Tag Archives: F-16

Syrian Air Force becoming increasingly aggressive near Turkish border

Whereas the news spread that Syria may have relocated some of its warplanes in Iran, to save them from an eventual U.S. attack, on Oct. 6, the Turkish General Staff made a press announcement about the increased activity by the Syrian Arab Air Force close to the border with Turkey on Oct. 5.

According to the Turkish authorities

Two Turkish F-16’s took off from Diyarbakr 8 AJU at 07.50LT on Oct. 5 and established a Combat Air Patrol around Gaziantep – Hatay region. During their mission:

a) A SyAAF Su-24 Fencer approached south of Oncupinar, Kilis, followed by the CAP package to be directed towards it. The Fencer broke off its course 5.6 nautical miles (NM) to the border.

b) A SyAAF Su-24 (it is unclear whether this was the same) approached Cilvegozu, Hatay province. The same package directed to intercept it, which broke off course 8.6 NM from border.

c) A SyAAF Su-24 (still unclear whether this was the same) flew close to Oncupinar. The F-16s flew to the area and the Fencer withdrew 10nm from the border.

The CAP package completed its mission on 11.59 LT.

The second flight of 2 F-16s, which took off from Incirlik 10 AJU, started CAP around Gaziantep – Hatay from 11.24LT.

A SyAAF Mi-17 Hip (hence, the same of type of helicopter shot down by a Turkish Air Force F-16 last month) approached Karbeyaz, Hatay. The CAP package were directed there and the Mi-17 broke off course 4nm from the border.

The patrol flight completed CAP at 15.25LT.

The next flight of 2 F-16s took off from Incirlik and conducted CAP at the same region between 15.03 and 19.20LT, without any incident.

Noteworthy, the Su-24 Fencer attack plane seems to be Damascus’s asset of choice to perform this kind of actions: few weeks ago Assad launched some Fencers in the eastern Mediterranean Sea allegedly to probe Cyprus air defenses.

Image credit: TuAF

H/T to Arda Mevlutoglu for translating on the ACIG forum the Turkish press release

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More NATO Tactical Leadership Programme action photos

As already explained on a previous post, on Oct. 1 and 2, the Tactical Leadership Programme and Albacete Airbase hosted a Spotters Day during TLP Flying Course 2013/5.

Here are some photographs shot by The Aviationist’s contributor Alessandro Fucito during the event.

Albacete TLP 2013-5 Spotter Day 190

Turkish Air Force F-16D from 151 Filo.

Albacete TLP 2013-5 Spotter Day 161

Ala 14’s Eurofighter Typhoon.

Albacete TLP 2013-5 Spotter Day 146

Swiss Air Force F-18 from FlSt18.

Albacete TLP 2013-5 Spotter Day 121

Eurofighter Typhoon from the Italian Air Force’s 4° Stormo.

Albacete TLP 2013-5 Spotter Day 108

Polish Air Force’s F-16C Block 52+ from BLT31.

Albacete TLP 2013-5 Spotter Day 096

Mirage 2000D from the French Air Force’s EC 03.033.

Albacete TLP 2013-5 Spotter Day 141

Mirage 2000C from EC 02.005.

Albacete TLP 2013-5 Spotter Day 059

An Italian Air Force HH-3F from the 15° Stormo. This kind of helicopter is currently being replaced within the Aeronautica Militare by the Agusta Westland HH-139A.

Top photo: Spanish F/A-18 from Ala 46 (all images by Alessandro Fucito).

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Sukhoi Su-27 and F-16 fighter jets intercept renegade plane during NATO – Russia counterterrorism drills

The Polish and Russian airspace along with the Southern Baltic area have been the scenario in which Vigilant Skies 2013 exercise took place.

The primary objective of the training was to check whether the  Cooperative Aerospace Initiative (CAI) works. CAI is an initiative whose aim is to prevent terror acts with the use of civilian aircraft, similar to 9/11, by means of information exchange about the events in NATO and Russian airspaces, and coordinated scrambles on the suspect aircraft – referred to as “renegade.

The secondary objective of CAI is to make it easier to enter the neighbour’s airspace should an emergency occur, such as a jet without a pilot (who ejected) falling down beyond the national border.

It is the third time Vigilant Skies takes place, the first one being in 2011, between Jun. 6 and Jun. 9.

According to the official website of the Polish Air Force, that took part in the drills along with the Turkish and Russian Air Force, Vigilant Skies-2013 simulated an  event of hijacking a passenger airliner, simulated by a CASA C-295 from the Polish Air Force’s 8 Air Transport Base.

