Category Archives: Military Aviation

USAF C-17 and C-130 Cargo Aircraft Airlift Troops to Mexican Border in Security Operation Dubbed “Faithful Patriot”

U.S. Mobilizes Over 5,200 Troops to Southern Border in Security Operation.

On Monday, October 29, 2018 the U.S. Air Force released the first video of C-17 Globemaster III and C-130 Hercules tactical transport aircraft deploying with full-time U.S. military troops to the United States/Mexico border in support of Operation Faithful Patriot. The video shows units of the 3rd Airlift Squadron of Dover Air Force Base and 61st Airlift Squadron of Little Rock, Arkansas loading cargo and personnel at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

According to an official statement, U.S. Northern Command General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy told media that Operation Faithful Patriot is deploying regular, full-time U.S. military units to the region, “To harden the southern border”. The arrival of regular military units will augment National Guard units and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol operations already in the southern frontier region.

Units shown in the video include the Headquarters Company of the 89th Military Police Brigade. It is likely the Headquarters Company of the 89th Military Police has been forward-deployed prior to the arrival of other elements of the unit as an advanced party to establish logistics in the region prior to the arrival of the remaining unit.

A USAF C-130 Hercules transport painted with WWII invasion stripes is loaded with personal equipment of troops deploying to the Mexican border. (Photo: USAF Released)

The border region between Mexico and the United States has become increasingly volatile due to an increase in narco-trafficking and illegal immigration. The city of Juarez, Mexico on the U.S./Mexican border has seen a significant spike in narco-insurgent violence. On June 23, 2018 alone, 20 people were killed in a single attack by gunmen. In another narco-insurgent attack in a barber shop that same day, five more people were killed. During the first six months of 2018, over 500 people have been reported killed in narco-insurgent violence in Juarez, which borders the Texas city of El Paso across the Rio Grande River forming a natural buffer zone between the two countries.



According to the local news outlet, “The El Paso Times”, the “Number of monthly deaths have more than doubled from earlier this year” in Juarez.

Statistics tabulated by the Uppsala Conflict Data Program for 2010 showed 2,956 deaths in Mexico in the ongoing narcotics conflicts while that same year 2,158 were reported killed in the civil war in Somalia.

A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol special operations team fast ropes from a CBP UH-60L Blackhawk helicopter in a demonstration of capabilities at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo: Tom Demerly/TheAviationist.com)

Analyst Scott Stewart, Vice-President of Tactical Analysis for Stratfor, the international intelligence think-tank, said in an August 14, 2018 analysis that, “Hot wars among Mexico’s cartel groups are feeding the country’s record number of homicides. The carnage can be found in border towns such as Tijuana, Juarez and Reynosa; in drug production areas such as Guerrero state; at retail drug sales points such as Mexico City and Cancun, and at hot spots for petroleum theft such as Guanajuato”.

The airlift deployment of U.S. regular military troops to the region also coincides with the anticipated arrival of “several thousand” migrants from Honduras, El Salvador and other Central American nations that are moving north through Mexico toward the U.S. border.

The deployment of active military troops to the region during a crisis is not unprecedented. According to a report in the BBC World News on October 29, 2018, “President Barack Obama sent some 1,200 National Guard soldiers to guard the boundary, while President George W Bush deployed about 6,000 troops to help Border Patrol in what was called Operation Jump Start.”

 

Former Royal Air Force C-130J Appears in Royal Bahraini Air Force Colors

This is the first of two RAF Hercules C5 aircraft sold to Bahrain.

Taken at Cambridge airport on Friday Oct. 26, by The Aviationist’s contributor Tony Lovelock, the image in this post shows a RBAF Hercules C5 Amin Flight “702” lining up prior to take of for a 3 hour flight test from Marshall Aerospace Group facilities. The aircraft, that should be delivered to Bahrain this week, was previously Royal Air Force C5 ZH886, one of the ten C-130J Super Hercules Britain decided to withdraw from service after a major defense and security review in 2015.

Two former RAF C-130J cargo aircraft were sold to Bahrain as part of a 30M GBP contract inked in August 2017.  Indeed, there are two Hercules C5 now registered to the Bahrain Amin flight, the other being coded, Amin flight 701, formerly ZH880.

