Tag Archives: Anti-submarine warfare

The Italian BR-1150 Atlantic Has Completed Its Last Flight Ending An Impressive 45-year Career

The Italian Air Force bid farewell to the Breguet Atlantic. And Here Are Some Of The Most Significant Moments Of Its 45-year Career.

On Nov. 22, 2017, the Italian Air Force retired its last BR-1150 Atlantic with a final flight from Sigonella to Pratica di Mare.

The aircraft MM40118/41-03, the Atlantic in special color scheme that had been unveiled during a ceremony held at Sigonella on Sept. 21, will now be transported and then exhibited in the ItAF Museum in Vigna di Valle. The first of 18 MPA (Maritime Patrol Aircraft) with ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) capabilities Atlantic aircraft, the BR-1150 MM40108 was taken on charge by the Aeronautica Militare at Toulouse, France, on Jun. 27, 1972. On the very same day, after a stopever in Nimes, France, the aircraft landed at Sigonella, for the very fist time at 16.25LT. The retirement has come after 45 years and almost 260,000 flying hours (actually 258K) logged by a fleet made of 18 aircraft.

The first Atlantic, MM400108/41-70, about to land for the first time at Sigonella at the end of its delivery flight on Jun. 27, 1972. (all images: ItAF)

The Atlantic flies in formation with the Grumman S-2F Tracker, the aircraft it replaced, close to the Etna, in 1972.

Throughout its career, the Atlantic flown by mixed Air Force/Navy crew of 13 people in missions lasting up to 12 hours (actually the record of the Italian BR-1150 is 19 hours and 20 minutes!), carried out thousand Maritime Patrol, ASW and ASuW (Anti-Surface Warfare – limited to the reconnaissance and surveillance part since the aircraft was not equipped with ASuW weapons) sorties as well as Maritime SAR (Search And Rescue) operations taking part also in hundreds exercises: from Dawn Patrol back in 1973 to the recent Dynamic Manta, the BR-1150 have played a role in the Display Determination, Dog Fish, Vento Caldo, Daily Double, Mare Aperto, Tridente, Deterrent Force, Passex, Storm Two, Fleetex, Sharp Guard, Destined Glory, Tapoon and many more ones. The aircraft has flown to the North Pole in 1997, landed at all the major European airports, including Iceland, and reached India, Morocco, Canada, Egypt, Lebanon, UAE and the U.S.

The aircraft was flown by a mixed Air Force/Navy crew of 13 people.

A formation of BR-1150 aircraft in 1994.

In 1997, the Italian Atlantic reached the North Pole.

Two units operated the type within the Italian Air Force (each being assigned 9 aircraft): the 41° Stormo (Wing), with its 88° Gruppo (Squadron) at Sigonella, and the 30° Stormo with its 86° Gruppo at Cagliari Elmas. The latter was disbanded on Aug. 1, 2002 with all the Breguet Atlantic aircraft (“P-1150A” in accordance with the current Italian Ministry of Defense Mission Design Series) taken on charge by the 41th Wing.

Although to a far lesser extent than the French Atlantique 2 (ATL2), that have been upgraded to extend their operative life beyond 2030 adding further capabilities, the Italian Atlantic fleet has undertaken a limited operational update between 1987 and 1997, as part of the ALCO (Aggiornamento Limitato Componente Operativa) programme, that has included, among the others and in different times, new INS (Intertial Navigation System), IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) system, along with new Iguane radar and ESM (Electronic Support Measures) sensors to perform electronic reconnaissance/surveillance systems as well as AIS (Automatic Identification System).

Approaching a warship during a sortie from Sigonella in 2009.

An ItAF P-1150A during a maritime surveillance mission in 2010.

The Atlantic will be partially replaced by the P-72, a multirole Maritime Patrol, Electronic Surveillance and C4I (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence) aircraft that shares many sensors and equipments which were developed for the ATR 72ASW developed by Leonardo for the Turkish Navy. However, the Italian P-72A fleet, that will be made of four aircraft, the first of those delivered to the 41° Stormo on Nov. 25, 2016, lacks an ASW (Anti-Sub Warfare) capability and this is the reason why it is considered a “gap filler” until the budget to procure a Long Range MPA with ASW capabilities will become available.

The Atlantic and the P-72 flew alongside during the very last flight of the Atlantic, from Sigonella to Pratica di Mare on Nov. 22, 2017.

Anyway, the P-72A, that has already debuted in real operations conducting intelligence gathering and electronic surveillance missions during the G7 meeting in Taormina, in May 2017, can undertake a variety of roles ranging from maritime patrol for the search and identification of surface vessels, SAR (search and rescue) missions, the prevention of narcotics trafficking, piracy, smuggling, territorial water security and monitoring and intervention in the event of environmental catastrophes. The P-72A is equipped with a communication suite that enables the aircraft to transmit or receive information in real-time to/from command and control centres either on the ground, in the air or at-sea, to ensure coordinated and effective operations. The aircraft is also equipped with a self-protection system. The aircraft is said to be able to fly missions lasting six and a half hours at ranges up to 200 nautical miles from its starting location.

