.

Indeed the engine seems to work.

However, the drone lacks an actual airframe and it seems to have been assembled using car parts. Hard to believe it can safely fly, be launched and recovered (look how fragile the landing gear seems to be) and effectively target with a certain accuracy Assadist forces on the ground unless (much) more engineering and development work is done.

H/T to Fred Enaj for the heads-up and thanks to @troublejee for the translation

"Gray Dragon": the only F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter painted in a two-tone gray experimental color scheme

Taken towards the end of 2003/early 2004 by a KC-135 boom operator using the nickname “boomer135” and brought to my attention by Aviationintel‘s Tyler Rogoway the following pictures show the quite rare “Gray Dragon”, the gray F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter.

This plane was the only to be painted in an experimental two-tone grey color scheme.

Noteworthy, when the authro posted them for the first time on the ATS forum, he stated that the depicted aircraft was being flown by a (civilian) Lockheed Martin test pilot.

The “Gray Dragon” was among the first six Nighthawks that the U.S. Air Force flew for the last time from Holloman Air Force Base to Tonopah Test Range, Navada, on Mar. 12, 2007.

Image credit: “boomer135” via Tyler Rogoway/Aviationintel.com

As many of you already know, since the last F-117 was retired in 2008, the famous stealth fighter has been “spotted” several times. Along with several sightings, there’s even a seemingly genuine video of a single triangular “black jet” flying inside the Nellis Range Complex years after retirement.

You can find an interesting analysis of the possible reasons behind the decision to keep a small fleet of F-117 active here.

The Spanish Air Force's Orion Detachment in Djibouti reaches 4,000 flight hours fighting piracy off Horn of Africa

The Spanish Air Force (Ejercito del Aire) detachment in Djibouti, inside the structure of the EUNAVFOR (European Union Naval Force) in the Operation ATALANTA, reached the 4,000 flying hours in operational missions in support of the fight against piracy in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden.

Image credit: Spanish Air Force

This unit of the Spanish Air Force deployed in Djibouti has a Tactical Air Detachment entity with the mission of the surveillance, reconnaissance, information gathering and prevention of maritime piracy in the framework of Operation ATALANTA, within the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) and has been deployed continuously since the beginning of the mission, now three and a half years.

The past Aug. 19, during a flight with the Lockheed P-3 Orion, the ORION Detachment surpassed 4,000 flight hours in this mission. Of this total, approximately one quarter represents the contribution of the crew and staff of the 48 & 49 Wings, when they are deployed with a CN-235 VIGMA aircraft supporting the operation.

Image Credit: Lockheed Martin

This important figure coincides with the 50 years being in service of the Lockheed P-3 Orion, joining a very few club of airplanes in the world that can tout this distinct honor such as the spy plane Lockheed U-2 and the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress in the USAF, and the British Vickers VC10 in the RAF.

The P-3 Orion has been in the frontline from the Cuban Missile Crisis, three months after delivery of the first unit to the US Navy in 1962 to nowadays anti-piracy missions over the Gulf of Aden, with the spaniards P-3M Orion, flying tens of thousands of missions over the world’s seas and oceans.

El Lince Analista for TheAviationist.com 

Something you don't see everyday: a C-130 cruising down the street

Published by the Little Rock Air Force Base Facebook account the following picture shows a local C-130 being moved to be a static display in front of the base education center.

The Hercules was taken apart, transported and put back together by airmen of the 19th CES (Civil Engineering Squadron), CMS (Component Maintenance Squadron), AMXS (Aircraft Maintenance Squadron) and EMS (quipment Maintenance Squadron).



Image credit: Little Rock Air Force Base/U.S. Air Force

Fake video of Syrian L-39 forced to crash raises questions about rebel claims

Even if other readers had already pointed out to me that the video allegedly showing a Syrian L-39 crashing into the ground might be a fake, it was only thanks to “alfavega” that I eventually found the evidence that the footage was not genuine.

Here’s the video posted by the rebels:

And here’s the video clearly showing that the L-39 was actually a remotely controlled model (go to 03:20):

Along with other real videos, the top one was used by the rebels/Syrian revolution supporters to claim an improved accuracy of the anti-aircraft fire of the Free Syrian Army.

However, this doctored video shows that the propaganda machine is active not only on the Assadists side.

Anyway, in the meanwhile a Mig-21 was really destroyed by the FSA with pilot forced to eject (although it is unclear whether the plane was taking off or landing or taxiing) as the following videos show.