Personnel from the RBAF have completed training at RAF No. 24 Squadron at RAF Brize Norton, UK, earlier this year.



Actually, the export of the two C-130s has been under fire in the UK, since Bahrain is involved in the Saudi-led air campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen and the sale of these aircraft represents, according to Rights Groups an “unequivocal statement of political and military support for the Bahraini regime.”

Top image credit: Tony Lovelock

 

 

“Blackhawk Down” Soundtrack Composer Hans Zimmer Joins “Top Gun: Maverick” Soundtrack.

Iconic Film Score Composer Will Work with Original Soundtrack Composer.

His haunting soundtracks gave “Blackhawk Down”, “Gladiator”, “Dunkirk” and even “The Dark Knight” a musical texture that added drama and suspense to the films. Now master soundtrack composer, Academy and Grammy award-winner Hans Zimmer has been tipped as a contributor to the “Top Gun: Maverick” soundtrack.

The news about the highly anticipated “Top Gun: Maverick” soundtrack was released on Sunday, October 21, when Sandy Schaefer of Hollywood Screen Rant broke the story that iconic soundtrack artist Hans Zimmer will “join forces” with German composer and musician Harold Faltermeyer for the film’s new soundtrack.

Award-winning soundtrack composer Hans Zimmer will contribute to the “Top Gun: Maverick” soundtrack. (Photo: Hans Zimmer via Remote Control Productions)

Co-composer Harold Faltermeyer is one of the original composers of the first “Top Gun” soundtrack along with Giorgio Moroder. Moroder co-wrote the iconic Kenny Loggins theme “Danger Zone” along with Tom Whitlock.

Before Kenny Loggins recorded “Danger Zone” the bands “Toto” and “REO Speedwagon” were both offered the chance to record the song, but both bands declined. Loggins has told entertainment media he will play a role in recording the new film soundtrack for “Top Gun: Maverick”.

Hollywood reporter Sandy Schaefer went on to report that, “It’s safe to assume that Zimmer will aim for something fittingly epic in scale and sound with his “Top Gun: Maverick” score, in order to match the movie’s ambitious high-flying action and aerial sequences. Kosinski’s previous films have all used music to great cinematic effect, starting with Daft Punk’s score for “TRON: Legacy” and continuing on through the director’s collaborations with Joseph Trapanese on “Oblivion” and “Only the Brave”. Zimmer’s involvement likewise assures that the “Top Gun” sequel will impress in the music department, however well (or not) the rest of the movie stacks up by comparison.”



Meanwhile, on the set of the upcoming “Top Gun: Maverick”, photos of Tom Cruise jetting around on his new motorcycle for the film continue to hit entertainment tabloids while grumbling about his film production company and personal trailer taking over space on a military base have leaked in social media.

Hollywood observers are hyping Tom Cruise’s youthful appearance for the movie, suggesting he has not aged much since the original “Top Gun”. Cruise is 56 years old, and will be nearly 58 for the release of “Top Gun: Maverick”. In pilot terms, that is beyond geriatric. A NASA study called “Technical Report 1304” published back in 1993, said that, “the mean age for all selected pilot candidates is 39.90 years old.

The tabloids and Twitter are congratulating Tom Cruise on his fitness for “Top Gun: Maverick” and touting photos of his new motorcycle. (Photo: TomCruiseShare via Twitter)

Top image: file photo of an F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the Gunslingers of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 105 launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike). The Super Hornet is going to be the “guest star” of the Top Gun sequel (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class J. Alexander Delgado/Released)

C-17 Globemaster III Cargo Aircraft Accidentally Drops Humvee Over North Carolina Neighborhood

The incident occurred during a test conducted by soldiers from the Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate.

At around 1 PM LT, a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III, belonging to the 437th airlift wing based at Joint Base Charleston dropped a Humvee over a neighborhood in Harnett County on Oct. 24, 2018.

