Monthly Archives: April 2014

All the aircraft types involved in the MH370 air search in one photo

Search by air for the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 has been called off. Most (if not all) the aircraft tupes that undertook visual search from Australia, were grouped for a farewell picture.

Search for any sign of the missing MH370 flight in Southern Indian Ocean has been called off, since it is extremely unlikely that any debris will be found on the ocean’s surface little less than 2 months since the Boeing 777 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing mysteriously disappeared from radars.

52 days into the search, anything would have sunk and for this reason the authorities have decided to focus on underwater search.

But before patrol and support aircraft and crews from Australia, New Zealand, China, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia and U.S. left Perth, RAAF Pearce, and RAAF Learmonth, planes from each participating nation were grouped for one last farewell photo.

Image credit: RAAF

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U.S. KC-135 refuels Moroccan F-16 Block 52 jets during Aeroexpo Marrakech

A U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker, from 191st Air Refueling Squadron from Salt Lake City, Utah, took part at the 2014 Aeroexpo Marrakech Trade Show in Morocco. And refueled some Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16s during its stay in North Africa. 

A U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules from the 37th Airlift Squadron based out of Ramstein Air Base, Germany and a KC-135 Stratotanker took part to the 2014 Aeroexpo Marrakech Trade Show.

These assets were chosen because “they are critical to the success of current and future multinational military operations in Africa.”

The importance of aerial refuelers in the region was also highlighted by the Libya War in 2011, when the U.S. had to support the air campaign with the majority of the tankers required to sustain the air strikes.

During its stay at the show, the KC-135 took also part to a training mission, during which it refueled three F-16 Block 52 jets from the Royal Moroccan Air Force as the images in this post show.

Morocco F-16s

Image credit: U.S. Air Force


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Six Canadian CF-18 Hornet jets are deploying to Eastern Europe in response to Ukraine crisis

As part of Canada’s commitment to the NATO, the government of PM Harper decided to dispatch six Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet jets to Eastern Europe.

On Apr. 29, six RCAF Hornets belonging to the 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron have left Canadian Forces Base Bagotville in Quebec to join their NATO counter parts that have increased their presence around Ukraine.

The flight, supported by a Polaris tanker and an Aurora patrol aircraft have made a stopover in Keflavik, Iceland, on their way to Romania.

The purpose of their mission is “to conduct training activities in support of immediate reassurance measures.”

The Canadian CF-18s are multirole aircraft that have been extensively used during the Libya Air War in 2011, when they operated from Trapani airbase, in Italy.

H/T to Winston for the heads-up. Image credit: RCAF


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French Rafale jets deploy to Poland (without the markings of the unit which fought alongside Soviets in WWII)

Four French Air Force Rafales have deployed to Poland. The aircraft don’t sport the traditional tail markings and the reason may be their unit fough alongside the Soviets in WWII.

At 09.40 GMT, four French Air Force Rafale “omnirole” jets landed at Malbork airbase in Poland, where they have been deployed to reinforce NATO and its allies presence around Ukraine.

The combat planes belong to two squadrons of the Armée de l’Air: the EC 1/7 “Provence”, based at Saint Dizier and the EC 2/30 “Normandie-Niémen” from Mont-de-Marsan.

The French planes had their unit markings removed from their tails, in what seems to be a symbolic act rather than a specific operational requirement, considering that squadron badges were not erased in previous combat operations (for instance Libya Air War in 2011).

The “Normandie-Niémen” was the only French Air Force unit (a Regiment) to fight alongside the Soviets until the end of the war in Europe, during WWII; considered the growing tension with Russia following the invasion and annexation of Crimea, most probably, Paris did not want to deploy aircraft whose markings could somehow recall a glorious past of joint operations with Moscow’s air armada.

A bit of Psyops?

Rafale Poland

Image credit: French MoD /EMA


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U.S. Air Force F-15C jets intercept Russian spyplane over the Baltic

U.S. F-15Cs performing Baltics Air Policing were scrambled on Monday to intercept a Russian Il-20.

According to the Latvia’s Military, the U.S. Air Force F-15C deployed to Šiauliai, Lithuania, to provide Air Policing in the Baltics region, intercepted an Il-20 spyplane.

Russian Air Force missions in the area often requires NATO jet fighters to perform Alert Scrambles, to intercept Il-20 spyplanes, Tu-22M Backfire bombers and Su-27 fighter jets. Such close encounters have become a bit more frequent since Russian invasion of Crimea and subsequent international crisis over Ukraine.

On Feb. 24, two F-15Cs taking part to a flyby in Estonia were diverted to intercept a Russian plane before overflying the city of Pärnu.

On Apr. 25, two Tu-95H bombers were intercepted by RAF Typhoons, Dutch and Danish F-16s during a long range patrol around UK.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

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