Tag Archives: Al Udeid Air Base

U.S. F-15E Downs Iranian-Built Syrian Drone After Airstrike on U.S. Led Forces

Syrian Drone Destroyed by Strike Eagle After It Engaged Anti-Assad Coalition Ground Forces. Second air-to-air kill for the Strike Eagle since Gulf War.

U.S. Special Operations advisors leading anti-Assad Syrian forces came under fire from an Iranian built Shahed 129 drone operated by Syrian pro-government forces on Thursday according to the U.S. Army.

A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle shot the drone down.

The incident occurred outside Al-Tanf, southern Syria close to the Jordanian border. An installation in Al –Tanf serves as a forward operating base for British and U.S. special operations teams assisting the anti-ISIL Syrian guerilla group Maghawir al-Thawra or “Commandos of the Revolution”. Maghawir al-Thawra is regarded as an indigenous special operations group who have received training and support from coalition forces to fight the Assad regime.

The U.S. reacted to the drone attack by tasking an F-15E Strike Eagle to locate and destroy the Syrian drone. It was officially the first time U.S. forces had come under air attack by a hostile nation in nearly 20 years and the second air-to-air kill for the Strike Eagle since the downing of an Iraqi Gunship helicopter in 1991.

According to U.S. Army Colonel Ryan Dillon, spokesman of the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), the Assad government Syrian drone strike on U.S. advisors and Syrian revolutionary commandos “did not have an effect on coalition forces,”

“The pro-regime UAV, similar in size to the U.S. MQ-1 predator, was shot down by U.S. aircraft after it dropped one of several weapons it was carrying near a position occupied by coalition personnel who are training and advising partner ground forces in the fight against ISIL,” CJTF-OIR’s public affairs office released in a statement. “The shoot down follows an earlier engagement in the day in which Coalition forces destroyed two pro-regime armed technical vehicles that advanced inside the well established de-confliction zone threatening Coalition and partner forces.”

Pentagon Correspondent Tara Copp was among the first to release the U.S. aircraft involved in the drone shoot-down incident (Twitter)

A 34-mile region around Al-Tanf has been declared a “de-confliction zone” by coalition forces for the past several weeks. This buffer was established to safeguard U.S. and British supported anti-Assad forces. Several incidents have taken place recently inside this de-confliction zone that have prompted a U.S. response. On Tuesday, a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet dropped four bombs killing an estimated 10 pro-Assad combatants and destroyed several of their vehicles.

It is also likely the pro-Assad forces controlling the Iranian made Shahed 129 drone were in close proximity to the drone itself at the time it attacked U.S. advised anti-Assad forces. The Shahed 129 can be controlled by satellite guidance from a remote ground station, but this example was almost certainly controlled by a local ground controller with line-of-sight to the Syrian Shahed 129 when it was destroyed by the U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle.

The incident is significant since U.S. ground forces in the region and, in the entire history of the Global War of Terror, have been largely immune from air attacks. The Iranian-made Shahed 129 drone was also employed by Hezbollah in a 2012 operation over Israel. The Israelis downed the Iranian-made, Hezbollah-controlled drone but the incident marked a dangerous escalation in terrorist capabilities.

The Iranian-built Shahed 129 armed drone (Iranian News Media)

 

Watch a U.S. B-52 blow up Daesh Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices and their storage facitilities in Iraq

Buff at work in Iraq.

Six B-52s are currently deployed to Al Udeid, Qatar, to support Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIL in Syria and Iraq.

The aircraft have replaced the B-1s, that have returned stateside for upgrades and are expected to perform a new tour of duty in the Middle East by the end of the year.

The Stratofortress bombers have launched their first air strike against ISIS on Apr. 18 (targeting a Daesh weapons storage facility in Qayyarah, Iraq). Since then, the B-52s have carried out the same kind of missions the B-1s flew in theater before they were relieved by the Buffs: mainly Close Air Support and Air Interdiction delivering a wide variety of PGMs (Precision Guided Munitions), including JDAMs.

The following video was filmed on April 29 where the B-52s attacked multiple vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) and their storage facilities near Kirkuk, Iraq, to deny safe havens and disrupt terrorist operations.

Cool shot of a B-1 bomber departing the tanker like a boss during air strike on ISIS

This is how you depart the tanker like a boss!

Taken on Jul. 23, during a mission in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, this cool shot shows a U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer (“Bone” for the pilots community), depart after refueling from a USAF KC-135 Stratotanker from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron.

The bomber belongs to the 34th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron deployed to Al Udeid, Qatar from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota.

The actual location where the picture was taken has not been disclosed but most tanker tracks are located over Iraq.

The B-1 have taken part in the air strikes on IS since the beginning of the air campaign: according to a story published by the AFP news agency earlier this year, in the previous 6 months, the U.S. Air Force Lancers had accounted for 18 percent of all the strike missions against the ISIS and for 43 percent of the total tonnage of munitions dropped in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

Watch a B-1 Lancer bomber buzz photographers on take off from Al Udeid airbase

Head-on take off by a “Bone” deployed to Qatar to fight ISIS

B-1’s take offs are always impressive.

B-1’s take off at Al Udeid, west of Doha, in Qatar, where the U.S. Air Force has based its heavy bombers to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria can become really breathtaking if you observe the head-on departure of a Lancer coming low over you: this is what you can (almost) experience by simply watching the following video.

Noise abatement and safety procedures stateside usually prevent such maneuvers to be performed at Dyess or Ellsworth Air Force Base.

What’s this new sensor exposed by video of a B-1 bomber refueling over Iraq?

Although it may seem just another B-1 refueling video, this footage shows something different.

The following footage was shot on Feb. 12, over Iraq.

It shows a B-1B “Lancer” (or “Bone”) taking fuel from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker during a mission in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

There are several such videos available online but this one caught our attention as it seems to show something different: the B-1, operating from Al Udeid airbase, in Qatar, has at least one new circle-shaped dorsal sensor (most probably an antenna) on the upper fuselage past of the cockpit area.

The same sensor doesn’t seem to be present on B-1s featured by similar footage, perhaps a sign that 34th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron Bones currently deployed in theater have received some kind of upgrade including the new antenna.

Does anyone have a clue when was the new sensor was installed and, above all, what it is?

Here’s the image that clearly shows the antenna (highlight mine, credit: U.S. Air Force):

34th EBS B-1B refuels over Syria