The last Atlantic at Sigonella on Nov. 21, the sunset before its last flight.

The very last take off from Sigonella on Nov. 22, 2017. The end of an era.

The aircrew of the last flight.

 

During 45 years and about 260,000 FH, the Italian Atlantic fleet suffered no losses.

The author wishes to thank 1°M. Carmelo Savoca of the 41° Stormo for providing information about the aircraft as well as the stunning official images you can find in this post.

U.S. Navy bids farewell to the S-3 Viking

The last two U.S. Navy S-3 Vikings have performed the final Navy flight.

After more than 40 years of service the last pair of S-3B Vikings took off for the last time from the runway at Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu, California, on Jan. 11.

Developed to replace the S-2 Tracker, the “Hoover” (as the S-3 was nicknamed by its aircrews) entered the active service in 1974 and served in a wide variety of roles such as the anti-submarine warfare (ASW), the air-to-air refueling, the electronic intelligence and the carrier onboard delivery (COD).

Officially withdrawn from U.S. Navy front-line service in 2009, two retired Vikings were assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 30 to monitor the vast Point Mugu Sea Range.  As explained by Capt. John Rousseau, who led the charge to bring the retired aircraft to VX-30, the S-3B was the perfect aircraft to patrol the range: “It’s got legs, it can go fast and long. The radar, even though it’s old, there’s not many better. We still spot schools of dolphins and patches of seaweed.”

The VX-30, that still operated three Vikings, retired the first of its S-3Bs in November when the airplane was flown to the military aircraft boneyard at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona.

Unlike the two that launched from Point Mugu for the final Navy sortie, at least one will continue flying with NASA.

S-3 Viking Farewell
Top image: Scott Dworkin / U.S. Navy; Bottom image: Photographer’s Mate Airman Apprentice Nathan Laird / U.S. Navy 

Two Russian TU-142 Bears fly close to USS Reagan that launches four (armed) Hornets in response

Interesting close encounter off the Korean peninsula.

On Oct. 27, USS Ronald Regan, sailing in international waters east of the Korean peninsula, had to scramble four F/A-18 Hornets after two Russian Navy Tu-142 Bear aircraft flew within a nautical mile of the U.S. Navy nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

The four Navy Hornets escorted the Tu-142, an ASW (anti-submarine warfare) variant of the iconic Tu-95 Bear strategic bomber, away from the U.S. warship.

This is not the first time a Russian warplane buzzes a U.S. flattop: in 2008, USS Nimitz operating in the Pacific had to launch some Hornets to intercept and escort two Tu-95s approaching the carrier.

More recently, in April 2014, a Su-24 Fencer flew multiple passes at 500 feet above sea level, within 1,000 yards of the USS Donald Cook, the U.S. Navy destroyer operating in the Black Sea at that time: a behaviour that the ship commander considered “provocative and inconsistent with international agreements.”

On Mar. 3, 2015, Russian Su-30s and Su-24s aircraft from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet based in Crimea conducted attack runs on NATO warships operating in the Black Sea “to practice penetrating anti-air systems.”

Image credit: U.S. Navy

 

Low level flying, Winching and Special OPS support: fly with the MH-60S Knighthawks of HSC-4

Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron FOUR (HSC-4) recently made a video about the squadrons operations in the past year.

Based at NAS North Island in San Diego, HSC-4 is tasked with Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) missions as well as Search and Rescue, Combat Search and Rescue, Special Operations Support and Logistics.

The squadron is assigned to Carrier Air Wing TWO (CVW-2).

Also known as the Black Knights, HSC-4 flies the MH-60S Knighthawk, a helicopter that features a glass cockpit with active matrix liquid crystal displays specialised in ASW, Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP) at Sea, Humanitarian Disaster Relief, Search and Rescue, Combat Search and Rescue, Aero Medical Evacuation, SPECWAR, Organic Airborne Mine Countermeasures, and Logistical support.

The video below shows HSC-4 Knignhawk helos fly in tactical formation at low level over the desert, perform winching operations and operate on warships, including aircraft carrier USS Ronald Regan.

H/T to HSC-4 for the heads-up

 

Video filmed inside Syrian Navy anti-submarine warfare helicopter before it crashed leaked on Youtube

Interesting footage allegedly shows Mil Mi-14PL right before it crash landed in Syria.

On Mar. 22, a Syrian Navy Mil Mi-14PL anti-submarine warfare helicopter crash landed following a technical failure, in northwestern Syria near Idlib.

According to the first reports four crew members survived the incident and were captured by the Nusra Front and Islamic faction close to the capsized wreckage. One of the pilot was reportedly executed on site.

Now a video allegedly filmed inside the doomed helicopter was posted on Youtube. The clip was probably shot with one of the crew member’s smartphones captured by the opposition fighters.

It shows the cockpit, the operator’s console, radar, flight instruments (including an altimeter showing 5,000 meters). One of the pilots can be seen using a tablet and a handheld GPS.

H/T to Matt Fanning for sending us the link to the video