Tag Archives: Polish Air Force

M-346 advanced jet trainer’s Helmet Mounted Display for the Polish Air Force’s F-16 Block 52+ pilots

Last year, during the Farnborough International Airshow 2012, I had the opportunity to fly with the M-346 “Master” advanced jet trainer simulator.

During that flight, I had the opportunity to try the M-346’s HMD (Helmet Mounted Display), designed by the VSI, the same firm that manufactures the JHMCS (Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System).

Built around the HGU-55P flight helmet, the new, futuristic device is currently being offered to the Polish Air Force to train student pilots destined to the F-16 Block 52+.

In fact, in connection with the advanced jet trainer tender recently launched by the Polish Ministry of Defence, Alenia Aermacchi has signed a series of agreements with the Polish aerospace industry covering  joint development of technologies, and the M-346, the most advanced jet trainer and Lead-in fighter trainer available on the market that has returned to flight on Aug. 22, after the precautionary grounding that followed the loss of the second prototype on May 11, is among the candidates for the fleet of new Polish Air Force trainers, to be delivered between 2015 and 2017.

Alenia Aermacchi has strengthened its footprint in Poland with collaboration agreements with the Polish aerospace industry. Such agreemets.

Indeed, the HMD would enable them to develop skills in the use of advanced weapons systems management in operations fully representative of modern combat aircraft, making their training even more cost effective.

According to Alenia Aermacchi, that is showcasing the MSPO – International Defence Industry Exhibition at Targi Kielce, the HMD is particularly useful in those missions where the trainee employs the Embedded Tactical Training System (ETTS) for sensor and weapons systems training.

“In these missions the HMD demonstrates its outstanding capability to augment the pilot’s Situational Awareness (SA), both in Air-To-Air and Air-To-Ground missions. Optically integrated with the M-346 Head-Up Display (HUD), the M-346 HMD provides training in the combined use of HMD and HUD provided information, employing both on and off boresight targeting techniques.

The M-346 HMD is particularly effective during off boresight “target tracking”; tactical symbology is displayed on the helmet visor and provides targeting and tracking information in direct view allowing the student to concentrate on performing tactical maneuvers and weapon release in pursuit of his mission objective.”

The HMD, that supports all the most common NVGs (Night Vision Goggles) can also be used to to train Weapon System Officers.

M-346 HMD close-up

Image credit: Alenia Aermacchi


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Some of the most interesting “hardware” showcased at this year’s Radom Air Show in Poland

On Aug. 24. and 25 Radom Sadków Airfield in south-central Poland hosted one of the largest air shows in Eastern Europe.

This year’s Radom Air Show was somehow unique, as it marked the 95th anniversary of the Polish military aviation.

To celebrate the event, Polish Air Force aircraft performed a unique flypast, including some interesting formations, featuring MiG-29 and F-16 aircraft.

The air show was also an opportunity to have a close look at some candidates of the current Polish modernization programs.

For instance, when it comes to the Army chopper bid, every player did appear both on the static and dynamic displays. The company representatives and the pilots were open to the questions. Eurocopter brought in some French pilots who did fly the Cougar in the tough conditions of Afghanistan.

The Eurocopter’s dynamic display was particularly interesting due to the CSAR demo. The helo performed a combat pickup in  with special forces using the Fast Rope.

Image Credit: Jerzy Siminski

Poland also seeks to replace the old Iskra trainers.

The AJT programme deadline for accepting the offers was set on Jun. 7, 2013. Four companies proposed their designs. One resigned – it was the Czech company Aero Vodochody that opted out oficially due to the unclear bid conditions).

BAe Systems brought their full-sized airplane to the show, the newest version of the Hawk, that turned out to be the only jet training plane still eventually attending the air show.

The new Hawk is particularly interesting, due to its simulated radar system; tt does not carry a radar but the instructor may use an avionics system to simulate A2A and G2A engagements with an incredible fidelity.

The Hawk is also the sole out of the three competitors that has been used and checked quite thoroughly. RAF uses it to train the Typhoon pilots. It does not use fly-by-wire system like the Typhoon does. At the Air Show I had an opportunity to speak to one of the BAe engineers, who said that this was done deliberately to teach the pilot how to recognize the end of a flying envelope.

The Polish Air Force did a presentation of the most of their flying machines, both in dynamic and static displays, including the MiG-29 with Kościuszko sign on its back.

