In 2016, VAQ-130 Growler Electronic Attack aircraft worked hard to deny the ISIS militants the ability to communicate.
Islamic State militants rely heavily on COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) and DIY radios along with smartphones to communicate, browse the Internet, send emails, exchange messages, dispatch orders, trigger IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) etc.
Various platforms of the US-led coalition that fights ISIS in Syria and Iraq continuously work to snoop into Daesh comms, intercept the signals emitted by their devices and, if needed, make such communication impossible (by disturbing the comms or attacking the cell towers or targeting specific high value individuals using cell phones).
“Kinetic Electronic Attack platforms” can be called in by other aircraft (such as the RC-135 Rivet Joint spyplanes which can disseminate data gathered in real-time via tactical data link) or ground forces to prevent ISIS fighters from talking to other militants by jamming their cell phones with high-power signals or by dropping actual ordnance at them.
Last year, among the units waging the Air War on ISIS frequencies, there were also the VAQ-130 Zappers.
Embarked on USS Eisenhower with their Boeing EA-18G Growler, the Electronic Warfare variant of the two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet (that replaced the EA-6B Prowlers in U.S. Navy service), the “Zappers” have supported Operation Inherent Resolve carrying out a wide variety of missions.
The badge sported by the VAQ-130’s EA-18G during their 2016 cruise.
Indeed the Growler has the ability to jam the enemy communications or work in combination with other EA-18s to geo-locate a signal source and target it from stand-off distance with air-to-surface missiles such as the AGM-88 HARM (High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile).
The following video provides the highlight of VAQ-130’s 2016 cruise. And includes much OIR footage.
Even though it also participated in the War in the Pacific, attacking Japanese airfields and shipping early in WWII, it was used primarily in Europe, against German industrial and military targets. Serving with the Eighth Air Force, in UK, and Fifteenth Air Force, in Italy, the aircraft was used a strategic, high-flying, long-range bomber capable to sustain heavy battle damage.
Throughout the conflict, little less than one half of the 1.5M tons of bombs dropped by US aircraft on Germany and occupied territories were dropped by B-17s.
Between 1935 and May 1945, 12,732 B-17s were produced. Of these aircraft, 4,735 were lost during combat missions. Less than 100 B-17 airframes have survived since then, less than 15 are airworthy, none of them is a combat veteran. Among the Flying Fortress bombers that can still take to the air, there’s EAA’s B-17G-VE, serial number 44-85740, nicknamed “Aluminum Overcast.”
As explained by the EAA website, “Aluminum Overcast” carries the colors of the 398th Bomb Group of World War II, which flew hundreds of missions over Nazi-held territory during the war: in particular, it commemorates B-17G #42-102516 which was shot down on its 34th combat mission over Le Manior, France, on Aug. 13, 1944.
Filmed by our reader and friend Erik Johnston, the following walkaround video provides the unique opportunity to see the pilot Ken Morris sharing his extensive knowledge of this iconic airplane.
The report is based on the testimonies of some locals who have seen the giant cargo land at the Houari Boumediene airport at 5:09PM LT.
However, the same source later found that the airlifter belonged to the Qatari Emiri Air Force.
Anyway, Algeria has never hidden its intention to acquire some C-17s (six to eight) in order to renew its fleet of transport aircraft and, according IHS Jane’s, last year Algerian authorities were in the early stages of negotiations with the company for a number of different types of aircraft, including the Globemaster.
In April 2013, a C-17 of the 446th Airlift Wing has undergone extensive testing in Algeria, including landing at the highest Algerian airfield in Tamanrasset, in the south of the country.
The interest of Al Quwwat aljawwiya aljaza’eriiya in the C-17 is a sign that after procuring Su-30MKA, Mig-29S and Yak-130A jets and upgrading the existing fleet of Su-24s, Mig-25s and Mi-24s, Algeria is planning to upgrade its inventory with aircraft able to support anti-terrorism and border surveillance tasks across the country.
The ICH-47F is a customised version of the legendary, legacy Chinook which incorporates a secure communications system, self-protection system and advanced datalink system.
According to AgustaWestland, the new variant has a Maximum All Up Weight (MAUW) of 23 tons, is equipped with two Honeywell T55-GA-714A engines which gives it excellent “hot and high” capability and is suitable for all-weather operations. Even though it can perform a wide variety of missions, its primary one has obviously remained the same: tactical transportation of troops and equipment, both internally and externally, by means of the aircraft’s cargo hook system.
The ICH-47 is produced by a Joint Industrial Agreement between Boeing and AgustaWestland, that is prime contractor for with responsibility for systems integration, final assembly and aircraft delivery to the Italian Army. Boeing builds the fuselage in the U.S, then final assembly is carried out at Vergiate plant in Northern Italy.
The missile used in the test was modified so it could not hit its target; however, the QF-16 has a scoring system which tells the ground station how close the missile came and its trajectory.
According to Boeing, “The ground control station sets the coordinates for the missile. Then, using its on board system, the QF-16 validates that the missile hit those coordinates, and detects the distance and speed of the missile. If all the data matches up, the mission is considered a kill.”