Tag Archives: Libya

Video shows Libyan Mig-21 Fishbed jet crash into downtown Tobruk

Free Libya Air Force Mig-21 crashed into city blocks at Tobruk, in eastern Libya.

On Sept. 2, a Mig-21 belonging to the Free Libya Air Force crashed into Tobruk killing the pilot and at least a small boy on the ground.

The entire scene was filmed from a rooftop in Tobruk: the aircraft seems to be initially nose-diving, then the pilot pulls up again and the aircraft overflies the cameraman in what seems to be a climb, just before it dives again and crashes between buildings causing a huge explosion.

Needless to say the reasons of the crash are still unknown even if according to some news reports, sources pointed towards the mechanical failure.

According to RT, the pilot has been identified as Rafa Al-Farani and the he crashed in his Mig-21bis while performing in a memorial flypast for another pilot, Ibrahim Al-Manifi, who was also killed in a plane crash few days ago.

This seems to explain the reason why someone was filming the plane from a rooftop at the time of the crash.

Egypt and UAE Air Force jets behind mysterious airstrikes on Islamist militias in Libya

UAE and Egypt Air Force jets have conducted the mysterious series of airstrikes in Libya, a U.S. officials said earlier today.

The mysterious airstrikes that have hit Islamist militias in Tripoli at least twice during the last week were carried out by Egypt and United Arab Emirates warplanes.

This is what U.S. officials said, according to the New York Times.

Interestingly, the airstrikes were not coordinated with the U.S.: Washington was not even informed about the raids, even though some American planes have operated over Tripoli, supporting the recent evacuation of the US Embassy as well as performing surveillance missions in the area.

It looks like the aircraft (or most of them) launched from Egyptian airbases (although Cairo has always denied a direct involvement in Libya) with UAE Air Force providing aircrews, attack planes and aerial refuelers.

The first airstrikes hit various Islamist militias positions in Tripoli including an ammo depot. A second round of strikes concentrated in the southern part of the city where vehicles and rocket launchers were bombed.

Libyan authorities were unable to establish which was behind the mysterious airstrikes even if some debris, including a fin of the guidance kit for Mk 82s, pointed towards air forces equipped with aircraft capable to drop GBU-12 Paveway II 500-pound laser-guided bombs.

Now, American officials have unveiled the U.S. has collected enough evidence to determine UAE planes carried out the attacks.

Interestingly, UAE Air Force jets have already bombed Libya during 2011 Air War, when F-16s usually armed with 2 GBU-12s, 4 AIM-120 AMRAAMs and SNIPER pod (along with Mirage 2000s) took part in NATO’s Operation Unified Protector.

The airstrikes have failed to prevent militias from gaining control of Tripoli airport.

Image via anonymous source

Video shows C-130s flying at very low altitude through the valleys during Red Flag Alaska

If you thought low level flying was only for fighter planes, you were wrong. Watch how maneuverable a C-130 can be during a Red Flag sortie.

The following video shows a C-130H from the U.S. Air Force’s 36th Airlift Squadron, Yokota airbase Japan while conducting training operations during Red Flag Alaska 13-1. You can also spot another Hercules leading the formation through the valleys.

Even if low level videos usually feature fast jets, even cargo aircraft, often involved in special operations, reconnaissance, Search And Rescue, troops or humanitarian airdrops in troubled spots around the world, may have to fly (hence train) at low altitudes.

For instance, the low flying training of Royal Air Force C-130 Hercules pilots came in handy when they were tasked to rescue oil workers that were trapped in Libya in 2011, few weeks before the Air War kicked off. The C-130s coming from Malta flew at low level once over the desert and in hostile air space, picked up the oil workers at a small remote airfield and returned to Luqa flying, at very low altitude until they reached the boundaries of the Libyan airspace.

H/T to Militaryphotos.net

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U.S. deploys additional aircraft to Italy for possible Libya evacuation

In anticipation of possible evacuation of American officials from Libya, more Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and KC-130 tankers have been deployed to Sigonella.

With tension raising in Libya, a U.S. crisis-response team deployed to Sigonella, in southeastern Sicily, to prepare for a possible evacuation of American personnel from the embassy in Tripoli.

