Monthly Archives: May 2016

Jaw-dropping photographs of U.S. A-10s and F-16s flying over South Korea

Some stunning photographs of the 51st FW based at Osan Air Base.

On May 9, more than 40 aircraft, including 15 A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft with the 25th Fighter Squadron “Draggins” and F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft from the 36th FS “Flying Fiends” with the 51st Fighter Wing, Osan Air Base, South Korea, with some additional F-16 aircraft with the 179th Fighter Squadron “Bulldogs” from the 148th Fighter Wing out of Duluth Air National Guard Base, Minnesota, took part in a cool Elephant Walk exercise at Osan Air Base.

A-10 with F-16s Osan AFB

Few days later, some of the 51st FW A-10s and F-16s took part in an air-to-air photo session with photographer Jake Melampy.

A-10 with F-16s Osan AFB 3

Some of the incredible photographs taken by Melampy from the backseat of an F-16D showing, among the others, mixed formations of Hogs and Vipers, an A-10 firing the 30mm GAU-8 Avenger rotary gun, F-16 releasing flares, etc., were later released by the U.S. Air Force on the Osan Air Force Base image gallery (where you can download the high-rez version of the shots).

A-10 with F-16s Osan AFB 4

A-10 with F-16s Osan AFB 5

Image credit: Jake Melampy / U.S. Air Force


Watch the shock wave move on the wing of MiG-29 Fulcrum as it breaks the sound barrier

This video shows the shock wave of a MiG-29 Fulcrum flying past Mach 1.0 during an Edge of Space flight.

The following was shot by famous aviation video producer Artur Sarkysian for MigFlug, a company that offers fighter jet flying experiences during a Edge of Space mission with their MiG-29 Fulcrum.

Sarkysian attached GoPro cameras to the two-seater Mig-29UB’s outer surfaces in such a way they could withstand speed up to 2450 km/h and a load factor of 9g.

One of these cameras caught the shock wave on the Fulcrum’s wing as the aircraft thundered past Mach 1.0.

The pressure wave is visible in the form of a line that moves over the right wing of the MiG-29 until it disappears behind the aircraft:  when an aircraft passes through the air it creates a series of pressure waves around it similar to the bow and stern waves created by a boat on the water. These waves travel at the speed of sound. As the speed of the aircraft increases, the waves are forced together, or compressed, because they cannot get out of the way of each other. Eventually they merge into a single shock wave, which travels at the speed of sound.

Beware: as mentioned on the Youtube page, the readings of speed on the video are not completely reliable as they are taken by the GoPro camera and not fed by the aircraft instruments. Anyway, at 40.000 feet Mach 1.0 equates to a CAS of 312 kts and a TAS of 573 kts, hence not too far from the IAS calculated by the device.

The characteristic “sonic boom is the sound associated with the shock waves created by an object traveling through the air faster than the speed of sound.







Polish F-16s to get new air-to-surface weapons

Poland wants new weapons for its F-16 Block 52+ jet fighters.

The Armament Inspectorate of the Polish Ministry of Defense plans to acquire new air-to-ground ordnance for the F-16 Block 52+ jets, the backbone of the Polish Air Force.

The organ announced that a technological dialogue procedure has been initiated, the goal of which is to carry out a relevant market analysis and gather the knowledge about the ordnance which could be employed against the ground targets.

According to the official information, the Polish Ministry of Defense is willing to acquire three new types of armament: Anti-Radiation Missiles, submunition canisters and guided penetrating bomb units.

Within all of the areas listed above, the requests for being included in the dialogue procedures are going to be accepted until May 31. 2016.

So far, the Polish F-16 fighters are equipped with Paveway and JDAM bomb units, as well as the JSOW (Joint Stand-Off Weapon) weapons, complemented with free-fall Mk. 8x family bombs, as the Polish ZBiAM outlet reports.

In the next years, the Air Force will also receive the JASSM (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles) cruise missiles – the relevant agreement pertaining to this type of ordnance has already been signed – the contract concluded back in November 2014 assumes that 40 such missiles are going to be acquired.

When it comes to the JASSM missiles “4040” airframe from the Poznan-Krzesiny airbase has recently left Poland and it stays at Edwards Air Force Base, California, undergoing the relevant integration process, along with a Mid-Life Upgrade program (PAF jets will receive the Tape M 6.5 avionics upgrade).

During the summer last year, Orbital ATK company has presented the AGM-88E AAGRM advanced anti-radiation guided missile, during a variety of events, including the Radom Air Show. Currently, the Polish Viper has no ordnance dedicated for SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) operations within its inventory. According to several media outlets, the AAGRM offer is endorsed by the US government.


