Tag Archives: NATO

U.S. F-15s and Romanian MiG-21s taking part in Dacian Eagle 2016 exercise in eastern Europe

Eagles and LanceRs at Campia Turzii airbase.

On Jul. 2, eight F-15C Eagles belonging to the 131st Fighter Squadron, Barnes Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts, and the 194th Fighter Squadron, Fresno Air National Guard Base, California, depolyed to the 71st airbase Campia Turzii, Romania, to take part in exercise Dacian Eagle 2016.

DNI_6390

The Eagles belong to 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 F-15Cs are spending 6 months in the European theater for a support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

DNI_6424

The arrival of these F-15s occurred on the same day the Romanian Air Force MiG-21s returned home after a few months deployment at the 95th Airbase in Bacau, while the runway at Campia Turzii was being repaired.

DNI_7982

Both aircraft types will take part in Dacian Eagle between July and September.

According to the Romanian Air Force, along with 200 American personnel from the California and Massachusetts ANG, more than 200 romanian pilots and technical personnel from the 71st Airbase are taking part with MiG 21 LancerRs and IAR 330 Puma helicopters (SOCAT and MEDEVAC) in the traditional drills at the 71st airbase with the purpose of increasing the level of preparation and interoperability between the participants.

DNI_7788

“The excercise is an opportunity to practice the techniques, tactics and standard procedures common in air operations, according to NATO standards by performing flights in cooperations with the American partners” and to deter further Russian aggression….

DNI_8101

The LanceRs are modernized MiG-21s that were given new avionics for all-weather operations, more modern avionics and the ability to employ PGMs (Precision Guided Munitions).

Although they have a limited endurance (30-45 minutes “play time”), the LanceRs are fast and maneuverable and quite good to perform the adversary role against more modern fighters.

They will start being replaced by F-16 MLUs starting this autumn.
DNI_8187

DNI_6263

DNI_8427

Image credit: Liviu Dnistran

Salva

Salva

Salva

U.S. Air Force F-22s deploy to Lithuania (as an RC-135W patrols the Baltic Sea)

Two Raptors have arrived at Siauliai Air Base, in Lithuania.

According to the information released by the U.S. Embassy in Vilnius, (two) F-22 stealth fighter jets have deployed to Siauliai Air Base, on Apr. 27.

Supported by a KC-135R (“Quid 177”), the F-22s (MONGL01 and 02) landed at the main NATO BAP (Baltic Air Patrol) airbase in Lithuania.

The aircraft belong to the contingent of 12 Raptors from 95th FS from Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, currently deployed to Europe and it’s still not clear how long they will remain there.

On Apr. 25, two F-22s deployed to a Romanian airbase on the Black Sea coast for a quick visit.

Interestingly, as noted by Interfax, the aircraft deployed more or less as an RC-135W from RAF Mildenhall carried out a routine (intelligence gathering) mission over the Baltic Sea using radio callsign “Abilo 71”.

On April 14, a U.S. Air Force RC-135  flying a routine mission (in international airspace) over the Baltic Sea was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 that performed a barrel roll over the American electronic intelligence gathering aircraft.

 

Russian aircraft occasionally intrude Israeli airspace, whereas Turkish jets regularly violate the Greek one.

Airspace violations are more frequent than one might believe.

On Nov. 24, a Russian Air Force Su-24M that allegedly violated the Turkish airspace was shot down by an AIM-120C air-to-air missile fired by a TuAF F-16 in Combat Air Patrol.

Although the details of the incident are quite controversial, with the Russians claiming that no violation occurred nor was the Fencer warned by the TuAF (that has since then suspended its flight over Syria) as Ankara has said since the beginning, it is safe to say that violations occur every now and then and rarely they end up with the downing of the intruder.

Indeed, violations of the Turkish airspace were reported few days after the Russian Air Force contingent deployed to Latakia, in northwestern Syria, started pounding FSA and IS targets across the country.

On Oct. 3 and 4, NATO said a Russian Air Force Su-30SM and Su-24 aircraft violated Ankara’s sovereign airspace in the Hatay region in spite of “clear, timely and repeated warnings.” In that case, the RuAF admitted the violations, claiming they were due to “navigation errors.” TuAF F-16s in QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) were scrambled to identify the intruder, after which the Russian planes departed Turkish airspace. During the Oct. 3 incident, the Russian Su-30SM maintained a radar lock on one or both the F-16s for a full 5 minutes and 40 seconds: a quite unusual and provoking conduct by the Russian pilots.

Following the first incidents, Ankara said it would shot down any aircraft violating their sovereign airspace as done in the past with a Syrian Mig-23, a Mi-17 and an Iranian made Mohajer 4 UAV.