Within the simulated scenario, the hijacked aircraft was expected to fly towards Scandinavia, but hijackers have damaged the radio and forced the pilots to fly towards St. Petersburg.

Two F-16s from the Krzesiny AB intercepted, visually identified and shadowed the renegade. Then the commander of the Coalition Air Operation Center in Uedem passed the command of the intercept to the Center in Warsaw, that, in turn time briefed Moscow Center on the situation.

The F-16 provided an escort to the territorial waters of Russia in the Kaliningrad Oblast where they handed over the renegade to the Russian Su-27 pilots. Meanwhile, the passengers on the plane took care of the terrorists and the plane turned back to Poland.

It was again intercepted by the Polish F-16s and landed at the 22 Tactical AB in Malbork.

In total the exercise took about 3 hours. The escort changed within a few seconds. The aircraft did not violate the neighbour’s airspace. There was no collision alert as Su-27 and F-16 pilots acted according to the ICAO guidelines.

CAI is a result of 2002 NATO-Russia-Poland Council that acts towards building a greater political trust between Russian Federation and NATO neighbouring countries, Norway and Turkey.

The coordinating centers, besides the ones in Moscow and Warsaw are located in Bodo, Norway and Ankara in Turkey, and additional Russian ones in Murmansk, Kaliningrad and Rostov.

Similar drills in cooperation with Ukraine took place in 2011, under the name Safe Skies.

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist

Image credit: mjr R. Siemaszko/DPI MON/zoom.mon.gov.pl

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And here’s the official statement of the Syrian Armed Forces about the downing of a helicopter on the Turkish border

Provided the following is genuine (since it was published on Facebook, it is hard to determine its authentiticy), it represents the official statement of the General Command of the Syrian Armed Forces, about the downing of the Mi-17 by an F-16 from 181 Filo.

The text is published so as it appeared on the Internet (hence, with some errors in the translation).

A military helicopter had been lost on Monday afternoon “09/16/2013” during the a reconnaissance sorties to control the infiltration of terrorists across the Turkish border in “Alyonseah” area near the village of “Bdama” in the countryside of Latakia.

After the investigates shows that helicopter mistakenly entered Turkish airspace for a short distance and then returned towards the Syrian territory immediately upon receipt the competent guidance from the command center.

During the exit of the helicopter, a Turkish warplanes have targeted it directly to fall inside Syrian territory.
The hasty reaction from the Turkish side, especially that the plane was on the way back, and were not charged in any combat missions, is nothing but a proof of “Erdogan” government’s true intentions toward the Syria in straining the atmosphere and the escalation of the situation on the border between the two countries.

In other words, the helicopter was neither fleeing nor performing any bombing run. According to the Syrian authorities, it was flying a border control mission when it violated the Turkish airspace and was attacked by the 181 Filo F-16 deployed to Malatya airbase while egressing it.

The Turkish aircraft probably used an AIM-9 Sidewinder IR guided air-to-air missile to down the Mi-17 Hip.
Once hit, the helicopter fell into the ground about half kilometer from the border, on the Syrian side. The crew members escaped the chopper with their parachutes and survived the crash, but they were captured by Syrian rebels and killed (beheaded).

There are so many similarities with the downing of a Turkish Air Force RF-4E inside the Syrian airspace on Jun. 22, 2012.

H/T to Strategy Reports for the heads-up

Image credit: TuAF

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Here’s how the Turkish F-16 shot down a Syrian Mil Mi-17 Hip helicopter today

More details about the downing of a Syrian helicopter are emerging.

Turkish General Staff released a statement and published the radar track history regarding the incident.

Here’s how the incident unfold:

1. The Syrian Mi-17 Hip was first detected as possible intruder and immediately tracked by the Diyarbakir CAOC (Combined Air Operations Center) at 13:41 LT, while it was 26 NM (nautical miles) from the border.

2. CAOC repeatedly issued warnings to the helicopters until it was 5 NM from the border

3. The helicopter intruded Turkish airspace at 14:25 near Guvecci Gendarmerie Post at Yayladag, Hatay province at 14,200 ft and 2km depth.

4. Two F-16Cs that were on CAP (Combat Air Patrol) nearby were diverted to intercept the helicopter

5. The helicopter was shot down at 14:27 and crashed at 1km within the Syrian side of the border.

Here below you can see a video showing the Syrian helicopter falling to the ground after being hit.

And in the following video you can see the wreckage of the downed Hip.

H/T to Arda Mevlutoglu for translating the additional details about the interception

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