Monthly Archives: February 2014

Belbek Airport in Sevastopol, Ukraine, taken over by “unknown” troops

There are reports that Belbek airport has been surrounded by an unknown militia.

Although civilian flights were suspended in 2007, the airfield, currently guarded by unknown troops is known as Sevastapol International airport.

Its current occupants are the Ukranian Department of Defence and specifically the 204th Tactical Aviation Brigade of the Ukrainian Air Force, equipped with the Mig-29 Fulcrum.

The airfield itself is a few kilometers north of the strategically important port of Sevastapol and has a 3,009 mt (9,863 ft) long runway which can also handle any weight aircraft (indeed, it is described as unlimited maximum take off weight).

Perfect for heavily laden transport aircraft needed to supply a potential air bridge between the Russian Black Sea fleet and Russia itself.

Two videos have already surfaced showing 12 Russian helicopters entering the airspace over Crimea.

There are also reports that Russian jets are flying combat air patrol (CAP) over the Sea of Azov to the east of the Crimean Peninsula right up to Ukrainian airspace; the airspace over Savastopol is closed.


FR24 Crimea

Image credit: Google Earth (top) and FlightRadar24.


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New video shows 12 Russian Mi-24 and Mi-8 helicopters in Crimea

Here is today’s Russian remake of Apocalypse Now.

Shot from another point of observation, footage of Russian Mil Mi-24 Hind gunships accompanied by some Mi-8 Hip helicopters allegedly invading Ukraine’s airspace in Crimea has emerged.

H/T to Erik Jonker for the heads-up


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[Video] 11 Russian gunship helicopters flying into Ukrainian airspace over Crimea

Some 10 Russian Mi-24 Hind helicopters were allegedly filmed entering Ukrainian airspace over Crimea.

Amateur video uploaded on Youtube shows eleven Mil Mi-24 helicopters allegedly flying towards the military airport at Sevastopol early in the morning of Feb. 28.

According to some regional media outlets, the news of the gunships was confirmed by Ukrainian Border Guards.


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This is the effect of an F-15E Strike Eagle live weapons drop.

F-15E Strike Eagles from RAF Lakenheath dropped 48 live GBU-12s along the northern border of Scotland.

Ever wondered what the effect of a GBU-12 bomb blast may look like? The image above gives a hint.

It was dropped by an F-15E alongside the other 47 live GBU-12 500-pound bombs dropped by 11 other Strike Eagles belonging to the 492nd Fighter Squadron of the 48th Fighter Wing from RAF Lakenheath, England, on Feb. 10, 2014.

The F-15Es of the 492nd FS dropped the bunch of GBU-12s at the military range of Cape Wrath, in the far northern border of Scotland, as part of a required pre-AEF (Air Expeditionary Force) deployment exercise.

U.S. Air Force pilots at Lakenheath would typically move to the U.S. to meet their weapons employment requirement before a tour of duty, but their mission this year was postponed due to sequestration, until if was determined that it might be more cost efficient to conduct the live munitions drop in the UK.

Pre-deployment training included work with Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) from the Air Ground Operations School in Germany. JTACs, the modern version of FACs (Forward Air Controllers), provide precision terminal attack guidance of U.S. and coalition close air support from a forward position.

The JTAC acts as a sort of “middleware” between troops on the ground that require air support and the pilot: they work embedded on a patrol, in the vicinity of the enemy, in an armored vehicle, to direct air strikes against the proper targets talking pilot in such a way he/she can cue the weapons to the correct ground target (and avoid friendly fire or collateral damage).

Six F-15E flew the live bombing sortie in the morning and six in the afternoon, each carrying two live GBU-12 laser guided bombs: when the bomb is 10 seconds flight time from the target the laser is turned on and then spotted on the projected target to enable the bomb’s seeker to guide itself to hit the designated target.

The explosion on the rock creates a large cloud of dust and creates an infrared signature (as it would happen if a real target was attacked); for this reason the pilots have to wait for the cloud to die down before they can make another run on the target and drop the next bomb.

Live bomb F-15E pass

Image credit: U.S. Air Force


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First images of the new Iraqi Mi-28 Night Hunter attack helicopters

Taken at Rostov on Don plant, the photographs show Baghdad’s new attack choppers in the color scheme chosen by the Iraqi Air Force.

With the help of Akram Kharief, the editor of Secret Difa 3, a blog focusing on defense topics in the Maghreb region, we can show you the first images of the brand new Mi-28 Havoc helicopter on delivery to Iraq.

According to the Kharief, 23 Russian attack choppers have been delivered to the Iraqis, the first batch of 10, in September 2013 and the second of 13 examples, in January 2014.

With the delivery of the Mi-28s Iraq has become the third country (with Russia and Kenya) to operate the all-weather, day-night, two-seat anti-armor attack helicopter (whose export version is known as Mi-28NE) destined to replace the Mi-24 Hind in Russian service.

Iraq expects to give its Special Forces the support of around 40 Mi-35 (export version of the Mi-24) and Mi-28NE attack helicopters from Russia that will be used for border patrol and antiterrorist operations: a powerful armada for such a “basic” role.

Iraqi Mi-28 side view

Image credit: Secret Difa 3


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