Tag Archives: F-15

The U.S. Air Force Releases New Video Showing F-15 Deployed To Lithuania Intercepting Russian Navy Su-30 Flankers Over The Baltics

The 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron deployed from RAF Lakenheath have had some close encounters with the Russian fighters near the Baltics.

The U.S. Air Force will complete its fifth rotation as the lead nation for the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission on Jan. 8, 2018. On Jan. 5, videos documenting their efforts during their four-month deployment were publicly released.

In particular, the videos capture previously unreleased footage of RAF Lakenheath F-15s conducting “safe and standard intercepts of Russian Federation aircraft as part of the NATO peacetime air policing mission.”

Along with footage showing the U.S. Air Force F-15 pilots scramble during an exercise during the Baltic Regional Training Event at Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania, back in April 2014, the video compilation shows two encounters with the Russian Navy Su-30 Flankers.

The first one occurred on Nov. 23, and was initiated because the Russian aircraft did not broadcast the appropriate codes required by air traffic control and had no flight plan on file. The second one shows two Russian Navy Su-30s intercepted on Dec. 13, 2017. The second intercept was initiated for the same reasons: the Russian aircraft did not broadcast the appropriate codes required by air traffic control and had no flight plan on file.

The video compilation shows tw encounter on November 23 and another on December 13. According to descriptions posted by the military, both incidents involved two Russian fighters in international airspace near the Baltics. In both encounters, the F-15s were scrambled because the Russians did not broadcast the codes required by air traffic control and did not file a flight plan, the Air Force said.

“Intercepts are a regular occurrence, and U.S. Air Force pilots routinely conduct them in a safe and professional manner,” Lt. Col. Cody Blake, commander of the 493rd says in an interview included in the compilation. “Pilots from the 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron executed the intercept professionally and operated in international airspace in accordance with all relevant international flight regulations and safety standards.”

The Russian reaction to the video came on Saturday. According to the state-run RT media outlet, the Russian Ministry of Defense acknowledged that NATO F-15 jets had “approached” Su-30 fighter jets in two separate incidents – on November 23 and December 13 – near the Baltics, but said “the route of Russian fighter jets was agreed with the air logistics control units and was carried out in strict compliance with the international rules.” In both instances, F-15 fighters “approached at a safe distance, after which they changed course and flew away,” the statement added.

H/T Lasse Holmstrom for the heads-up

 

California ANG’s 144th FW Launched 16 F-15 Eagle Jets In The Wing’s First Ever Large-Scale Aircraft Generation Exercise

California Air National Guard’s “Quick Draw” exercise put the 144th Fighter Wing’s readiness to test.

On Dec. 21, the 144th Fighter Wing, based at California Air National Guard Base Fresno, California, took part in Operation Quick Draw, the wing’s first ever large-scale aircraft generation exercise. During the uncommon drills, the unit, whose mission is to provide Air Superiority in support of worldwide joint operations as well as Air Defense of the West Coast of the United States, was called to prepare as many F-15 Eagles for combat as possible with only a 24-hour notice.

In the end the unit was able to generate and launch 16 out of 16 F-15 Eagle fighter jets, a 100% success rate according to Col. Reed Drake, Commander of the 144th FW.

A 144th FW pilot prepares to launch during Operation Quick Draw.

Although pretty uncommon in the past, these short-notice combat readiness drills are becoming part of the periodic ANG units tactical evaluations: on Nov. 22, more or less one month before the 144th FW executed the Quick Draw, the 142nd Fighter Wing/123rd Fighter Squadron “Redhawks”, based at Portland International Airport, took part in a similar exercise launching 13 F-15s within 24 hours. With ANG units supporting the various iterations of a Theater Security Package (TSP), a temporary deployment from CONUS (Continental US) of a force whose aim is to augment the Air Force presence in a specific region for deterrence purposes, assessing the Fighter Wing’s ability to deploy anywhere in the world with a short notice has become extremely important. And the 144th FW is among the units that have already deployed abroad in support of a TSP as part of an EFS (Experiditionary Fighter Squadron): in April 2016, along with the 104th Fighter Wing, Barnes Air National Guard Base, the 144th Fighter Wing, deployed to Europe with a dozen F-15s (four were deployed to Iceland to provide air policing duties) for a 6-month TSP in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, with the goal to “[…] demonstrate the U.S. commitment to a Europe that is whole, free, at peace, secure, and prosperous and to deter further Russian aggression.”

The F-15Cs of the 144th FW prepare to launch from Fresno ANGB on Dec. 21, 2017.

