Tag Archives: aircraft carrier

This fantastic video celebrates the French Super Etendard attack jets that flew for the last time today

A crazy cool clip to say good-bye to the SEM (Super Étendard Modernise).

On Jul. 12, 2016, the French Super Étendard Modernise of the Marine Nationale (French Navy) was retired from active service, 42 years after the subsonic attack jet performed its first flight.

The aircraft, an advanced development of the Étendard IVM that made its maiden flight in October 1974 and entered the active service in June 1978 has taken part to almost all the conflicts that have seen the French Navy participation in the last 40 years: Lebanon, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

During nearly four decades, the jet underwent a series of upgrades: the pure attack Étendard IVMs were retired from French service whilst the SEM became the French Navy’s primary maritime strike and reconnaissance aircraft, capable to deliver PGMs (Precision Guided Munitions).

Along with the French Navy, also Iraq and Argentina operated the Super Étendard in combat: the first used it for maritime attack against oil tankers and merchant shipping during the Iraq-Iran War; the second flew the aircraft as Exocet anti-ship missile platform during the 1982 Falklands War (Malvinas for the Argentine).

The aircraft, that will be replaced by the “omnirole” Rafale M jet, undertook its final carrier launch with the French Navy on Mar. 17, 2016.

The following video shows some cool footage of the SEM at work: PGMs, flares, low-level flying, carrier landing, etc.

Enjoy!

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Terrifying video shows an E-2C Hawkeye almost crashing into the sea after arresting cable snaps aboard USS Eisenhower

This is the worst nightmare for pilots conducting trap landings on an aircraft carrier.

This video was filmed on Mar. 18, 2016 and shows an E-2C Hawkeye performing a trap landing on the flight deck of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.

As the footage shows, the cable used to catch the landing aircraft snapped: you can see the E-2C, slowed down by the #4 wire, continue toward the end of the flight deck, disappear off the flight deck while falling toward the sea before reappearing several seconds later, miraculously managing to gain speed and altitude.

According to the Virginian-Pilot media outlet, U.S. Navy investigators blamed human error and an improperly programmed valve for the incident in which eight sailors were injured.

Aircraft performing for an arrested landing on a carrier apply full throttle immediately after touchdown for two reasons: they may miss the cable or, worst case scenario, the cable might snap. In both cases, the aircraft needs to

Things heat up near South China Sea: two U.S. aircraft carriers, B-52s and EA-18G Growler detachment

The U.S. build-up in the disputed waters of South China Sea continues with bombers, carriers and Electronic Attack planes.

Some interesting photographs have been arriving from the troubled waters of Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

The most recent ones, released on Jun. 18, show the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) carrier strike groups (CSG 3 and CSG 5) crusing close each other during dual carrier flight operations in the Philippine Sea.

Such operations included air combat training, long-range strike training, air defense drills as well as sea surveillance.

The CSG 3, that started operations in the Western Pacific on Feb. 4, consists of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) and guided-missile destroyers of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21, USS Stockdale (DDG 106), USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) and USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110), and the aircraft of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9.

CSG 5, begun its summer patrol of the Indo-Asia Pacific, on Jun. 4, and consists of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), guided-missile cruisers USS Shiloh (CG 67) and USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and guided-missile destroyers from Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), USS McCampbell (DDG 85), USS Benfold (DDG 65); the aircraft of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, is forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan and routinely, patrols the Western Pacific.

According to the U.S. Navy, the CSGs (Carrier Strike Groups) began coordinated operations in international waters to demonstrate “the United States unique capability to operate multiple carrier strike groups in close proximity.”

U.S. Navy aircraft carriers regularly conduct dual carrier strike group operations in the Western Pacific and sometimes also in the South China Sea, East China Sea and Philippine Sea: this occurs when carriers deployed to the 7th Fleet area of operations from the U.S. West Coast are joined with the forward deployed carrier strike group from Japan. When it happens a force of 12,000 sailors, 140 aircraft, six combatants and two carriers operates in the same sea: an impressive “show of force.”

Two carriers in South China Sea

Previously, in Sept. 2012, USS George Washington (CVN 73) and USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) strike groups conducted combined operation in the South China Sea and East China Sea. In 2001, USS Constellation (CV 64) and Carl Vinson operated together in the South China Sea.

A few days before the two carriers started combined operations, a joint service bombing exercise at the targeting island Farallon de Medinilla, an uninhabited small island in the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific Ocean located 45 nautical miles north of Saipan, saw two U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bombers launched from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, fly over USS Spruance (DDG 111) in a maritime attack training sortie.

Along with the two carrier strike groups and the B-52 providing extended deterrence, Washington has also deployed to the Philippines the first temporary detachment of Navy EA-18G Growlers.

The electronic attack aircraft have arrived at Clark Air Base, on Jun. 15. Even though they are officially there to train with the local FA-50, the detachment, made of 4 aircraft and 120 personnel with the Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 138, “will support routine operations that enhance regional maritime domain awareness and assure access to the air and maritime domains in accordance with international law.”