No one was injured in the incident, caused by an early release of the palletized Humvee, one of the eight the U.S. Air Force cargo aircraft is able to carry and airdrop from its rear ramp, during a special operations training over Fort Bragg drop zone. The aircraft was flying at an altitude of 1,500 feet and the early release occurred about 1 mile from the drop zone.

The C-17 was involved in a heavy drop test conducted by the Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate that tests new equipment and procedures to support the aerial delivery and transportation of military equipment. Just two “items” were aboard the C-17 during the exercise: the Humvee that was prematurely dropped and a “new heavy drop platform”, ABC11 reported.

“Everything went as planned except for the early release,” said Fort Bragg spokesperson Tom McCollum.

Here below you can see how a Humvee airdrop over Fort Bragg looks like from the ramp of a Globemaster III.

Top image: file photo of a HMMWV “Humvee” parachuted to the ground while as C-17 Globemaster III aircraft preparing to drop additional vehicles fly past during an airborne training exercise conducted by the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team Sept. 8, 2011, at Fort Bragg, N.C. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod)

Here Are The Photos Of The Surviving F-22s Being Flown Out Of Tyndall following the aftermath of Hurricane Michael

Recently released photographs show flyable Raptors departing Tyndall to Langley AFB after Hurricane ravaged the key airbase in Florida on Oct. 10, 2018.

Tyndall Air Force Base was heavily damaged earlier this month after the Category 4 storm tore through the base. As Hurricane Michael approached the base, mission capable F-22s assigned to the 325th Fighter Wing were “Hurrevaced” to Wright-Patterson AFB (and later relocated to Joint Base Langley-Eustis).  According the data emerged thus far, at that time 31 percent of 55 Raptors assigned to the unit  were NMC (non-mission capable) and could not be moved away. So they were sheltered in place and consequently damaged: photos of F-22s and QF-16s in Tyndall’s shredded hangars have already made the news after they started circulating social media.

After the first assessment the Air Force’s top leaders said the F-22s that had remained in Tyndall when Hurricane Michael struck were not as badly damaged as originally feared. According to the first reports, as many as 17 aircraft were possibly damaged by Michael. The Air Force has not disclosed yet how many Raptors were exactly damaged and the extent of such damages but the more recent figures point to 10 to 14 Raptors.

“Some F-22s that sustained minor damages will be moved to Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, early next week to join F-22s that were previously moved there,” Military.com’s Oriana Pawlyk reported today. However, photographs released by the DoD in the last few hours show Raptors being flown out of Tyndall by pilots from the 27th Fighter Wing, Joint Base Langly-Eustis, Virginia, on Oct. 21 and 22.

A Pilot from the 27th Fighter Wing, Joint Base Langly-Eustis, Virginia, flies an F-22 Raptor out of Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, Oct. 21, 2018, following the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. Multiple major commands have mobilized relief assets in an effort to restore operations after the hurricane caused catastrophic damage to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Keifer Bowes)

A Pilot from the 27th Fighter Wing, Joint Base Langly-Eustis, Virginia, flies an F-22 Raptor out of Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, Oct. 21, 2018, following the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. Multiple major commands have mobilized relief assets in an effort to restore operations after the hurricane caused catastrophic damage to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Keifer Bowes)

U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors flown by the 27th Fighter Squadron pilots from Langley Air Force Base take off Oct. 22, 2018 from Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. After Hurricane Michael swept the area, multiple major commands have mobilized relief assets in an effort to restore operations after the hurricane caused catastrophic damage to the base. (US Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sean Carnes)

Additional photographs show surviving F-22s being towed to the runway on Oct. 24.

F-22 Raptors are towed to the runway at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, Oct. 24, 2018. Since the Air Combat Command mobilized multiple relief assets, maintainers and crew chiefs have worked around the clock to ensure the Raptors are operational. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Lotz)



This photograph shows five surviving F-22s and the tail numbers of three of these:

F-22 Raptors park on the runway at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, Oct. 24, 2018. Since the Air Combat Command mobilized multiple relief assets, maintainers and crew chiefs have worked around the clock to ensure the Raptors are operational. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Lotz)

Based on these images the following F-22A were in Tydall when Hurricane Michael hit and survived it: 01-4022, 02-4031, 02-4040, 03-4044 and 04-4083.