Tag Archives: AFSOC

Watch this cool video of an AFSOC MC-130J refueling a French combat helicopter at night

The French Air Force has conducted the first night HAAR (Helicopter Air-to-Air Refueling).

The following video shows a 352nd Special Operations Squadron MC-130J refueling French Air Force Airbus Helicopters H225M Caracals from the Escadron d’Hélicoptères (EH) 1/67 Pyrénées, during the night HAAR (Helicopter Air to Air Refueling) qualification flights conducted at the end of February.

French helicopters rely on foreign partners to conduct this peculiar kind of aerial refueling: along with the MC-130Js, the FAF Caracals often train with the Italian KC-130J tankers of the 46^ Brigata Aerea (Air Brigade) from Pisa. The FAF should be able to perform autonomous HAAR once the two ordered KC-130Js will be delivered in 2019.

According to Jane’s, in October 2015, France conducted its first operational HAAR mission, when a Caracal based in N’djamena, Chad, was refueled by a U.S. KC-130J.

H/T Pierre Maneval for the heads-up


Air Force Special OPS plane carrying US Commandos makes “surprise” landing in Libya

A U.S. Air Force C-146A Wolfhound with SOF made an unannounced landing at an airbase in Libya.

Early in the morning on Dec. 14, a C-146A Wolfhound (US military designation of the Do-328), serial number 13097, registration N307EF, operated by the 524th Special Operations Squadron of the 27th Special Operations Wing, U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command, landed at al-Watiyah airbase southwest of Tripoli, Libya.

Interestingly, the aircraft carried a team of armed people wearing civilian clothes: according to some sources they landed at 6 AM on December 14 without any coordination with the local authorities and that’s why they were asked to leave. Although it was later confirmed that they were US SOF (Special Ops Forces) the reason of their “trip” to Libya has yet to be explained.

Moreover, it’s at least weird they somehow posed for photos that appeared on Social Media.

The aircraft could be tracked online flying northbound after the trip, using callsign “Magma 30.”

The C-126A can be frequently tracked online as it flies between Stuttgard and airports in southern Italy, especially Pantelleria, a little Italian island off Tunisia, sometimes used by a U.S. Beechcraft King Air 350ER carrying registration N351DY, the civil version of the MC-12W ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) platform operated by the U.S. Air Force, flying missions over the western Tunisia regions (where jidahist terrorists behind the Bardo Museum attack have been hiding).

Noeworthy, the C-146A flew again towards Libya later on the same day from Pantelleria island.

Top image, screenshot from Flightradar24.com

[Photo] The effect of Florida’s freezing rain on U.S. Air Force AC-130U gunship

Florida is experiencing unusually cold temperature. High winds and freezing rain, brought by a winter storm coated aircraft in a layer of ice.

These images, taken on Jan. 29, 2014, say it all.

Since quite unusual freezing rain and cold temperature have layered Hurlburt Field, Florida, in a thin sheet of ice, icicles formed on a U.S. Air Force AC-130U Spooky gunship’s 25 mm Gatling gun.

AC-130 frozen windshield

If you believe that using the rotary guns (facing down and aft along the plane’s left side) in Northern Europe, or Siberia, might not be a good idea, take a look at how these systems work: a few bursts of rounds through those barrels would take care of the icicles (and of the bad guys on the ground).

AC-130 frozen cockpit

Flight operations at the base are temporarily suspended because of the bad weather.

MC-130 frozen

Image credit: U.S. Air Force


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This photo shows the first combat rescue behind enemy lines in Iraq

The image above was taken from an MH-53J from the 20th Special Operations Squadron, piloted by Capt. Thomas Trask, during the first Combat SAR (Search And Rescue) mission behind the enemy lines since Vietnam.

The combat rescue mission was launched on Jan. 21, 1991 to rescue Lt. Devon Jones, 130 miles into Iraq.

Jones was an F-14 Tomcat pilot from USS Saratoga’s VF-103, who was downed along with RIO (Radar Intercept Officer) Lawrence Slade by a SAM (Surface to Air Missile) over Iraq.

Larry “Rat” Slade endured interrogation, torture and starvation in the Iraqi hands for 43 days.

Image credit: AFSOC


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Special Operations planes used to carry investigative teams to Benghazi as the U.S. prepares to strike. Maybe.

In the last weeks, an unsual, covert, constant activity of U.S. Special Operations planes has been recorded in the Mediterranean Sea. Quite regularly, taking off from Souda Bay, in Crete, various types of “Special Hercules”, including  MC-130Ps, MC-130Hs, HC-130P, and AC-130U gunships, performed day and night missions in the Libyan airspace whose purpose has yet to be fully unveiled.

In the days following the attack on Benghazi diplomatic mission that cost the life of Amb. Stevens, while American Global Hawk and Predator drones tried to pin point the insurgents who attacked the Benghazi consulate, several Special Operations and support planes deployed to the American bases in the area: a move that might be related to an imminent NEO (Non combatant Evacuation Operation) or strike against terrorist camps in North Africa.

The quick response to the emergency situation, that included the positioning of two Tomahawk equipped destroyers off the Libyan coasts, was aimed at ensuring the safe evacuation of the Americans in Libya, that eventually left the country using commercial/chartered planes.

Image credit: Richard Clements

Even if the evacuation was successfully completed without any military action, several of the prepositioned aircraft have remained in theater to carry FBI agents investigating the Sept. 11’s terrorist attack to Benghazi and back (providing security to the teams) and to keep gathering intelligence.

According to the an official who has talked to CNN Security Clearance blog, the Special Ops, drones, and warships deployed in the Mediterranean area “is just part of an undisclosed, multifaceted effort by the Pentagon to position assets off Libya to protect Americans until they could leave Libya, be in position to conduct a military strike if ordered by the president, and collect constant intelligence on possible perpetrators of the attack and the militia movements they may have belonged to.”

This means that security is still a concern in Libya (to such an extent Special Ops planes are used to fly into Benghazi) and that the Joint Special Ops Command is still compiling target packages for military options that could assume the form of Special Operations raids like the one that killed Osama bin Laden or joint missions with Libyan authorities.

Or, even more likely, drone strikes.

But the use of Obama’s weapon of choice could be seen as a violation of the Libyan sovereignty, as in Yemen or Pakistan, and cost a lot in the President’s re-election run.