Seven MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft supported by three KC-130Js along with a force of about 180 Marines and sailors have been forward deployed to Italy. They will be joined by another Osprey expected in the next few hours.

If called to facilitate the evacuation of the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya, the aircraft would be able to reach the Tripoli in little more than one hour. Indeed, Sigonella is the perfect location to launch a Special Operation in North Africa.

Actually, this is not the first the U.S. has reinforced its presence in Sicily since the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that cost the life of ambassador Chris Stevens and three others.

Immediately after the deadly attack, the Pentagon mobilized a Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST), an expeditionary group of skilled and very well equipped Marines capable to reinforce U.S. security forces at embassies and other key installations around the world, to the Mediterranean region.

Last October some 250 marines (200 according to some sources) were deployed from Moron, Spain, to Sigonella, to face potential threats to U.S. diplomats in Libya, that could be sparked by the Delta Force raid to capture Abu Anas al Libi, Al Qaeda leader in the North African country.

In May 2013, 500 American marines were moved from Spain to Sigonella amid growing tensions in Libya.

The Crisis Response Team took also part in embassy evacuations in South Sudan, in December last year during which a CV-22 of the Air Force Special Operations Command was hit by ground fire.

Sigonella, is one of NATO’s largest airbases in southern Europe; it often hosts U.S. warplanes on deployment, tanker aircraft supporting them as well as drones spying on Mali, Global Hawks involved in the search for 200 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria, and maritime patrol aircraft.

Image credit: U.S. Marine Corps


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All you need to know about last week’s B-2 stealth bombers round trip mission across the Atlantic

On Sept. 13, two B-2A Spirit stealth bombers out of Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, flew a round-robin mission across the Atlantic.

What someone saw as a rehearsal of an eventual air strike on Syria, was (more or less) a standard mission aimed at testing the U.S. capability to launch “Global Strike” missions across the globe from CONUS (Continental US).

As happened during the North Korea crisis, when a B-2 reached South Korea amid threat of a ballistic missile launch by Pyongyang, or during the war in Libya, when two Spirit bombers performed a real bombing run on Gaddafi’s airports taking off from their base in Missouri.

But, whereas the attack on Libya had been really “stealth” (since the bombers used a REACH callsign, usually allocated to tanker, transport and support aircraft to go unnoticed among airband listeners) the entire flight of the two B-2s across the Pond on Sept. 13 was not only announced by the deployment of an E-6 Mercury in Europe, but was also very well documented by North American and British milair monitors.

Among them, “Rich”, an expert in the field, who has logged the entire 20-hour mission and has provided The Aviationist the following detailed log.

Two B-2A Spirits, callsign HAMAL 11/12 took off in the early hours of September 13 and conducted a global power mission over the north Atlantic.

They refuelled over Nova Scotia at 0800z with two KC135s callsign ETHYL B1/B2.

After an hour of refuelling they routed overhead Newfoundland before heading east across the Atlantic ocean.

Two KC-135s from Fairchild McConnell AFB, callsign SPUR 57/58 forward deployed to RAF Mildenhall a few days previously and were tasked to conduct the Bombers second Air Refuelling which took place around 44N22W around 1230z, a few hundred miles west of Spain.

After the second air refuelling, the bombers headed south down the Portuguese FIR before routing back west towards Newfoundland for their third air refuelling over Nova Scotia with two more KC-135s, ETHYL B3/B4. The B-2As then transited back to Whiteman AFB.

As well as the six KC-135s to refuel the bombers, the B-2s were also supported by a forward deployed E-6B Mercury which was TDY (Temporary Deployed) at Stuttgart.

Using callsign RAZZ02 with the ATC (Air Traffic Control) the E-6 acted as SKYMASTER for the bombers using the callsign of AUDIO KIT throughout the second half of the mission. The E-6B set up an orbit in the western half of the Bay of Biscay.

This time the mission was monitored from the beginning to the end. If it were a real combat sortie, very few details would have been broadcast for anybody to hear. Hopefully…..

Image credit: Christoper A. Ebdon

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