Monthly Archives: October 2015

Impressive previously unreleased footage shows how two F-14 Tomcats shot down two Gaddafi’s MiG-23s

Watch the full declassified footage of the second Gulf of Sidra Incident.

After two F-14As from VF-41 Black Aces shot down two Su-22 Fitters on Aug. 19, 1981, the Tomcat faced again LARAF (Libyan Arab Republic Air Force) fighters on Jan. 4, 1989, when two jets from VF-32 Swordsmen shot down a pair of MiG-23 Floggers.

In the following video you can see, for the very first time, the whole dogfight, including previously unreleased (at least not available on the Web) footage.

The air-to-air combat occurred during a freedom of navigation exercise conducted by Sixth Fleet off the Libyan coastline.

The two VF-32 F-14s, BuNo. 159610, call sign “Gypsy 207” flown by Swordsmen skipper Commander Joseph B. Connelly and by Commander Leo F. Enwright as Radar Intercept Officer (RIO) and BuNo. 159437, call sign “Gypsy 202″ crewed by Lieutenant Hermon C. Cook III and Lieutenant Commander Steven P. Collins as RIO, were flying Combat Air Patrol (CAP) from USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67), when an E-2C detected the two MiGs taking off from Bumbah air base.

The Floggers, heading towards the U.S. Navy jets, were picked by the F-14s’ AN/AWG-9 radar at a distance of 72 miles.

As proved by the radio communications between the aircrews involved in the engagement, the VF-32 fighters performed avoidance maneuvers for five times to avoid confrontation, but the LARAF aircraft matched their turns every time.

Then at 6 minutes and 27 seconds in the footage, at a range of 12.9 miles you can hear Gypsy 207 calling for a “Fox One” shot, meaning that he has just fired a Sparrow which, probably because of a guidance problem, misssed the target. The F-14s and MiGs continued to move closer until, at 6 minutes and 37 seconds in the video, Gypsy 202 fired another Sparrow at a distance of about ten miles against the same Flogger, destroying it.

At 7 minutes and 21 seconds the clip shows that, with the remaining Flogger now in their eyeballs, Connelly and Enwright took advantage of their action to get back of the MiG-23 calling for a “Fox Two” shot  (referring to the launch of a Sidewinder) at 7 minutes and 36 seconds. Noteworthy at 7 minutes and 44 seconds the missile hit the second Flogger downing it.

The two Libyan pilots managed to eject at the last minute ending the engagement.

Here you find the full story of the aerial combat. Chunks of the footage were released by the DoD shortly after the incident.

Image credit: U.S. Navy

Interesting bomb bay video shows Russian Tu-160 strategic bomber dropping KH-555 cruise missile

Something you don’t see too often.

Filmed from inside the bomb bay of a Russian Air Force Tu-160 Blackjack, the video below, released by the Russian MoD, shows the strategic bomber launching what appear to be a KH-555 air-launched cruise missile.

The KH-555 is a conventionally armed variant, with an improved guidance system and warhead, of the KH-55 (NATO reporting name AS-15 “Kent”), a cruise missile with a range of up to 2,500 km (1,350 nm) (and ability to carry nuclear warheads).

AgustaWestland AW609 tilt-rotor prototype aircraft crashes in Italy killing two test pilots

An AW609 has crashed today killing two pilots.

An AgustaWestland AW609 prototype has crashed near Santhià, in northwestern Italy, killing two test pilots on Oct. 30.

The tilt-rotor aircraft had taken off from Agusta’s airfield at Vergiate and the cause of the crash is still unknown.

According to the first reports the aircraft was in fire before it crashed into the ground.

The AW609 is a twin-engined next-gen tiltrotor VTOL aircraft: like the V-22 Osprey it is capable of taking off and landing vertically as a “normal” helicopter while having a range and speed in excess of conventional rotorcraft. The AW609 is aimed at civil aviation (both private and commercial operators), government and para-public roles: with space for 9 passengers it’s a multi-role aircraft that can be configured for passenger transport, search and rescue, law enforcement, maritime surveillance, training and government applications.

Image credit: AgustaWestland

 

Here are some stunning photos of Israeli Air Force’s largest ever international exercise

Blue Flag exercise in Israel gathered combat planes from Poland, Greece and U.S.

Blue Flag 2015 is the biggest aerial exercise in the history of the Israeli Air Force.

Kicked off on Oct. 18 and continuing through Nov. 3, the Blue Flag drills gathered to Ovda airbase, near Eilat, in southern Israel, combat planes from the U.S., Poland and Greece involved in a series of missions that saw them fight a fictional enemy through nearly all the airspace over Israel (condensation trails of the aircraft taking place in the exercise could be seen even from Tel Aviv).

Top formation

The Hellenic Air Force took part in the exercise with five F-16C/D Block 52+ jets (from 337 Sq., based at Larissa), the same type of aircraft deployed to Israel by the Polish Air Force. The U.S. Air Force brought to Ovda six F-15C belonging to the 493 FS from RAF Lakenheath, UK. All these assets joined the local squadrons of F-15 Baz, F-16C/D Barak, F-16I Sufa and the about-to-be-retired F-16A Netz aggressors.

Over Dead Sea

Although little more is known about Blue Flag, the IAF has released some cool shots showing the aircraft flying over the Dead Sea and the Negev Desert as well as on the ground at Ovda airbase.

F-16I Israeli Air Force

F-15C 493FS

Polish Air Force F-16 landing

F-16I landing

Greek Air Force F-16

Image credit: Israeli Air Force

 

Two Russian TU-142 Bears fly close to USS Reagan that launches four (armed) Hornets in response

Interesting close encounter off the Korean peninsula.

On Oct. 27, USS Ronald Regan, sailing in international waters east of the Korean peninsula, had to scramble four F/A-18 Hornets after two Russian Navy Tu-142 Bear aircraft flew within a nautical mile of the U.S. Navy nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

The four Navy Hornets escorted the Tu-142, an ASW (anti-submarine warfare) variant of the iconic Tu-95 Bear strategic bomber, away from the U.S. warship.

This is not the first time a Russian warplane buzzes a U.S. flattop: in 2008, USS Nimitz operating in the Pacific had to launch some Hornets to intercept and escort two Tu-95s approaching the carrier.

More recently, in April 2014, a Su-24 Fencer flew multiple passes at 500 feet above sea level, within 1,000 yards of the USS Donald Cook, the U.S. Navy destroyer operating in the Black Sea at that time: a behaviour that the ship commander considered “provocative and inconsistent with international agreements.”

On Mar. 3, 2015, Russian Su-30s and Su-24s aircraft from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet based in Crimea conducted attack runs on NATO warships operating in the Black Sea “to practice penetrating anti-air systems.”

Image credit: U.S. Navy