Tag Archives: Mirage 2000

Greek Mirage 2000-5 Crashes Over Aegean Sea; IL-76 Transport Down in Algeria.

Both Accidents in Different Regions on Thursday Resulted in Fatalities.

Two significant military aviation accidents occurred on Thursday, April 12, 2018. One in the Aegean Sea near the Greek Isles, the other one, in Algeria, Africa.

A Hellenic (Greek) Air Force Mirage 2000-5 aircraft crashed near the Greek Isle of Skyros in the Aegean Sea on Thursday. The aircraft was returning from an intercept mission on Turkish Air Force F-16s. In spite the initial reports, the crash of the Mirage 2000-5 was unrelated to the earlier “engagement” with the Turkish aircraft and occurred after the aircraft were in proximity of each other.

The Greek news outlet Ekathimerini reported that “The Mirage 2000-5 jet fell some nine miles northeast of the island [Skyros] which is part of the Sporades group near the central Aegean,” according to a statement issued by the Hellenic Air Force. “According to Greek defense sources, the Mirage had been one of two Greek jets on a mission to intercept Turkish jets in the Aegean earlier in the day.” The news outlet went on to report that the same sources said they did not believe any hostile activity was involved in the accident. The crash is reported to have occurred sometime around noon local time on Thursday.

A Turkish language publication, Milliyet.com.tr, named the pilot of the Greek Mirage 2000-5 as 34-year-old pilot was named Captain Giorgos Baltadoros of the 331 Air Force Squadron from Tanagra. Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos wrote on Twitter that Capt. Baltadoros was, “A hero who fell in the fight to defend our national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

the official photo of Captain Giorgios Baltadoros, assigned to 331 Squadron.

The Mirage 2000-5 is a successful French designed multi-role supersonic delta wing combat aircraft built by the Dassault company in France. The Hellenic Air Force ordered 15 of this, latest version of the Mirage aircraft in August of 2000. The Greeks already operated a force of 40 earlier model Dassault Mirage 2000 aircraft. The Dassault Mirage is a common combat aircraft throughout the Mediterranean, Africa and Middle East and boasts a proven combat record.

The Mirage 2000-5 pilot was identified as 34-year old Captain Giorgios Baltadoros from Tanagra, Greece. (Photo: EPT1 Greek News)

In a separate, unrelated crash on Thursday a Russian-built, Algerian Air Force Ilyushin Il-76 heavy transport crashed after takeoff from Boufarik military airport, west of Algiers, Algeria. The aircraft was en route to Bechar and Tindouf in the south-west of Algeria according to a report filed by the BBC World News.

News outlets throughout Africa, Asia and Europe are reporting up to 257 fatalities from the crash. This is the largest number of people to perish in an aviation accident since the July 2014 crash of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 when it was shot down over eastern Ukraine. All 298 people on board flight MH17 died in the 2014 crash.

Some persons on board the Algerian Air Force IL-76 were taken to hospital after rescue operations began according to Algerian authorities as reported by the BBC. No other reliable information has been seen about possible survivors.

Based on photos and video from the crash scene, the aircraft appeared to have gone down during daylight hours. The BBC reported that, “A military aviation observer told the BBC that, based on how intact portions of the plane were, they believed the pilot had tried to crash-land.” There has been no confirmation of that report from Algerian sources.

The Ilyushin Il-76 is a large, four jet engine heavy transport aircraft built in Russia. It is roughly similar in basic configuration to the U.S. built C-17 Globemaster III. The aircraft is valued for its heavy payload capability and the ability to land and take-off from unimproved runways making it well suited for operations on the African continent. The Algerian Air Force is reported to operate a total of 17 of the heavy jet transports. The Ilyushin IL-76 (NATO reporting name “Candid”) is widely used by military and commercial air transport services around the world and has an excellent safety record for such a prolific aircraft. The IL-76 first flew in March 1971.

