Tag Archives: Estonia

Watch U.S. Air Force A-10s perform highway landings in Estonia

A-10 Warthogs of the U.S. Air Force practiced landing (and take off) from a highway in northern Estonia.

For the second time in little more than one month, USAF A-10s, practiced highway operations from a public road in Estonia on Aug. 1.

The Warthogs, belonging to the 303rd Fighter Squadron, 442nd Fighter Wing, from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, and deployed to Ämari Air Base on Jul. 25 performed landings and take offs from the Jägala-Käravete Highway in Northern Estonia.

The ability to perform landings from highways is unique to the A-10 that can exploit its wide tyres and high-mounted engines (therefore less prone to FOD – Foreign Object Damage).

Part of the standard training during the Cold War, highway operations training from dispersed places, has resumed in eastern Europe as a consequence of the renewed tensions with Russia.

Four A-10 tankbusters have landed on a highway (in Estonia): it’s the first time since 1984!

A-10 Thunderbolt II practiced Cold War-style landing on a highway during Ex. Saber Strike 2016.

For the first time in 32 years, four A-10 Warthogs, belonging to the 127th Wing, Michigan National Guard, performed highway landing practice: it occurred in Estonia, as part of Saber Strike 16 exercise, on Jun. 20.

Saber Strike is a long-standing U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative training exercise designed to improve joint interoperability through a range of missions that prepare the 14 participating nations to support multinational contingency operations.

A-10 land Estonia 2

After WWII and through the Cold War some countries developed the concept of highway strips to get rid off one of the basic drawbacks of combat plane – runway dependency – in case of nuclear war. Airstrips and their coordinates were not secret, neither in the West nor in Soviet Russia. Obviously they would be destroyed in the beginning of any conflict.

Designed in the 1920s and 30s, the German Autobahn had sections that could be used as runways by tactical jets as well as military cargo planes: for instance, the A-29 between Ahlhorn and Groβenkneten is one example of highway where, during the Cold War, NATO planners built a road to accommodate NATO aircraft if a war with the Soviets broke out.

In that period, even Warsaw Pact countries had several highway strips: Poland had as many as 21 DOLs, Drogowy Odcinek Lotniskowy, which is a Polish name for highway strips: improvised runways made of hightway section with wider ends to provide parking spaces for the planes.

One of these is still located near Stettin (Szczecin) on the Voyvodeship Road 142 near the S3 State Road on the German-planned highway towards Kaliningrad. This highway was built in the 1930s by Adolf Hitler and was a part of the Reichsautobahn network which emerged before the WWII; the remaining ones are mostly out of use.

Highway landings were part of the standard training conducted mainly in Central, Eastern and Northern Europe during the Cold War. With the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, highway take-offs and landings became less frequent.

However, with the renewed Russian threat, training for operations from dispersed places, including public roads, has gradually resumed and involves Finnish and Swedish planes and after more than 30 years, even the U.S. A-10 tankbusters, frequent visitors of Russia’s backyard lately.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

Salva

Salva

Salva

Salva

Glorious photos of U.S. F-22s arriving in Estonia for a brief forward deployment escorted by two A-10s

Two Raptors have visited Amari, Estonia, with two A-10s and one KC-135 tanker.

On Sept. 4, two of the four F-22s currently stationed at Spangdahlem, Germany, visited Amari airbase, in Estonia, for a brief forward deployment to the airbase supporting the NATO Baltic Air Patrol mission.

A KC-135 Stratotanker along with two F-22 Raptors and two A-10 Thunderbolt IIs fly overhead before landing at Ämari Air Base, Estonia, Sept. 4, 2015, as part of a brief forward deployment. The F-22s have previously deployed to both the Pacific and Southwest Asia for Airmen to train in a realistic environment while testing partner nations' ability to host advanced aircraft like the F-22. The F-22s are deployed from the 95th Fighter Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. The U.S. Air Force routinely deploys aircraft and Airmen to Europe for training and exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane)

A KC-135 Stratotanker along with two F-22 Raptors and two A-10 Thunderbolt IIs fly overhead before landing at Ämari Air Base, Estonia, Sept. 4, 2015, as part of a brief forward deployment. The F-22s have previously deployed to both the Pacific and Southwest Asia for Airmen to train in a realistic environment while testing partner nations’ ability to host advanced aircraft like the F-22. The F-22s are deployed from the 95th Fighter Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. The U.S. Air Force routinely deploys aircraft and Airmen to Europe for training and exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane)

As done during the previous deployment to Poland, the two Raptors, escorted by a KC-135 and two A-10 Warthogs (of the 8 already based there), returned to Spangdahlem later the same day: just a symbolic visit, that marked the closest deployment of the F-22 stealthy jets to Russia.