Whilst the alleged violation of the Turkey-Syria border by the Russian Su-24 is far from being unexpected considered the amount of intrusions reported since the beginning of October, far more surprising is the news that the Russians have also violated the Israeli airspace more than once in the past weeks.

“Russian pilots occasionally cross into Israeli airspace, but due to excellent defense coordination that began with Netanyahu’s meeting with Putin in which limits were set, the Israel Defense Forces and the Russian military agreed on security arrangements,” said General (res.) Amos Gilad, head of the Israeli Defense Ministry’s political-security division, as reported to Israeli media outlets.

The security protocol established between Israel and Russia should prevent incident like the one of Nov. 24 and the subsequent diplomatic crisis.

He added, “In the understandings with the Russians, we retain freedom of action in our attempts to prevent weapons getting through from Iran to Hezbollah.”

Violations regularly occur somewhere else.

The skies over the disputed islands of the Aegean Sea are often violated by the Turkish Air Force F-16s and F-4s.

Greece claims 10 miles of air space around a chain of Greek islands lined up along the Turkish west coast, part of those are in very close proximity to the mainland, while Turkey recognizes only six miles (that is to say the extent of the Greek territorial waters, recognized by each other).

Many of the incidents take place within the four-mile radius, which Athens considers its sovereign airspace and Ankara considers international one; however, according to several reports, there are a number of unauthorised Turkish military flights directly over Greek islands themselves.

An article published by Politico last summer reported figures from research at the University of Thessaly, according to which there were 2,244 incursions of Turkish fighter jets and helicopters in 2014 alone.

Although it’s unclear how many of those +2,000 occurred within the contentious 4NM airspace (nor do we know the figures of the Greek violations logged on average by the Turkish Air Force besides this data from 2012), it’s quite clear that a border incident similar to the Russian Su-24 shoot-down is always around the corner over the Aegean Sea. Like the one that led to dogfight and subsequent a mid-air collision in 2006 (causing the death of a Greek pilot).

Anyway, although they were pretty upset by the Russian violation on Nov. 24, the Turkish authorities should be quite used to such kind of incursions, from both the intruder and the intruded standpoint.

GreekAirspace

Image credit: Russian MoD (Top), Politico (Bottom).

 

Here are the first pictures of the U.S. F-22s deploying to Poland for the very first time

Two Raptors have deployed to Lask, along with four F-16s and one C-130.

Two of the four F-22 Raptor jets belonging to 95th Fighter Squadron from Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, currently deployed to Spangdahlem airbase, in Germany, have landed at Łask airbase, in Poland, at 08.30 local time (06,30 UTC).

In this post you can find some shots taken by Filip Modrzejewski, chief editor of the Foto Poork portal.

F-22s in Poland_02

The forward presence of the Raptors in Poland is aimed at reassuring allies in Europe and bolstering regional security proving the 5th Gen. stealth jet’s ability to quickly deploy to the European theater: the F-22s returned to Spangdahlem to continue their deployment later on the same day.

F-22s in Poland_05

Along with the F-22s, four F-16s from the 480th Fighter Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, taking part in bilateral training with the Polish Air Force (during which they will be joined by additional F-16s from the 176th Fighter Squadron, Wisconsin Air National Guard, in early September) deployed to Lask.

F-22s in Poland_06

F-22s in Poland_07

F-22s in Poland_08

F-22s in Poland_10

Photo Credit: Filip Modrzejewski – Foto Poork

 

This infographic gives some interesting details about the four NATO exercises taking place in Eastern Europe

A series of training events is taking place in eastern Europe.

NATO and regional Allies are involved in a series of training events in eastern Europe that go under the name of Allied Shield.

Allied Shield is a series of exercises that includes:

Exercise NOBLE JUMP, the first training deployment of Allied high-readiness units under the new Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) framework.

BALTOPS, a major Allied naval exercise in Poland that sees the involvement of the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command’s B-52 Stratofortress bombers deployed to RAF Fairford, in UK, as well as NATO AWACS, US F-16s used as OPFOR (opposing forces), P-3 and P-8 Maritime patrol aircraft, German Tornados, Swedish Gripen and US KC-135 tankers.

SABER STRIKE, a big land exercise with forces scattered across the Baltic States.

TRIDENT JOUST, a NRF (NATO Response Force) command and control exercise in Romania.

According to NATO, approximately 15,000 troops from 19 different allied countries and 3 partner nations are taking part (or about to) in this series of training events whose purposes are “defensive and are a part of NATO’s assurance measures in response to challenges on NATO’s southern and eastern periphery.”

In other words, these are just some of the measures NATO has taken in the region to reassure local allies threatened by Russia.

Click here to open a larger version of the infographic.

Image credit: de Volkskrant