Being the base of the Red Flag, Nellis Air Force Base, near Las Vegas, is used to host U.S. and foreign combat planes quite frequently.
However, the Air Force One is a quite rare sight at Nellis too.
The following picture depicts the Air Force One landing there on Aug. 21, 2012. President Obama went to Las Vegas to discuss education and spending with members of the local community.
Image credit: U.S. Air Force
The Air Force One is a highly modified Boeing 747 designated VC-25 by the U.S. Air Force. Most probably, the two examples of the plane are the most heavily defended aircraft in the world.
Although much of the self-protection suite is classified the aircraft is known to be fitted with active electronic counter measures, that are able to jam enemy radar frequencies as well as IRCM (Infrared Counter Measure) systems needed to divert heat seeking Infra Red missiles by disturbing their guidance systems.
The one in use on the AF1 is the AN/ALQ-204 Matador produced by the BAe Systems. Such system protect the plane from both IR air-to-air and ground-to-air (MANPADS – Man Portable Air Defense Systems) missiles.
The plane is also equipped with chaff and flares dispensers: the first type is used to divert radar-guided missiles, while the flares are high-temperature heat sources ejected from the aircraft’s dispensers to mislead the missile’s heat-seeking targeting system: since the burn temperature is hotter than that at the engine’s exhaust the burning flares attract and deceive heat-seeking missiles fired at the aircraft.
Chaffs are similar: they are small pieces of aluminium (or any other glass fiber) that generate a radar return (or multiple returns) thus hiding the aircraft from the enemy launching platform and missile radars.
- If you want to know what a Red Flag’s mass launch from Nellis Air Force Base looks like, watch this video (theaviationist.com)
- [Photo Gallery] Colombian Air Force Kfir combat planes at their first Red Flag ever (theaviationist.com)
- Russian Air Force to take part in next Red Flag exercise. Who’s gonna play the Aggressor role? (theaviationist.com)
- [Exclusive Report] Colombian Air Force Kfir jets at their very first Red Flag. Beware: air-to-air photographs inside. (theaviationist.com)
- Photo: air-to-air with the Colombian Air Force Kfirs in the Nevada Test and Training Range during the Red Flag (theaviationist.com)
- Two Russian Strategic Bombers to fly in the U.S. next year. And two B-52s to return the visit. (theaviationist.com)
- Video: Red Flag night launch and recovery time lapse (spanning about 5 hours or so in just 3 minutes). (theaviationist.com)
- Too cool to be true: a night sortie on board the B-52 Stratofortress. As seen through the Night Vision Goggles (theaviationist.com)
It’s about time to start replacing it, too. Don’t they pretty much have to go for a 747-8I? Going from a dual-deck down to a single one like with a 787 or 777 might look bad, and going with an A380 would be even worse.
“discuss education and spending with members of the local community.” Is that what they call blatant fundraising at the taxpayer’s expense nowadays?
David, enjoy your articles, however that’s not Obama’s Air Force One, it owned by the citizens of the United State.
You’r right but let’s say it’s a writer license…
Ok. We’ll let you off with a warning and no points on the license ;^)