Category Archives: Military Aviation

Take a seat in the cockpit of one of the last USAF F-4 Phantoms as it arrives at Oshkosh airshow

Helmet camera provides a unique point of view of the arrival at the 2016 EAA AirVenture airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, of one of the last U.S. Air Force F-4s.

Two of the just twenty remaining Phantoms in the U.S. Air Force, have taken part in EAA AirVenture airshow.

Flying from Holloman Air Force Base, NM, the two QF-4s performed two flyovers and one low approach before landing.

Thanks to AirshowStuff and a camera attached to the pilot’s helmet, you can experience the classy arrival of the Phantoms from inside the cockpit of the leading QF-4.

The last operational F-4 flight took place in April 1996; after the retirement from the active service, the Phantom continued to serve in the target drone role. Unfortunately even this kind of mission is coming to an end and the two Phantoms that took part in the Oshkosh airshow, serving as full-scale aerial targets with the 82nd Aerial Target Squadron, Det. 1, are going to be shot down during testing within the next 6 months…

QF-4s are being replaced by QF-16s.

Here’s footage filmed from the ground:

H/T Giulio Cristante for the heads-up.

Top image credit: AirshowStuff

These fantastic photos show the shockwaves generated by bullets fired by an F-5E Tiger

The photos in this post are really impressive!

Axalp Ebenfluh is a famous firing range located near Meiringen air base.

From 1942, once a year, the Swiss Air Force (Schweizer Luftwaffe) opens the range to the public during the firing activities carried out by the Swiss combat planes: formations of F-5E Tiger and F/A-18 Hornet jets engage the range for the practice shooting sessions in front of photographers from all around the world.

The two photos in this post (that some of you may have already seen) were taken by Polish photographer Andrzej Rogucki at the Axalp range in Switzerland during one of such sessions in 2012. They show Swiss Tigers firing the two M39A2 cannon, 20 mm caliber single-barreled revolver cannon originally developed for the U.S. Air Force in the late 1940s (!), one on either side of the F-5’s nose.

What is really cool about these shots is that Rogucki was able to catch the bullets fired by the F-5E and the conical shockwaves generated by the bullets travelling at supersonic speed (1/3200s shutter speed at 1000mm).

F-5 Swiss Air Force shockwave

Image credit: Andrzej Rogucki

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From the cockpit: A-10 performs an austere landing at Delmar Lake Bed

Watch this cool GoPro footage of the A-10 Thunderbolt performing landing on a dry lake bed near Alamo, Nevada.

The following video shows an A-10C Thunderbolt II from the 190th Fighter Squadron at Gowen Field, Idaho, taking off from Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada and proceeding to an austere landing site at Delmar Lake Bed near Alamo, Nevada on Jan 26, 2016.

Warthog pilots from the 190th FS performed landings during both day and night sorties to qualify on the unique ability of the A-10 to use unimproved surface landing strips.

A-10 Thunderbolts belonging to all the U.S. Air Force units perform this kind of training, usually with  support of Special Tactics Squadrons that provide air traffic control at the landing strip: this kind of training is used to validate procedures used when operations occur from within a denied territory, where there is no established landing zone under friendly control.

Enjoy!

Turkish “Anatolian Eagle 2016” exercise retrospective

Less than two months before the failed coup, the Turkish Air Force hosted its traditional medium-scale high-tech exercise at Konya airbase, in Anatolia.

Held at Konya, in central Anatolia, south of Ankara, Turkey, Exercise Anatolian Eagle, is a very well-known series of exercises hosted by the Turkish Air Force three times a year (with one edition open to allied air forces) and attended each year by several foreign air arms. It is inspired by the U.S. Red Flag and Maple Flag series, the aim of which is to train fighter pilots for the first few days of a modern conflict.

The exercise provides the participating Turkish and foreign nations air forces an interesting opportunity to perform joint combat training in real-world scenarios that include Combined Air Operations (COMAOs) on tactical and strategic targets defended by Aggressors aircraft and Surface to Air Missile (SAM) threats of all types.

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The latest AE took place between May 24 and Jun. 9 and saw the involvement of about 55 Turkish combat planes, including F-16C/Ds from the 132, 141, 151, 152, 161, 162, 182 and 191 Filo (Squadron) and 8 F-4E-2020 Phantoms belonging to the 111 Filo; as well as 6 Tornado (IDS and ECR) of the Italian Air Force, six F-16AM/BM of the 11 Squadron “Arrows” of the Pakistani Air Force, a unit with a multi-role task that serves also as the Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) of the Viper; and 8 Tornado IDSs from the RSAF (Royal Saudi Air Force) 11 Wing.

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The focus of the latest edition of AE was dynamic and time-sensitive targeting, as well as close-air support missions, types of missions that are part of the ATOs (Air Tasking Orders) of most of the real combat operations conducted by all the participating air forces: the TuAF against the Kurdish PKK separatists, the Saudi against Houthi rebels in Yemen and the Pakistani against militants in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, whereas the Italians support Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIS (previously with the Tornado IDSs and currently with AMX ACOLs) although the ItAF jets perform reconnaissance missions only. Interestingly, among the aircraft that the Italians flew to Konya there were also three Tornado ECR, that are highly-specialised aircraft capable to perform SEAD/DEAD (Suppression/Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses) tasks.

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As happened in the previous years, the AE attracted thousands of aircraft spotters and media representatives, eager to take some cool shots of the aircraft (including some rather “exotic” ones) taking part in the exercise. Among them, there was Remo Guidi, who took the photographs you can find in this post.

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It’s not clear what role Konya airbase and some of its officers played in the failed coup on Jul. 15-16. There are still many conflicting reports about the air operations over Turkey in the night of the attempted military takeover. For sure, some TuAF officers, including the base operations commander, were arrested on Jul. 17 under suspiction of being involved in the coup attempt.

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Konya is an important base, the headquarters of the Anatolian Eagle Training Center Command, that plans, organizes and conducts the AE drills and has the important role of testing and validating TuAF’s aircraft and units’ ability and preparedness for combat, establishing a background knowledge to achieve the military aims at war in the shortest time and with minimum effort. In simple words, Konya is where tactics are developed and put to test.  Moreover, it hosts the 131 Filo, the squadron that operates the E-7T (B737AEW&C); 132 Filo that flies the F-16C/D Block 50; 135 Filo, equipped with AS532AL, CN235M-100 and UH-1H helicopters and it is the homebase of the Turkish Stars, the TuAF display team.

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Image credit: Remo Guidi

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Pakistani F-16C/D Block 52+ jets enroute to Green and Red Flag in the U.S. perform stopover at Lajes Field

Pakistani Air Force F-16s are in bound Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

On Jul. 19, six Pakistani AF F16C/D Block 52+ combat jets landed at Lajes Field, Azores, along with two USAF KC-135R Stratotanker aerial refuelers from McConnell AFB.

The aircraft, belonging to the n° 5 Squadron “Falcons” of the PAF, were in bound to U.S. where they will take part in the Green Flag and Red Flag exercises at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

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The aircraft are deploying to the U.S. (a trip of +7,700 miles) via Saudi Arabia, Souda Bay (Crete), Lajes (Portugal).

This is the second time the PAF Vipers take part in a Red Flag: the very first time was in 2010.

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Image credit: APS-Associação Portugal Spotters

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