Tag Archives: North American Aerospace Defense Command

Northrop Grumman has just released an animation that shows how 6th Generation fighters might look like

Northrop Grumman has just launched a new ad that teases next generation fighter jets.

One year ago, Northrop Grumman, at that time competing with Lockheed Martin and Boeing for the LRS-B ( Long Range Strike-Bomber) released an interesting ad that teased the shape of the next generation bomber.

Earlier today, the aerospace giant released a new ad that clearly shows, along with a B-2 and some X-47B UCAVs, three 6th Gen. fighters: the new tailless concept, already exposed by some renderings last year, features the “cranked kite” design that’s in vogue with Northrop Grumman, which built the U.S. Air Force iconic B-2 stealth bombers the X-47B naval killer-drone demonstrator and the still much secret RQ-180 unmanned aerial vehicle surveillance aircraft.

The so-called Next Generation Air Dominance concept points towards a small and much agile plane, rumored to be supersonic, long-range, cyber-resilient against threats of the future interconnected world, and able to carry laser-weapons.

U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors covered Pope Francis’s Boeing 777 during his US tour.

A photo unveiled the presence of two Raptors close to “Shepherd One.”

During Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, the U.S. government carried out one of the largest domestic protective security operations in its history.

In fact, each U.S. military branch, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Secret Service (which is usually tasked to protect US president and vice president), and local-state police departments, joined together conducting a huge escort operation  to safeguard the Pope from a wide variety of attack possibilities.

As unveiled by Ian D’Costa in his article “America Deployed its Best Fighter to Cover the Pope’s Tour of the Country,” on Tacairnet.com, it seems that this impressive contingent also included the Lockheed Martin F-22, the U.S. Air Force fifth generation stealth fighter.

Indeed, as reported by D’Costa, shortly after Pope’s American Airlines Boeing 777 departed from New York heading to Philadelphia, a planespotter named Robert Dube, took a picture of an Airbus taking off from John F. Kennedy international airport with a KC-10 Extender refuelling a pair of F-22s in the background (top image).

Considered that Raptors don’t refuel over Manhattan or nearby too often, it is safe to assume that the aircraft were  deployed to counter a potential terrorist attack conducted by using a hijacked airliner.

Anyway the U.S. Air Force would have not allowed to any aircraft to penetrate the bubble erected to protect “Shepherd One” (as the aircraft in which the Pontiff is flying is nicknamed) and its most advanced air superiority fighter has been the best option to deter an intervention from any potential airborne threat.

Needless to say, it was probably not the only type of aircraft the Air Force committed to such task.

The Pope's return flight to Rome could be tracked online on Flightradar24.com

The Pope’s return flight to Rome could be tracked online on Flightradar24.com

Top image credit Robert Dube via Ian D’Costa (Tacairnet.com).

 

U.S. F-22s, F-15s intercepted two pairs of Russian Tu-95 bombers off Alaska and California on July 4th

Russian bombers flew off Alaska and California during Independence Day and were intercepted by U.S. Air Force jets.

Twice on Jul. 4, Russian Tu-95 Bear bombers on long-range patrol missions were intercepted by U.S. jets scrambled from airbases located on the West Coast.

According to Fox News, the first security alert occurred at 10:30 a.m. ET when the Russian nuclear-capable bombers flew off the coast of Alaska and two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor jets were scrambled from their base at Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson in Alaska to intercept the Tu-95s.

The second scramble was ordered at 11.00 when 144th Fighter Wing’s F-15s from Fresno, California, were scrambled to intercept what has been described as another pair of Tu-95 Bear bombers flying off California.

Intercept missions of Russian bombers flying not far from the Continental US (sometimes some hundred miles off) are far from being a routine. In fact, not always are U.S. (or Canadian) fighter jets launched to intercept these “zombies”: in 2014, only 6 out of 10 “incursions” saw U.S. or Canadian aircraft scramble against Moscow’s long-range attack aircraft.

For instance, during the first such incidents this year, on Apr. 22, when two Russian Tu-95 Bear H bombers flew into the U.S. Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), no U.S. aircraft was dispatched to identify and escort the strategic bombers most probably probing North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) response times.