Image Credit: Jacek Siminski. Top image: David Cenciotti

Flightradar24 exposes the presence of U.S. and allied ISR planes operating over Daesh stronghold in Iraq

Several spyplanes and drones keep an eye on Mosul, ISIS headquarters in northern Iraq.

As our readers know, we’ve been reporting about U.S. and allied planes that can be tracked online during war missions since at least 2011 when, during the opening stages of the Libya Air War, some of the combat planes involved in the air campaign forgot/failed to switch off their mode-S or ADS-B transponder, and were clearly trackable on FR.24 or

Five years later, little has changed and transponders remain turned on during real operations making the aircraft clearly visible to anyone with a browser and an Internet connection, thus breaking OPSEC and exposing aerial refueling tracks or clandestine operations, like those being flown on a daily basis in North Africa, Afghanistan, or Iraq.

For instance, last night as many as three Beech 300 Super King Air aircraft could be tracked while they circled over Mosul while hunting for Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi during ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) missions.


These days, along with the tankers, several quasi-civilian U.S. Army-operated aircraft, including the Pilatus PC-12/45 N56EZ, the Super King Air 300 N80BZ and N166BA and several MC-12W Liberty (the military variant of the B350 King Air).

Like the one, registered N6351V that crash landed near Erbil, Iraq on Mar. 5. In that case, the mishap exposed the fact that the Liberty (just like many other special mission aircraft operating in the same area) sported a non-standard white color scheme  to disguise itself as a light transport plane.


But in spite of its general aviation appearance the aircraft was actually an MC-12W EMARSS (Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System) variant used to perform ELINT (Electronic Intelligence), COMINT (Communication Intelligence), direction finding as well as Full Motion Video broadcasting to the tactical commanders on the ground, for day and night target detection, location, classification and tracking, as well as counter-IED operations.

All these modified aircraft are equipped with EO/IR (electro-optic/infra-red) sensors, aerial precision geolocation system, line-of-sight tactical and beyond line-of-sight communications suites, Distributed Common Ground System-Army (DCGS-A) workstations, and a self-protection suite: much more than a normal general aviation plane….

Beech 300 Super King Air

Another frequent visitors of the skies over Iraq is also a Bombardier Global 6000. According to some ADS-B experts it may be a RAF Sentinel R1, a quite advanced ISR platform that has been extensively used in Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq, or an E-11A, an advanced ultra long-range business jet that has been modified by the U.S. Air Force to accommodate Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) payload.

Whatever it is, needless to say, it can be tracked online on

H/T to @CivilMilAir, Guglielmo Guglielmi, Guido Olimpio, Avi Scharf and Greg Anderson for contributing to this post. Top image credit: via Greg Anderson. Image credit: Rudaw.


Watch this: high-performance take off in a Eurofighter Typhoon

Here’s what a high performance take off from the backseat of one of the world’s most advanced fighters looks like.

On Jan. 28, I had the opportunity to experience the thrill of a 4 vs 3 supersonic training mission of the 9th Gruppo (Squadron) of the Italian Air Force, from the backseat of a Eurofighter Typhoon of the 4th Stormo (Wing) based at Grosseto.

The mission was the final FCR (Full Combat Readiness) check for two pilots of the Squadron and included several scenarios, including BVR (Beyond Visual Range) intercepts, VIDs (Visual Identifications) of the “bogeys”, and some cool old-fashioned WVR (Within Visual Range) air combat.

Flying with Federico, the Commander of the 9th Gruppo, aboard the TF-2000A MM55132/“4-35” of the 9th Gruppo, I was part of the “Red Air,” a flight of three Typhoons that emulated the flying profile and tactics of the “super-maneuverable” Su-30 Flanker.

The mission, a 4 vs 3, was particularly long and demanding, with engagements past M1.0 up to FL460. However, one of the coolest part (at least for this Author) was the high-performance take-off.

We planned to perform a hi-perf take off followed by a RAT (Radar Assisted Trail) climb up to FL310 for the navigation, southbound, towards D115, the large airspace dedicated to this kind of activities located over the Tyrrhenian Sea.

The following footage show the departure of “Dardo 03” (our callsign for that mission): you’ll see the Typhoon accelerate under full afterburner thrust then reach in less than 10 seconds (in spite of the two full underwing drop tanks) the speed 120 knots and rotate. Immediately after retracting the landing gear Federico pulls the stick until reaching a nose-up pitch attitude of 50 degrees over the horizon that we maintained until we reported FL310 inside the Grosseto CTR (Control Zone): the rate of climb is truly impressive.

I’ll post more footage and photos of this flight, for the moment, enjoy the high-performance take off.