Image credit: Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Chris Drudge

More than 60 combat aircraft from eight NATO nations take part in Exercise Frisian Flag in the Netherlands

Frisian Flag 2017 was a large scale exercise organised by the Royal Netherlands Air Force.

From Mar. 27 to Apr. 7, Leeuwarden Air Base in the Netherlands hosted the tactical aircraft taking part in Ex. Frisian Flag 2017.

The purpose of the drills was preparing the participating units for a modern conflict or crisis support operation by strengthening cooperation between air arms of multiple NATO countries called to undertake joint training missions twice a day.

Whilst Leeuwarden in the north of the Netherlands, hosted the “tacair”, the supporting tankers (French Air Force C-135FR, Italian Air Force KC-767A, German Air Force A-310MRTT and RNlAF KDC-10) were based at Eindhoven airport in the south, with a NATO E-3 AWACS flying from Geilenkirchen, Germany, and a French AF E-3D from Avord, France.

Special Viper BAF

Portuguese F-16 about to land

The two-week long drills saw the assets split into two teams: the “Red Force”, that included the RAF Tornado GR4s and the French Mirage 2000s, and the “Blue Force” made of the Florida ANG F-15s, the Eurofighter Typhoons, as well as F-16s from Portugal, Belgium and the Netherlands.

RNlAF F-16 on final

A 31 Sqn Tornado GR4

FAF Mirage 2000

According to the RAF 31 Sqn that posted a short debrief after returning from the drills, missions flown during Frisian Flag included air defense, protection of other aircraft and attacking of ground targets on land and sea in a high threat environment, which included opposing fighter aircraft and ground based Patriot and SA-6 missile batteries.

Four ship about to break for the downwind leg

GAF Typhoon special tail

Photographers at work at Leeuwarden

All the images in this post were taken at Leeuwarden airbase by photographer Estelle Calleja.

A Dutch Viper in final

RNlAF F-16 during the base turn

Image credit: Estelle Calleja

U.S. Air National Guard F-15s deploying to Iceland and the Netherlands “to deter further Russian aggression”

Time for another deployment to Europe.

Beginning tomorrow, 12 F-15C Eagles and approximately 350 Airmen and support equipment belonging to the 131st Fighter Squadron, Barnes Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts, and the 194th Fighter Squadron, Fresno Air National Guard Base, California, will deploy to the European theater for a 6-month tour in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

The arrival of these F-15s marks the latest iteration of a Theater Security Package (TSP), a temporary deployment from CONUS (Continental US) of a force whose aim is to augment the Air Force presence in a specific region, for deterrence purposes.

The TSP “will conduct training alongside NATO allies and partners as part of OAR to strengthen interoperability, demonstrate the U.S. commitment to a Europe that is whole, free, at peace, secure, and prosperous and to deter further Russian aggression,” according to a USAF release.

The wording with the reference to the Russian aggression is noteworthy.

Interestingly, the F-15s will head to two separate locations to simultaneously: Keflavik, in Iceland, to undertake air policing duties in support of NATO, and Leeuwarden Air Base, Netherlands.

While at Leeuwarden, the F-15s will also take part in Exercise Frisian Flag.

As done by the TSPs last year, during their six months in theater, the F-15s will also forward deploy to other NATO and partner nations to include Bulgaria, Estonia and Romania.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

Here are some stunning photos of Israeli Air Force’s largest ever international exercise

Blue Flag exercise in Israel gathered combat planes from Poland, Greece and U.S.

Blue Flag 2015 is the biggest aerial exercise in the history of the Israeli Air Force.

Kicked off on Oct. 18 and continuing through Nov. 3, the Blue Flag drills gathered to Ovda airbase, near Eilat, in southern Israel, combat planes from the U.S., Poland and Greece involved in a series of missions that saw them fight a fictional enemy through nearly all the airspace over Israel (condensation trails of the aircraft taking place in the exercise could be seen even from Tel Aviv).

Top formation

The Hellenic Air Force took part in the exercise with five F-16C/D Block 52+ jets (from 337 Sq., based at Larissa), the same type of aircraft deployed to Israel by the Polish Air Force. The U.S. Air Force brought to Ovda six F-15C belonging to the 493 FS from RAF Lakenheath, UK. All these assets joined the local squadrons of F-15 Baz, F-16C/D Barak, F-16I Sufa and the about-to-be-retired F-16A Netz aggressors.

Over Dead Sea

Although little more is known about Blue Flag, the IAF has released some cool shots showing the aircraft flying over the Dead Sea and the Negev Desert as well as on the ground at Ovda airbase.

F-16I Israeli Air Force

F-15C 493FS

Polish Air Force F-16 landing

F-16I landing

Greek Air Force F-16

Image credit: Israeli Air Force