Interestingly, the Tu-95s were launched over the Pacific Ocean on a long-range flight few days after the flight ban (following the mishap that saw a Bear skid off the runway and catch fire at Ukrainka airfield that caused the death of one crew member) was lifted.

Top image: file photo of a U.S. Air Force F-22 escorting a Tu-95 Bear (USAF)

 

F-16, F-15 jets and KC-135 tanker aircraft took part in escort mission of unresponsive plane crashed off Jamaica

A Socata TBM-700 flown by a non-responsibe pilot crashed 14 miles off Jamaica, while enroute to Naples, Florida. Several U.S. Air Force plane took part in the escort mission.

On Sept. 5, a Socata TBM-700, N900KN, departed at 08.26LT from Rochester, New York, end en route to Naples, Florida, whose pilot had become unresponsive, crashed 14 miles off the coast of Jamaica, after running out of fuel.

The pilot had requested the Air Traffic Control to descend to a lower altitude because of a problem but became unresponsive as the TBM-700 was flying at FL250.

Military Radio Comms Expert Allan Stern monitored most of the flights involved in the escort of the unresponsive private plane and his logs helped us to draw a more detailed picture of the U.S. Air Force’s response to the emergency.

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Image credit: U.S. Air Force

At 10.00 NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) scrambled two F-16s out of McEntire ANGB, South Carolina, callsign “Stalk 52”. The two “Vipers” escorted the TBM-700 until they were reached by a flight of two F-15s, belonging to the Florida Air National Guard, out of Jacksonville, Florida, radio callsign “Lucky 01”.

The fighter planes were heard on frequency 141.625 talking one another about the TBM plane flown by a non-responsive pilot who was slumped forward.

Both tried to contact the pilot on VHF Emergency “Guard” frequency 121.5 MHz.

The interceptors were supported by “Gasman 02”, an Alabama ANG KC-135R, 58-0106, out of Birmingham AL, under control of NORAD’s Huntress on UHF frequency 260.9.

As the TBM-700 continued to fly southbound, they switched to Miami Control at Palm Beach, on frequency 270.325.

Later on, Stern heard “Stalk 52” as it was RTB (returning to base) to McEntire, telling NORAD’s Huntress on 228.9, that he was able to see the pilot slumped over, but that the pilot began to breath when the plane descended to lower altitude, indicating that he had been oxygen starved.

The two F-15s shadowed the unresponsive plane until it entered the Cuban airspace. The TBM-700, overflew Cuba and started to lose altitude approaching Jamaica. It crashed about 14 miles off the coast of Port Antonio, Jamaica at about  2:15 p.m. EDT.

Flightradar24 TBM700

Image credit: Flightradar24.com

 

Russian Bombers Fly 50 Miles off California. F-22s and F-15s intercept them.

Four Russian Air Force Tu-95 Bear were intercepted by F-22s near Alaska. Two of the strategic bombers came within 50 miles from California Coast.

As we reported few days ago, a U.S. Air Force RC-135U performing a routine surveillance mission in international airspace over the Sea of Okhotsk, north of Japan, some 60 miles off eastern Russia on Apr. 23, was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 Flanker.

Just in case you though only U.S. (spy)planes fly in the vicinity of the Russian airspace, the Washington Free Beacon unveiled that U.S. fighter planes were scrambled to intercept four Tu-95 Bear H bombers, two of those came within 50 miles of California coast.

Two USAF F-22 Raptor stealth jets, most probably from 3rd Wing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson intercepted the “intruders”, that were seemingly conducting a training attack run, over the Aleutians.

Then, two of the four Tu-95s headed back home, whereas the remaining two flew off Northern California, triggering another alert scramble by NORAD (North America Aerospace Defense Command) that dispatched two F-15s to intercept and shadow the Russians.

According to the defense officials who talked to the Free Beacon, the bombers were supported on their (typical) long range mission by two IL-78 tankers .

Even if such close encounters are quite normal across the world, we can’t but notice that they have become at least more frequent in the last couple of years.

For sure Russia’s annexation of Crimea and growing tension between Washington and Moscow have given headlines like “Tu-95s flying close to Guam“, “Su-27s performing reckless interception of U.S. spyplanes“, “B-52s and B-2s temporarily deployed to the UK” and so on, a completely new meaning.

Top: File Photo of F-22 intercepting Tu-95 (U.S. Air Force)