Therefore, the strategical deployment brought not far from the disputed waters in the South China Sea some cutting-edge aircraft capable to perform electronic escort missions on both U.S. ships and spyplanes that are frequently shadowed by Chinese spyplanes or intelligence gathering ships. Furthermore, the Growlers could jam, if needed, the Chinese radars on the Spratly, Paracel, Pratas and the rest of the islands, including those that have been artificially created, decreasing Beijing ability to establish an ADIZ (Air Defense Identification Zone) similar to that in the East China Sea and to support its warplanes in the area.

The presence of (some more…) EA-18Gs could theoretically limit the operations of the Chinese Air Force (PLAAF) and Navy (PLANAF) that, according to “Flashpoint China: Chinese air power and regional security” published by Harpia Publishing and written by Andreas Rupprecht, one of the most authoritative sources on Chinese Air Power, “are able to ensure virtually continuos, round-the-clock aerial coverage and combat air patrols over the area during a crisis or a conflict.”

In particular, the PLANAF is pretty active in the area with a regiment each of H-6 bombers and JH-7 fighter-bombers and no fewer than three regiments of J-11 interceptors covering the South China Sea . “The availability of long-range J-11s and aerial refueling assets implies that much of the SCS [South China Sea] is now de-facto Chinese airspace,” says Rupprecht.

It’s not a coincidence that a recent close encounter in the area involved few weeks ago two Chinese J-11 tactical aircraft that carried out an “unsafe” intercept of a U.S. EP-3E reconnaissance aircraft on a routine mission in international airspace over the South China Sea.

VAQ-138 Clark AFB refuel

The Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 138 is an expeditionary squadron based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington, that has previously taken part in deployments across the region. The Growler detachment comes after a first temporary Air Contingent made of five A-10C Thunderbolt aircraft, three HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters and approximately 200 personnel deployed from multiple Pacific Air Forces units that took part in exercise Balikatan and completed their final mission on April 28, 2016.

Image credit: U.S. Navy

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Join the “Bounty Hunters” of VFA-2 flying the F/A-18F Super Hornet from USS Washington

Here’s another cool, long Naval Aviation video.

The following video was filmed by F/A-18F Super Hornet pilots from the “Bounty Hunters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 2 embarked on the USS George Washington (CVN 73) aircraft carrier in 2015 during the Southern Seas deployment within the U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet AOR (Area Of Responsibility).

The video offers the usual collection of cool footage: air combat, formation flying, low level flying, high and low altitude air-to-air refueling (including “buddy” refueling from another Super Hornet), firing practice and much “condensation clouds” generated during high-g maneuvering.

During the deployment the F/A-18F Super Hornets of VFA-2 took also part in the 56th edition of UNITAS, the U.S. Navy‘s longest annual multinational maritime exercise held in two phases: UNITAS Pacific, hosted by Chile, in October 2015 and UNITAS Atlantic, hosted by Brazil in November 2015.

Enjoy!

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USS Eisenhower entered the Med Sea not to pound Daesh but to test alternative fuel

The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (IKE CSG) supports the Great Green Fleet initiative.

The USS Eisenhower and the ship of its CSG entered the Mediterranean Sea through the Strait of Gibraltar on Jun. 13, 2016.

The IKE CSG consists of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, guided-missile cruisers USS San Jacinto (CG 56) and USS Monterey (CG 61), and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26 with its associated guided-missile destroyers USS Roosevelt (DDG 80), USS Mason (DDG 87), USS Nitze (DDG 94) and USS Stout (DDG 55).

With the arrival of IKE CSG, two are the carrier strike groups operating in the 6th Fleet AOO (Area Of Operations): USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group is also in the Med conducting combat sorties in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the US-led air war on Daesh in Syria and Iraq.

The presence of two flattops demonstrates the mobility, flexibility and power projection capability of the USN as well as Washington’s commitment to safety and security in the region.

However, IKE CSG is not operating in the Med to pound Islamic State targets, at least for the moment: as part of the Great Green Fleet Initiative, which emphasizes use of energy conservation measures as a key combat enabler to allow ships to go farther, stay longer and deliver more firepower, USS Eisenhower will conduct Great Green Fleet operations in Europe. These will involve a multi-day passing exercise (PASSEX) with units of the Italian Navy’s Flotta Verde highlighting energy conservation operations involving refueling at sea (RAS) event during which an Italian oiler will refuel IKE CSG ships with advanced alternative fuel (F76 equivalent).

According to the DoD “the centerpiece of the Great Green Fleet is a Carrier Strike Group (CSG) that deploys on alternative fuels, including nuclear power for the carrier and a blend of advanced biofuel made from beef fat and traditional petroleum for its escort ships. These biofuels have been procured by DON [Department Of Navy] at prices that are on par with conventional fuels, as required by law, and are certified as “drop-in” replacements that require no engine modifications or changes to operational procedures. The CSG also uses energy-efficient technologies and operating procedures referred to as Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) during the course of its normal operations.”

Even though the IKE CSG does not take part in the raids, the Truman is not the only naval aviation force conducting air strikes on Daesh: U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harriers flying from USS Boxer (LHD 4) in the Arabian Gulf joined have joined Operation Inherent Resolve, marking the first naval aviation combat strike missions of OIR launched from Navy warships in two different operational theaters.