An F-22 Raptor takes off from Ämari Air Base, Estonia, Sept. 4, 2015, following a brief forward deployment. The F-22s have previously deployed to both the Pacific and Southwest Asia for Airmen to train in a realistic environment while testing partner nations' ability to host advanced aircraft like the F-22. The F-22s are deployed from the 95th Fighter Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. The U.S. Air Force routinely deploys aircraft and Airmen to Europe for training and exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane)

An F-22 Raptor takes off from Ämari Air Base, Estonia, Sept. 4, 2015, following a brief forward deployment. The F-22s have previously deployed to both the Pacific and Southwest Asia for Airmen to train in a realistic environment while testing partner nations’ ability to host advanced aircraft like the F-22. The F-22s are deployed from the 95th Fighter Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. The U.S. Air Force routinely deploys aircraft and Airmen to Europe for training and exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane)

The F-22s, belonging to the 95th Fighter Squadron, from Tyndall Air Force Base, are expected to operate in Europe (and visit some more eastern bases) until mid-September.

An F-22 Raptor takes off from Ämari Air Base, Estonia, Sept. 4, 2015, following a brief forward deployment. The F-22s have previously deployed to both the Pacific and Southwest Asia for Airmen to train in a realistic environment while testing partner nations' ability to host advanced aircraft like the F-22. The F-22s are deployed from the 95th Fighter Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. The U.S. Air Force routinely deploys aircraft and Airmen to Europe for training and exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane)

An F-22 Raptor takes off from Ämari Air Base, Estonia, Sept. 4, 2015, following a brief forward deployment. The F-22s have previously deployed to both the Pacific and Southwest Asia for Airmen to train in a realistic environment while testing partner nations’ ability to host advanced aircraft like the F-22. The F-22s are deployed from the 95th Fighter Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. The U.S. Air Force routinely deploys aircraft and Airmen to Europe for training and exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane)

 

An F-22 Raptor and an A-10 Thunderbolt II fly overhead before landing at Ämari Air Base, Estonia, Sept. 4, 2015, as part of a brief forward deployment. The F-22s have previously deployed to both the Pacific and Southwest Asia for Airmen to train in a realistic environment while testing partner nations' ability to host advanced aircraft like the F-22. The F-22s are deployed from the 95th Fighter Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. The U.S. Air Force routinely deploys aircraft and Airmen to Europe for training and exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane)

An F-22 Raptor and an A-10 Thunderbolt II fly overhead before landing at Ämari Air Base, Estonia, Sept. 4, 2015, as part of a brief forward deployment. The F-22s have previously deployed to both the Pacific and Southwest Asia for Airmen to train in a realistic environment while testing partner nations’ ability to host advanced aircraft like the F-22. The F-22s are deployed from the 95th Fighter Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. The U.S. Air Force routinely deploys aircraft and Airmen to Europe for training and exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane)

H/T Kait Kasak and Aavo Harju for the heads-up

 

Incredible photo of F-16 fighter planes under sky set alight by Northern Lights

Here’s an unbelievable photo shot at Amari Airbase, Estonia.

Taken by photographer Gen Vagula at Ämari Airbase, Estonia, where the aircraft have been deployed to undertake Baltic States air policing duties, this awesome image shows four Royal Danish Air Force F-16 jets parked under a sky set alight by Aurora Borealis.

Aurora (“Aurora Borealis” or “Northern Lights” in the northern hemisphere and “Aurora Australis” or “Southern Lights” in the southern one) is a natural light display caused by the collision of solar wind and magnetospheric charged particles with the high altitude atmosphere (thermosphere).

Ämari, located some 40 kilometers (25 miles) to the southwest of Tallinn, is the second airbase used by NATO to perform QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) duties and provide air defense for those member states that have no fighter jets of their own to secure their airspaces: Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.

NATO planes deployed to the Baltics (the other airbase is Siauliai in Lithuania), are often scrambled to intercept Russian planes flying to/from Kaliningrad oblast, performing long-range missions around Scandinavia and the British Isles, or simply spying in the Baltic region.

Image credit: Gen Vagula

 

U.S. F-15s performing Estonia independence flyby diverted to intercept Russian spyplane

U.S. F-15s scheduled to perform a flyover in Estonia, intercepted a Russian spyplane then took part to the parade.

On Feb. 24, Estonia celebrated its independence day.

Part of the celebrations was also a military parade in the city of Pärnu. U.S. F-15C fighters belonging to the 48th FW, currently deployed to Lithuania’s first air base in Zokniai, near Siauliai, took part to the flyby but they were forced to do double duty since they were first diverted to intercept a Russian plane.

Unfortunately,  no details about the aircraft that was intercepted were released. The official statement by Estonian authorities says only: “Fighters identified the plane as a spy plane belonging to Russia.”

The U.S. Air Force has four F-15s from RAF Lakenheath deployed to Lithuania to undertake air policing in the Baltic states. The aircraft have replaced the Belgian F-16AMs and, since January, they guard the airspace over Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, whose air defense is provided on a rotational basis by 14 NATO states since 2004.

Aircraft on QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) at Siauliai are often scrambled by CRP (Control and Reporting Post) of Amari, Estonia, to intercept Il-20 spyplanes, Tu-22M Backfire bombers and Su-27 fighter jets, skirting Baltic states airspaces as images posted in 2013 show.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

Enhanced by Zemanta