Author Archives: David Cenciotti

U.S. B-2 Spirit Stealth Bombers from Whiteman AFB conduct precision airstrike in Libya. Drones perform scene “cleanup”

Two B-2 stealth bombers performed a round-trip mission from CONUS (Continental US) to perform airstrikes on Daesh training camps in Libya. Drones “cleaned-up” the operation firing Hellfires at fighters trying to run to safety.

Two B-2 Spirit stealth bombers from the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base carried out a precision air strike in Libya on Jan. 18, 2017.

According to the information released by the U.S. DoD, the raid was conducted in conjunction with the Libyan Government of National Accord, to wipe out four Daesh camps 45 kilometers southwest of Sirte.

The Spirit dropped 108 precision-guided bombs on the ISIS training camps: along with the Hellfires fired by U.S. drones (most probably MQ-9 Reapers or MQ-1 Predators often reported flying over northern Africa) immediately thereafter to “clean up” the operation, the air strike killed an estimated 85 terrorists according to Fox News who spoke with U.S. defense officials.

This is not the first time the B-2s conduct a Global Strike mission around the globe to attack ground targets in Libya: in March 2011, as happened during Operation Allied Force in 1999, the stealth bombers launched from Whiteman AFB, Missouri and with the support of many tankers along the route dropped 40 conventional bombs on the aircraft shelters at Ghardabiya airbase where no less of 7 LARAF units equipped with Mig-21s, Su-22s, Su-24s, J-21s, Mi-8s and Mi-24s were based.

A B-2 spirit stealth bomber from the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base takes off in support of operations In conjunction with the Libyan Government of National Accord, the U.S. military conducted precision airstrikes Jan. 18, 2017 destroying four Daesh camps 45 kilometers southwest of Sirte. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jovan Banks)

9 Russian and 8 Turkish combat planes carry out the first joint air strike in Syria

The Turkish Air Force and the Russian Aerospace Forces have launched a joint raid against Islamic State targets in the Aleppo province.

Four Su-24Ms, four Su-25s and one Su-34 bomber of the Russian Air Force along with four F-16 and four F-4 jets belonging to the Turkish Air Force have carried out the first joint strike in Syria on Jan. 18: an interesting mix of aircraft for a quite rare COMAO (Combined Air Operation) made of platforms able to perform CAS (Close Air Support), BAI (Battlefield Air Interdiction), S/DEAD (Suppression/Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses) and Strike as well as Air Superiority and Aerial Escort.

The raid aimed at destroying 36 ground targets was previously agreed with Syrian authorities, said Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy, the chief of the Russian General Staff Main Operational Directorate in a briefing in Moscow. Considered that Turkey is a NATO member hence the TuAF regularly trains with other western air forces and that the Russian Aerospace Force jets employ completely different procedures, standards, etc., it would be interesting to know something more about the preparation, coordination and execution of such joint raid.

Anyway, according to the first estimates provided by the Russian high-rank officer, the joint airstrikes near Al-Bab, in the Aleppo province, “have been highly effective.”

The raid came amid a nationwide ceasefire in Syria which came into effect on Dec. 30 and, according to the analysts, was in support of Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield, launched on Aug. 24, 2016 to clear the Syrian border town of Jarabulus and the surrounding area from Daesh terrorist group with the support of the FSA (Free Syria Army) and US-led coalition planes.

Al-Bab is one of Daesh’s last remaining strongholds near the Turkish border; the help of the Russians seems to be essential to prevent the Syrian Kurds from taking it.

The crisis between Moscow and Ankara that followed the downing of the Russian Air Force Su-24 by a TuAF F-16 on Nov. 24, 2015, seems decades away.

Image credit: Russia MoD

 

Salva

This VFA-131 cruise video includes rare ATFLIR view of a Russian Flanker encountered during anti-ISIS mission

VFA-131 Operation Inherent Resolve Cruise Video includes rare footage of Russian Flanker (and Iranian F-4 Phantom) encountered by the U.S. Navy Hornets.

The footage below is not the usual USN Squadron cruise video.

Indeed, along with the standard carrier launch, recovery, air-to-air refueling, high-g maneuvering stuff that you can find in all these videos, this one from VFA-131 also contains some pretty rare footage filmed during the cruise aboard USS Eisenhower in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, in Syria and Iraq.

In particular, a close encounter with a RuAF Flanker, most probably a Su-35S Flanker-E from Hymeim airbase near Latakia. Filmed by the Hornet’s AN/ASQ-228 Advanced Targeting Forward-Looking Infrared (ATFLIR) pod, a multi-sensor, electro-optical targeting pod, incorporating thermographic camera, low-light television camera, target laser rangefinder/laser designator, the IR footage shows the Russian aircraft carrying only one R-77 RVV-SD (on the starboard wing’s inner pylon) and two R-27 air-to-air missiles.

Noteworthy, talking to the WSJ, a U.S. Air Force official has recently claimed that Russian planes regularly fly too close to U.S. fighter jets, risking collision in the crowded skies above Syria. According to Air Force Brig. Gen. Charles Corcoran, commander of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, Russian pilots fail to emit identifying signals on the agreed hotline during flights, adding to confusion in the air, an allegation that is refuted by the Russia’s Defense Ministry.

Moreover, there’s some interesting dogfight with a French Rafale (at 09:38 and 11:57) and (at 09:01) another close encounter, with an F-4 Phantom, most probably an Iranian one met over the Gulf.

Here below you can find a screenshot showing the Phantom.


And here’s the full video.

Enjoy!

 

Thai Gripen jet crashes during airshow in Thailand

A Royal Thai Air Force JAS-39 Gripen has crashed in Thailand. Pilot dead.

On Jan. 14, at 09.27 LT, a RTAF JAS-39 Gripen crashed at Hat Yai Airport, Thailand, during an airshow for Thailand’s national Children’s Day.

The 35-year-old pilot who was flying the Swedish-made jet did not eject and died in the incident.

Footage of the accident shows the Gripen starting a slow aileron roll; once inverted, the aircraft fails to complete the maneuver, stops rolling and takes a nosedive crashing near the airfield’s runway.

Thailand purchased 12 JAS-39C/D Gripen multirole jets in 2008, at a cost of about 70M USD apiece.

Salva

Check Out This Mind-Blowing Photo Of A CV-22 Osprey Tilt-Rotor aircraft at Night

This photo is really awesome. And here’s what makes it so spectacular.

The photo above shows a CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft performing a routine formation flight while en route to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., Jan. 9, 2017.

The 1st Special Operations Wing conducted a flyover for the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship game featuring the Clemson Tigers versus Alabama Crimson Tide.

The photograph is made particularly awesome by the Osprey’s typical glowing rotor tips.

Indeed, to help at night during formation flights as well as on the ground to show personnel the position of the blades and guide them to the safe areas and to the ramp, the tilt-rotor aircraft have two NVG (Night Vision Goggle) compatible dual-mode LED “tip lights” on the end of each rotor blade whose brightness can be controlled by the aircrew.

Once the rotor is working, such tip lights create a virtual disk, that make the tilt-rotor aircraft visible in the darkness.

Impressive isn’t it?

Image credit: U.S. Air Force