Author Archives: David Cenciotti

Join U.S. Air Force A-10 Warthogs Firing Rockets And Using 30mm Gun During Red Flag Alaska

Here’s some cool BRRTTTTT…..

Taken on Jun. 21, 2018 the following video shows A-10 Warthogs from the 190th Fighter Squadron and 25th Fighter Squadron fire 2.75″ rockets and 30mm ammunition during a live fire exercise at Red Flag Alaska June 11-21, 2018 near Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.

The video is pretty short and along with some cool cockpit footage it gives a pretty good idea about what the sound of a GAU-8 Avenger 30 mm hydraulically driven seven-barrel Gatling-type gun looks like. “It’s a highly-accurate point-and-shoot weapon that grants our pilots superior firepower and flexibility in a close-combat ground fight,” Lt. Col. Bryan T. France, an A-10 pilot and former 74th FS commander, told us.

Red Flag Alaska provides large force employment training in a simulated combat environment utilizing multi-national forces and gives allied nations the ability to work with one another in a realistic training environment.

U.S. Air National Guard video by Tech. Sgt. John Winn

Japan Air Self-Defence Force Unveils New Special Colored F-4EJ Phantom at Hyakuri

Here’s a brand new special Phantom from JASDF.

Japan’s Air Force 302 Hikotai (Tactical Fighter Squadron) of the 7th Air Wing of the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force based at Hyakuri Air Base in the Ibaraki Prefecture of Japan plans to move to Misawa in February next year. At that time, the squadron, that has already started retiring its Phantoms, will start operations with the F-35A Lightning II 5th generation aircraft.

Until then, 302 Hikotai will continue to operate with the F-4EJ “Kai” (“extra”) variant, a modernized version of the original F-4EJ that features among the other things, the AN/APG-66J pulse-Doppler radar, a Kaiser HUD (Head Up Display), an AN/APZ-79 IFF system, as well as the ability to carry an AN/ALQ-131 advanced multimode electronic countermeasures pod and to launch the AIM-7E/F Sparrow and the AIM-9L/P Sidewinder AAMs (air-to-air missiles).

But before moving to Misawa, the unit has prepared a new special painted Phantom (07-8428) that was unveiled to the public with a post on Twitter on Jul. 3. The aircraft sports a large red bird on a white background as well as the traditional bird badge of the 302 on the tail (that is a very stylised representation of the Hikotai number: head and body being the ‘3’, the white tail ‘0’ and the blue wings the ‘2’)

On Dec. 2, 2018, Hyakuri Airbase will celebrate the end of the 302 Hikotai’s operations with the F-4 with an airshow.

Beginning next year, the JASDF will operate only two Phantom squadrons at Hyakuri: 301 Hikotai with F-4EJs and 501 Hikotai with a variety of RF-4E and RF4EJ used in the reconnaissance role. The last flight of a “Samurai” Phantom should be in March 2021.

Image credit: JASDF/302th TFS

Journalist Risks Decapitation By Azerbaijan’s Mi-24 Gunship Helicopter While Presenting A Promotional Report

Too close for comfort.

A reporter with the Russian The Caucasus Post media outlet risked being decapitated while filming a news segment featuring some low-flying Mi-24 helicopters in anticipation of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces.

The scene speaks for itself: you can crearly see the journalist presenting her report from the runway as several Hind gunships fly close to her. As many as 14 Mi-24s can be seen in the footage with the second one literally buzzing the journalist with the stub wing endplate missile pylon missing her head by a few inches…

Take a look:

Brave or reckless journalism? You judge.

Image credit: The Caucasus Post/Youtube

 

VUP-19 DET PM MQ-4C “Triton” Drone Performs First Flight From NBVC Point Mugu

U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C “Triton” belonging to the Unmanned Patrol Squadron One Nine (VUP-19) DET Point Mugu conducted first flight from Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) Point Mugu.

On Jun. 27, VUP-19 DET Point Mugu launched its first MQ-4C “Triton” UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) from Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) Point Mugu.

Based on the photographs released by the U.S. Navy, the drone that carried out the first sortie is MQ-4C #168461, one of the two Tritons assigned to the unit (the other being the example #168460 that, at the end of May, sported high-rez tail markings).

