Monthly Archives: January 2013

USMC MV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft conduct first ever training in the Philippines

Whilst the USS Guardian remained aground on the Tubbataha Reef, U.S. forces conducted a three-day exercise with the Philippine Air Force (PAF) in Palawan.

The drills involved three MV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft withMarine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force, out of Okinawa, Japan, that arrived at Antonio Bautista Air Base in Puerto Princesa, Palawan on Jan. 22.

At their very first time in the Philippines, the USMC’s Osprey flew low-altitude training sorties along routes pre-approved by the local government and already used in previous flight training exercises.

MV-22 VMM-265 Philippines

Image credit: U.S. Marine Corps

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Another stunning video of a B-1 bomber night launch from Nellis Air Force Base during Red Flag

Here’s another impressive video of a B-1 Lancer’s night departure during Red Flag 13-2 currently underway at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

Taken from a different point of observation, it shows one of the five Bones of the 28th Bomb Squadron (7th Bomb Wing) currently involved in the exercise, launching from runway 03R.

What’s amazing is how long the bomber keeps the reheat on after taking to the air to accelerate, compared to lighter fighter jets.

Bone night launch

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Israel strikes weapons convoy and research center inside Syria

According to several reports appearing on media outlets, 12 Israeli jets flew three air strikes on a heavy weapons convoy within Syria in the night between Jan. 29 and 30.

The convoy was probably on its way to Lebanon and was carrying SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles possibly heading into Hezbollah’s hands.

The SA-17 is part of a system that has a command vehicle, a target acquisition radar vehicle and a transporter erector launcher vehicle and has a range of some 19 miles with the missiles having a top speed of around mach 3.

IAF strike

The strike came on the Damascus – Beirut road and was very close to the border. Lebanon also said that Israel violated their airspace during the attack while Jerusalem Post downplayed the attack saying that the target was a truck rather than a convoy and was carrying both anti-aircraft missiles along with anti-tank missiles. The Israeli government did not comment on the attack.

The Syrian government denied that a convoy had been attacked claiming that a research center was actually hit by the Israeli fighters. The New York Times quoted Syrian state TV as saying: “Israeli warplanes violated our airspace at dawn, bombing directly one of the research scientific centers in the Jimraya district in rural Damascus,” Syria called the attack a violation of their sovereignty.

The exact details are unclear and widely unconfirmed, but it would seem that some sort of attack took place involving Israeli jets flying below radar and striking either a convoy of trucks or research center or even both.

Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com

IAF F-15

Image credit: IAF

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[Photo] An unusual visitor at Decimomannu airbase: German Air Force A319CJ

The image below, taken by Alessandro Caglieri on Jan. 29, depicts the German Air Force Airbus A319CJ “15+01” landing at Decimomannu airbase, Italy.

The VIP aircraft, one of the two such planes in service with the Luftwaffe, is an unusual visitor for the base, which regularly hosts Eurofighter Typhoon, Tornado and Phantom jets involved in air-to-air and air-to-ground training activity in the Sardinian ranges.

A319CJ

Image credit: Alessandro Caglieri

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Aviano launches several F-16s to join search operation as parachute is recovered in the Adriatic Sea

In order to provide further assistance to the rescue operation that is already underway in the Adriatic Sea, the 31st Fighter Wing has tasked and launched several of its F-16 aircraft in the last couple of days to find the pilot missing since Jan. 28.

F-16 Aviano

Image credit: Monica De Guidi/VRN Spotter Group

Capt. Lucas Gruenther was flying a nighttime training sortie within a 4-ship flight when contact was lost with his aircraft as it was flying inside a restricted airspace located above the sea.

The F-16 have used their targeting pods to scan the search area:  “While not specifically designed for reconnaissance like the other aircraft already involved in the search, our F-16s have targeting pods which can be used to augment the search,” said Brig. Gen Scott J. Zobrist, 31st Fighter Wing commander.

On Jan. 30, a parachute possibly belonging to the missing pilot was found in the water 15 km off Cervia. Although it’s still unclear whether it belongs to Capt. Gruenther or not but it could be a sign that the pilot ejected before his plane crashed into the sea.

Update Jan. 31, 2013 17.00 GMT

The body of Capt. Gruenther was found in the Adriatic Sea.

F-16 Aviano takeoff

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

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