E-2C Hawkeye Night Carrier Landing from the cockpit. With radio comms.
The following video was filmed on Apr. 16, 2013, and shows a night (let’s say a sunset) carrier arrested landing by a VAW-121 E-2C Hawkeye’s pilot at his last night trap with the squadron.
The video is particularly interesting as it includes radio comms (both with the ship and Landing Signal Officers), the PLAT (Pilot Landing Aid Television) from about a mile to the touchdown.
The PLAT system gives a hint of the horizontal visibility on the flight deck and the “C” (or flashing “F”) in the upper screen of the PLAT is for “Clear” deck, or “Foul” deck, whereas the “W” in the bottom would mean “Waveoff.”
The three Eurofighters, two single-seaters and a two-seater (along with a photo-ship, perhaps another Typhoon) flew near the Admiral Kuznetsov in what was just a show of force: the British multirole aircraft have no real anti-ship capability nor carried any armament.
Based on the photographs, only one Typhoon FGR4 ZJ927 had at least one (dummy) ASRAAM (Advanced Short-Range Air-to-Air Missile) on the outer port pylon.
Here’s an interesting clip filmed by the RAF jets during their flying activity in the vicinity of the Russian carrier.
Image credit: Crown Copyright
Russia’s MoD claimed the British performed a useless escort. Here’s Russian Defence Ministry comment on the statement of the British Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon concerning the escort of the Russian carrier group by the British ships off the coast of Great Britain:
“We have paid attention to the statement of the British Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon concerning the Russian carrier group which is passing the English Channel on its way home after combat task performance.
The goal of such statements and show concerning the escort of the Russian ships is to draw the attention of the British taxpayers away from the real state of affairs in the British Navy.
First, the Russian combat ships do not need escort services; they know the fairway and the course.
Second, Mr. Fallon is recommended paying more attention to the British fleet all the more there is every reason for it according to the same British press.“
The Russian MoD also highlighted that the British newspaper Sunday Times reported about a failed launch of a ballistic missile from submarines of the British Navy recently.
According to a Royal Navy spokesperson “Remaining at a respectful distance, but keeping the Russian warships clearly visible, Royal Navy sailors keep watch on every movement through their binoculars and use state-of-the-art radars to track the course and speed of the ships as they pass close to the UK.”
BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Beale says Typhoons may have used their sensors to try to detect the Russian’s air defence systems but the Eurofighter ESM (Electronic Support Measures) capabilities are quite limited if compared to other specialized aircraft (including the RAF E-3D or the Sentinel R1, whose presence in the same “surveillance operation” can’t be ruled out) that could gather much more significant data (if any, considered that the Russian aircraft carrier has been closely monitored while operating in the Med Sea with all its systems turned on….) from (safe) distance.
It shows a “troubleshooter” or “Final Checker”, be blown away by the jet blast of the aircraft during the catapult launch.
The role of the final checker (with a white jersey) is to make sure the aircraft’s flight controls are freely moving and that everything is ok. So they have to operate quite close to plane to spot potential hydraulic leaks or something that could lead to an aborted launch.
Here’s how the mishap is described by the alleged cameraman on Liveleak:
“This was the final flight on our deployment. During the final flight, people tend to push the boundaries because the deployment is over. Getting close to the exhaust on launch is a kind of “right of passage” for most troubleshooters since it increases the jet blast. So, the guy in the video decided that he wanted to get closer to the exhaust. He got a little TOO close and it threw him about 40 feet. The deck of the carrier is extremely rough and cover with “non-skid.” It’s so rough it can wear out the sole of you shoes in about 5 months. He was extremely scraped up, but took it like a champ!”
“As far as why the checkers stand so close, that is a personal preference. You need to be somewhat close so you can observe the aircraft” says another guy who’s posted a similar video to Youtube.
“You need to be somewhat close so you can observe the aircraft. The Prowler‘s jet exhaust blows down and out, so when the aircraft takes off, the closer you are, the harder it hits you.”
Several Maritime Patrol Aircraft are involved in a big hunt: one (possibly two) Oscar II-class submarine that Russia has sent after NATO warships.
According to military sources close to The Aviationist, a big hunt is underway in the eastern Med: several MPA aircraft, including U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon jets operating from NAS Sigonella, Sicily, are looking for one, possibly two, Russian Navy submarines operating in the vicinity of a group of warships of the NATO Maritime Group.
What makes the news even more interesting is the fact that the Russian Navy submarine would be an Oscar II Class, that is to say a “carrier killer” sub, designed with the primary mission of countering aircraft carrier battlegroups. Among the NATO vessels in proximity of the Oscar II there is also the French Charles De Gaulle nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and the USS Eisenhower is not too far away either.
Therefore a massive Cold War-style hide-and-seek in underway, keeping both sides quite busy.
Those were scripted drills, with the flattops put in the most challenging conditions for training purposes; still, the simulated sinkings once again prove that aircraft carriers’ underwater defenses, albeit excellent, are not impenetrable and subs still pose a significant threat to powerful Carrier Strike Groups.
Especially when the attacker is a quite advanced Oscar II class nuclear-powered guided-missile submarine (SSGN) using long-range SS-N-19 “Shipwreck” ASCMs (anti-ship cruise missiles).
Based on the latest reports, 8 Oscar IIs are in active service built in the 1980s and early 1990s, eight remain in service. Even though deemed to be inferior to those of the Akula II, the acoustic performance of the Oscar II class is believed to be superior to early Akula-class submarine.
In 2016 Russia has started a multiyear plan to modernise all its Project 949A Oscar II-class subs that includes replacing the 24 SS-N-19 missiles with up to 72 newer 3M55 Oniks (SS-N-26 ‘Strobile’) or 3M54 Klub (SS-N-27 ‘Sizzler’) anti ship missiles.
Composite image created by merging tweet from @Mil_Radar and image on Military-today.com
According to the report, the combat plane crashed at its second attempt to land on the aircraft carrier in good weather conditions (visibility +10 kilometers, Sea State 4, wind at 12 knots): it seems that it missed the wires and failed to go around* falling short of the bow of the warship.
The pilot successfully ejected and was picked up by a Russian Navy search and rescue helicopter.
Considered that on Nov. 14 a MiG-29K crashed while recovering to the aircraft carrier, if confirmed this would be the second loss for the air wing embarked on Admiral Kuznetsov in less than three weeks and a significant blow for the Russian Naval Aviation during its combat deployment off Syria.
*Update: the Russian MoD has confirmed the incident. According to an official release the arresting wire snapped and failed to stop the aircraft.