The U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C “Triton” Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) is an ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) platform that will complement the P-8A Poseidon within the Navy’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force family of systems: for instance, testing has already proved the MQ-4C’s ability to pass FMV (Full Motion Video) to a Poseidon MPA (Maritime Patrol Aircraft). An advanced version than the first generation Global Hawk Block 10, the drone  it is believed to be a sort of Block 20 and Block 30 Global Hawk hybrid, carrying Navy payload including an AN/ZPY-3 multi-function active-sensor (MFAS) radar system, that gives the Triton the ability to cover more than 2.7 million square miles in a single mission that can last as long as 24 hours at a time, at altitudes higher than 10 miles, with an operational range of 8,200 nautical miles.

Navy pilots from VX-1 and VUP-19 flew the MQ-4C from NBVC Point Mugu during the first flight of the Triton.

Interestingly, the first flight of a VUP-19 MQ-4C from NBVC PM was chased by a MQ-8B Fire Scout from VTUAV (vertical take-off and landing tactical unmanned air vehicle) DET Point Mugu.

An MQ-8B follows the MQ-4C Triton during its first flight from NBVC.

The U.S. Navy plans to procure 68 aircraft and 2 prototypes. VUP-19 DET PM has recently achieved an Early Operational Capability (EOC) and prepares for overseas operations:  as alreadt reported, Point Mugu’s MQ-4Cs are expected to deploy to Guam later in 2018, with an early set of capabilities, including basic ESM (Electronic Support Measures) to pick up ships radar signals, for maritime Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance mission.

The Triton is expected to reach an IOC (Initial Operational Capability) in 2021, when two additional MQ-4Cs will allow a 24/7/365 orbit out of Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.

Image credit: U.S. Navy

 

Here Are The First Photographs Of U.S. Air Force C-17 and Marine Corps KC-130J Operating From New U.S. Airfield in Northern Syria

U.S. Air Forces Central Command has just released some photographs from an “undisclosed location”: geolocation proves they are the first from a recently-built airbase in northern Syria.

CENTCOM has just published some interesting photographs of U.S. assets supporting Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve. In particular, the images depict U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III and U.S. Marine Corps KC-130J operating from an austere runway at what the official captions refer to as an “undisclosed location”.

Here is one of those images:

A U.S. Marine Corps C-130 Hercules departs from an undisclosed location, June 22, 2018. The C-130 transported personnel and supplies to another location in the area of operations in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR). In conjunction with partner forces, CJTF-OIR’s mission is to defeat ISIS in designated areas of Iraq and Syria and set conditions to increase regional stability. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Corey Hook)

However, the new images, taken between Jun. 20 and 23, 2018 and released by CENTCOM Public Affairs earlier today, were immediately geolocated by the OSINT investigator and famous Twitter user Samir (@obretix).

Therefore, those you can find in this post are, to our knowledge, the very first photographs showing operations at a new U.S./Coalition military base in Syria’s northeastern province of Al-Hasakah whose construction works were exposed by OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) analysis of satellite pictures in 2017 and completion appeared to be imminent or just finished at the end of April 2018:

 

Another U.S. airfield is located in northern Syria: Sarrin. The base was built in 2016 and the first aircraft appeared to operate from there in July 2017. Here below you can find a tweet with some recent images from there:

Noteworthy, the images released today of the operations at the new airfield in Syria show an interesting KC-130J. This airframe (serial 167110), whose main role is to act as an aerial refueler, has a pretty career: back in 2010, the aircraft deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, and was fitted with what was been dubbed the Harvest Hawk weapons system. Along with the traditional air-to-air refueling, and cargo and troop transportation tasks, the KC-130J from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 out of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California carried out several Close Air Support missions earning many mission markings firing AGM-114K and Griffin missiles.

A U.S. Marine Corps C-130J Hercules flies over an undisclosed location after departure, June 22, 2018. The C-130 was transporting personnel and supplies to another location in Combined Joint Task Force’s area of operations. The KC-130J Hercules supports expeditionary operations by providing air-to-air refueling, rapid ground refueling and logistic support to operating forces. Tactical transportation of personnel or cargo includes aerial delivery or austere landing zone operations. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Corey Hook)

H/T @obretix for the help in writing this article