Top image: An Algerian IL-76 (left) and Greek Mirage 2000-5 both crashed on Thursday. (Photo: via Wikipedia)

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 Force B-52s take part in French-led CAS exercise “Serpentex” for the first time

U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers deployed to Moron Air Base have joined French Air Force fighters in CAS exercise

Taken on Mar. 1, 2016 the photo in this post shows a French Air Force Mirage 2000 performing a friendly intercept of a U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress belonging to the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana in the skies over Northern France.

This aircraft, which is one of the three BUFFs deployed to Moron Air Base, Spain, in the last days, was intercepted during its flight to Norway for NATO exercise Cold Response 16.

Currently these B-52s are participating in close air support (CAS) exercise Serpentex 16 hosted by France in the Mediterranean Sea.

Kicked off on Mar. 7, Serpentex is an annual exercise that involves joint terminal attack controllers (JTACs) from many partner countries.

The JTACs operate on the French Island of Corsica and work together to practice identifying targets and using that data to call in air strikes from nearby French and American aircraft.

Serpentex differs from other joint military exercises held in the region because it focuses on close air support only: in fact, during the drilsl, the B-52s joined with French fighters to support JTACs from several NATO nations, as well as those from Jordan and Saudi Arabia, who are also participating this year.

The presence of the B-52, which is taking part in exercise Serpentex for the very first time, represents a great training opportunity for the JTACs. “Most of them haven’t worked with bombers for these types of missions before. We have a longer duration and a lot wider turn radius than some of the fighters, so they’re going to have to find a new pacing for calling us in for close air support. But I promise that bomber CAS is worth the wait” Maj. Sarah Fortin, the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron assistant director of operations, said in a USAF release.

Noteworthy, whilst CAS role has traditionally been filled by various fighter platforms, the BUFF is well-suited for the mission since is able to loiter for extended periods and carrying a wider range of munitions than any other aircraft in the U.S. inventory.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

A dozen French Air Force jets conducted massive air strikes against ISIS targets in Raqqa, Syria

France strikes back with Rafale and Mirage 2000 jets.

According to the French MoD (Ministry of Defense), a dozen French aircraft conducted air strikes against ISIS targets located in Raqqa, Syria on Nov. 15.

The aircraft, Mirage 2000N and Mirage 2000Ds and Rafales, were launched at 19.50 and 20.25 CET, struck an Islamic State command center and a training camp: about 20 targets even though there are reports of more buildings hit by the French bombs.

The raids come about 48 hours seven coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris killed 132 people and injuring 352.

Raqqa is an ISIS stronghold. It was reported earlier on Sunday Nov. 15 that the U.S. intelligence has intercepted communications between Raqqa and the terrorists in Paris ahead of the deadly attack on Friday Nov. 13.

The aircraft that took part in the “massive” airstrike in Raqqa are part of Operation Chammal, the French air campaign in Iraq and Syria launched on Sept. 19, 2014 and consisting of 12 tactical jets (six Rafale, three Mirage 2000D and three Mirage 2000N aircraft) and one Atlantique 2 MPA (Maritime Patrol Aircraft). On Sept. 27, five Rafale jets, an Atlantique 2 and a C-135 tanker aircraft “launched by airbases located in Jordan and the Persian Gulf,” were involved in the first French mission against an ISIS training camp in Syria as part of Operation Chammal.

[Video] Russian strategic bomber films British and French jets escorting it

British and French fighter jets shadow a Russian Tu-95 bomber, and surprisingly the footage is recorded by the crew members of the Tu-95.

Here is an interesting video filmed from inside a Tu-95 Bear escorted by Royal Air Force Typhoons and French Air Force Mirage 2000s during one of the recent missions of the Russian Air Force strategic bombers in northern Europe.

Even though RAF jets were scrambled on Feb. 18 to intercept two Tu-95MS bombers off the Cornwall coast, the footage was probably filmed on Jan. 29, when two Bears, accompanied by Mig-31 Foxhound long-range interceptors, were refueled twice by Il-78 Midas aerial refuelers and were intercepted and escorted by RAF Typhoons, Norwegian F-16s and French Mirage 2000s at various stages of their trip.

Indeed, the video briefly shows also an armed French Mirage shadowing the Russian Bear.

H/T to Ka Kiu Chan for the heads up