Monthly Archives: August 2014

[Video] Flying at treetop altitude with a Russian Mach 3 Mig-25 Foxbat interceptor

Awesome video of the Mig-25 Foxbat flying at very high speed and ultra low altitude some years ago in Russia.

The Mikoyan-Gurevich Mig-25 is a Soviet-era supersonic interceptor equipped with a powerful radar, four air-to-air missiles and a top speed of Mach 3.

The PD was an improved variant of the aircraft introduced at the end of the 1970s with R-15BD-300 engines and new N-005 Saphir-25 (RP-25M) Pulse-Doppler radar.

Designated Foxbat-E by NATO, these fast fighter planes conducted ultra-low level training missions (like those flown today by the Russian Air Force jets); the following video, with footage filmed in various periods, from the end of the 1980s to the end of the 1990s, shows some treetop flying, aerobatics and formation flying.

Some Mig-25RBs, reconnaissance-bomber derivative of MiG-25R, a high-altitude daylight reconnaissance aircraft, are believed to be still in service with the Russian Air Force.

Iraqi Army receives Mil Mi-28NE gunship helicopters it will use against ISIS militants

The Iraqi Army Aviation has been delivered Mil Mi-28NE gunships.

According to a statement by the Iraqi MoD, Baghdad has received an unspecified number of Russian Mil Mi-28NE Night Hunters.

A video uploaded on Youtube shows some of the new desert camouflage-painted attack choppers, in a hangar; even if the video says those are the first examples of the all-weather, day-night, two-seat anti-armor attack helicopters delivered to Iraq, according to some sources they are actually the helicopters of the latest batch.

In fact, as reported in February, at least 23 helicopters have been already delivered to the Iraqis: the first batch of 10 in September 2013 and the second of 13 examples, in January 2014.

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 to back operations against ISIS. Along with the Russian helicopters, Baghdad will get some American F-16 Block 52 jets.

 

[Video] Test missile fired at F-16 used as a target drone for the first time

QF-16 performs for the first time as an aerial target

A remotely controlled QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Target was launched for the first time as an aerial target at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico.

The missile used in the test was modified so it could not hit its target; however, the QF-16 has a scoring system which tells the ground station how close the missile came and its trajectory.

According to Boeing, “The ground control station sets the coordinates for the missile. Then, using its on board system, the QF-16 validates that the missile hit those coordinates, and detects the distance and speed of the missile. If all the data matches up, the mission is considered a kill.”

 

The F-16 and the Forward Air Controller (Airborne) mission

The Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon is the western world’s most prolific fighter of the last 40 years.

Born in response to LWF (Light Weight Fighter) requirement for a small and agile fighter, the Viper has become U.S. Air Force’s standard multirole jet.

Among the many tasks that the F-16 can perform, there is also the Forward Air Controller (Airborne) or FAC (A) mission.

In the cool video below you can see the strafing run of eight F-16CJs belonging to 22nd and 23rd Fighter Squadrons from Spangdahlem AB, during a NATO FACs exercise held at Nordhorn Range in Germany on Aug. 20, 2009.

But which are the skills requested to perform a FAC(A) mission?

In this kind of mission, the airborne platform has also the task to allocate fighters to targets designated by the ground troops.

Even if the FAC(A) concept dates back to WWII and, later, Korea Air War, nowadays the job generally requires a single seat plane, with a quite busy pilot who runs the radios, coordinates the attack runs with the ground troops, writes down some specific data information and flies the aircraft.

Aircraft flying FAC(A) missions usually carry a wide variety of ordnance such as dumb bombs, white phosphorus rockets (used to mark targets for inbound attackers) and also 20 mm rounds which flank the latest precision guided munitions that the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS) and Sniper targeting pod (along with Link 16 and other on board tech) make more efficient.

The FAC(A) manages the Close Air Support stack, that is the vertical pier of airplanes that respond to the FAC(A)’s call for support.

While flying his own airplane and avoiding enemy Surface to Air Missiles (SAMs) and Anti Aircraft Artillery (AAA), the FAC(A) must keep track simultaneously the CAS stack which is made up of different types of aircraft, with many different types of air-to-ground munitions most of the times, and furthermore they have different loiter times, airspeeds and ability to hit targets on the ground.

Moreover the FAC(A) also coordinates army artillery fires. Therefore, it’s a quite busy mission!

The F-16, a fast jet that offers its pilot an impressive visibility, can carry plenty of ordnance, is maneuverable even at low-speed and high AOA (Angle of Attack) and can effectively cooperate with different types of aircraft, is the perfect asset to perform FAC(A) missions.

Another aircraft quite good in the same role is the OA-10 Warthog.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

Another Israeli drone reportedly crashed. In Iraq.

An Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle has just crashed in the vicinity of Baghdad Airport.

According to the FARS News Agency, an Israeli Hermes drone crashed near Baghdad airport on Aug. 27.

It is still not clear whether the UAV was shot down or crashed (for unknown reasons) but, if confirmed, the loss would be the second in less than three days, after another drone, yet to be identified, was allegedly shot down on its way to Natanz nuclear enrichment facility, in the Central parts of Iran.

Even if the FNA has published the image on a Hermes 900 UAV (a High Altitude Long Endurance UAV – with capabilities superior to those of the Hermes 450 – that has had its baptmism of fire during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza) the model involved in the incident is still unknown.

Image credit: Elbit