Monthly Archives: December 2015

Interesting picture shows a fully armed RAF Typhoon participating in ISIS air war during AAR

RAF Eurofighter Typhoons have joined the service Tornados in air strikes against the Islamic State.

Taken on Dec.22, 2015 from the boom position aboard a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker belonging to 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron (EARS), this interesting photo shows a fully armed Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 as it receives fuel over Iraq.

It is one of the first ever taken to a RAF Eurofighter performing a mission in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the air campaign conducted against ISIS: interestingly the aircraft carries 4x Paveway IV bombs, along with 4 AIM-120 and 2 ASRAAM air-to-air missiles.

Deployed to reinforce the RAF contingent at Akrotiri, Cyprus, from Dec. 3, 2015, the Typhoon is actually a multirole aircraft, even if (unlike the Tornado GR4 attack jets) it can only carry Paveway LGBs. In fact Brimstones and Storm Shadows are pending integration in the following years, before the retirement of the RAF Tonkas from active service.

Image credit: Staff Sgt. Corey Hook / U.S. Air Force

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Unique photographs show U.S. F-15E carrying B61 JTA mock nuclear bombs during tests at Nellis AFB

You don’t happen to see an aircraft carrying two dummy nuclear bombs.

As we reported in July 2015, the U.S. Air Force is conducting a series of test drops, in Nevada, of the latest LEP (Life-Extention Program) upgrade to the B61 line of nuclear weapons: the B61-12.

These tests involve F-15E Strike Eagles of the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron, as shown in the accompanying photos taken in the early morning hours of Oct. 20 by The Aviationist’s contributor Eric Bowen.

F-15E nuke take off
As you can see the F-15E carries two bright orange B61-12 Joint Test Assemblies (JTA) as it is leaving Nellis AFB: noteworthy, the two devices are not quite identical to one another both in overall color pattern, and more interestingly, the tips of each JTA appears to be different.

As Bowen reported in an email to The Aviationist, the Strike Eagle and its unarmed chase plane returned to Nellis AFB approximately 2 hours later with only 1 of the dummy bombs still on board.

F-15E nuke landing
The Life Extension Program or LEP, will replace the B61 -3, -4, -7, and -10 mods, with the -12 that, along with the B83, will become the only remaining gravity delivered nukes in the inventory.

The LEP increases the B61’s accuracy so much that it will have the same capability against hardened targets as the much more powerful weapons it is replacing.

Image credit: Eric Bowen

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Turkish and Greek fighters engage in dogfight over the Aegean Sea

According to Greek media outlets, Greek and Turkish jets engaged in a brief dogfight over the Aegean Sea after Turkish aircraft violated Greek airspace “several times.”

As we already explained in the aftermath of the Russian Su-24 shootdown by a Turkish Air Force (TuAF) F-16 over the Syria-Turkey border last month, the skies surrounding the disputed islands of the Aegean Sea are often the theater of incidents between the HAF (Hellenic Air Force) and the TuAF.

In fact Greece claims 10 miles of air space around a chain of Greek islands lined up along the Turkish west coast, part of those are in very close proximity to the mainland, while Turkey recognizes only six miles (that is to say the extent of the Greek territorial waters, recognized by each other): even though the Greek authorities often report unauthorised military flights directly over the Greek islands, the majority of the close encounters and alleged violations (2,244 in 2014) take place within the four-mile radius between the boundary of the territorial waters (as said, recognized by both parties) and the 10-mile radius which Athens considers its sovereign airspace (while Ankara considers international one).

The latest such incidents (the first since early December) occurred on Dec. 29.

According to Ekathimerini.com, Greek and Turkish jets engaged in a brief dogfight over the Aegean Sea after a formation of six Turkish aircraft “flanked by two CN-235 aircraft that were not in formation” violated Greek national air space nine times.

Noteworthy, two Turkish jets were armed.

It’s not clear where the violations took place but according to the Greek media the TuAF jets were chased by HAF interceptors in all cases.

In the past some of these mock dogfights did not end well. In Jun. 1992 a Greek Mirage F1 crashed during an aerial engagement with a Turkish F-16. In February 1995, a TuAF F-16 crashed after being intercepted by Greek Mirage F1s. In Oct. 1996, a HAF Mirage 2000 fired an R.550 Magic II and shot down a Turkish F-16D that had violated the Greek airspace.

On May 23, 2006, two HAF F-16s intercepted a TuAF RF-4 escorted by two F-16s: the subsequent dogfight resulted in a midair collision between a TuAF F-16 and a HAF F-16: whilst the Turkish pilot ejected safely, the Greek pilot died in the incident.

Image credit: Alan Wilson / Wiki. H/T Isaac Alexander for the heads-up

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Here’s why the U.S. Navy recovered this F/A-18F Super Hornet wreckage from the sea

These photos show that also an aircraft wreckage can be useful to avoid future incidents.

Taken on Jul. 22, 2015 the following interesting pictures feature U.S. Navy Divers and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians, assigned to Commander, Task Group (CTG) 56.1, successfully salvaging an F/A-18F Super Hornet lost at sea aboard USNS Catawba (T-ATF 168).

Noteworthy this aircraft was lost because of a mechanical failure suffered by one of its engines and its salvage will allow a close inspection on the engine that failed.

This F/A-18F (AB 210, BuNo 166814) was assigned to the “Fighting Checkmates” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 211 and crashed in the Arabian Gulf on May 12, 2015 shortly after its launch from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71).

The aircrew ejected safely and was recovered by USS Theodore Roosevelt search and rescue personnel.

Image credit: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Arthurgwain L. Marquez / U.S. Navy

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Scary Video shows what landing on an aircraft carrier at night (with an electrical failure) looks like

All you can see is pitch black!

This impressive video was shot years ago from the cockpit on an A-6 Intruder about to land on USS Carl Vinson in the Indian Ocean.

A night carrier trap landing is always a challenging task, even more so if a generator failure occurs during the approach.

Here’s how the author explains what is shown in the footage:

“The dimly lit ship is barely a speck in the night at about three miles (time 1:22). Warning tones are (1) radar altimeter (set to 1200′ and 375′) and (2) a rapid warning tone from the radar altimeter due to a generator failure. LSO [Landing Signal Officer] calls for “Wing lights,” which were lost due to the electrical malfunction (unknown to LSO). Expeditious emergency procedures for an electrical failure to regain lost electrical buses were completed while performing demanding tasks involved in landing a jet aboard the pitching deck of an aircraft carrier at night.”

H/T to our reader “brightlight” for the heads-up

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