Image Credit: Andrzej Rogucki

All the helicopter types that fly in the Afghan theatre could also be spotted.

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Image Credit: Jerzy Siminski

The static display also featured some interesting Western aircraft, including RNLAF F-16 with a special color scheme, portraying Diana, the goddes of hunting on the vertical fin. Another special colored bird, a Czech Gripen in a NATO Tiger Meet paint scheme made its appearance in a dynamic display.

Image Credit Jerzy Siminski

One of the most spectacular displays featured tw0 F-16s and two Su-22M4 bombers simulating a CAS mission. The demonstration included explosions on the airfield surface.

Polish Air Force display teams did also have a dynamic display.

Firstly it was the Orlik Team, flying PZL-130 Orlik turboprop planes and Team White-Red Sparks, flying old Polish Jet Trainers, TS-11 Iskra (which means Spark in Polish). The Iskras have a long history, flying the same aircraft since 1991 and making several appearances on international air shows, including the last year’s anniversary MAKS show in Moscow.

Image Credit: Andrzej Rogucki

Out of the unique opportunities at Radom Air Show one could see a Su-27 and MiG-21 displays. The ex-Soviet aircraft are still a rare sight at any show outside the Russian borders.

Out of the aerobatic teams, two made noteworthy appearances. The Patrouille Suisse have shown an impressive skill in their formation flying. Moreover, the F-5  being so fast a jet made the display very spectacular.

And Wings of Storm from Croatian Air Force, flying on PC.9 airplane. The team has shown some unique maneuvers that are not performed by any aerobatic team worldwidely, including a formation tailslide.

Other teams that took part in the display were the Baltic Bees, flying L-159 ALCAs and Finland’s Midnight Hawks.

Contrary to the British RIAT rules, the safety regulations allow the pilots in Radom to use the flares during the displays. The flares were used by many machines, but one of the most spectacular application could be seen in RNLAF AH-64 Apache display with an unusual series of maneuvers, including a high barell roll and tailslide.

Image Credit: Andrzej Rogucki

There were many F-16s including RNLAF, Solo Turk and Hellenic AF display and Belgian team acts.

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Image Credit: Andrzej Rogucki

Another interesting display was the one of an Italian C-27J which performed loops and rolls.

Summing up, Radom was a successful event with several interesting attendees, nice weather and high clouds that offered incredible backgrounds to the photographers.

Static display photos credit: Jerzy Siminski

Dynamic display photos credit: Andrzej Rogucki

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist


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Cold War planes (including some special colors) to star at Radom Air Show in Poland

One of the biggest Air Shows in the Mid-Eastern part of Europe will take place on Aug. 24 and 25 at Radom, central Poland.

The Radom Air Show offers a rare occasion to see several Cold War planes (as well as some Western ones) during one event. It is a rarity for Russian aerobatic teams to perform outside the Russian borders (with a few exceptions, as this year’s show in Kecksemet, Hungary), so if one wants to spot a MiG-29 or Su-22 – Radom is the place to go.

Speaking of Soviet designs, two Ukrainian Su-27’s are to come to Radom, accompanied with an Il-76 transport. According to the official website of the show this will be their first appearance on a foreign show since 10 years.

What is more, Romanian MiG-21 Lancer is also going to take part in a dynamic display. It is now a very rare sight to see a Fishbed on any European Air Show.


Image credit: RoAF

Among the Polish aircraft to take part in the airshow, a Polish Navy Aviation SH-2G chopper stationed in the 43. AB of Navy Aviation in Gdynia, will wear a special color scheme to celebrate the service’s 10th anniversary.

The Kaman helicopters are an integral part of Oliver Hazard Perry rocket frigates that Polish Navy got from the U.S.

The choppers have served in the Navy aviation since the October 2002, when the first two examples arrived on board of ORP Gen. T Kościuszko. Subsequently two more Kamans arrived from Nordholz base in Germany.

It was August 2003 when the choppers achieved operational status.


Image credit: Lt. Artur Weber

The Navy Aviation will also present W-3R Anaconda chopper, Bryza reconnaisance aircraft and Mi-14PŁ ASW chopper with special markings on a static display.

Other interesting attendees are the White-Red Sparks, the Polish Air Force aerobatic team flying TS-11 Iskra old je trainers.

The team’s Iskras have alredy made their appearances on several international air shows, including MAKS show in Moscow and Frecce Tricolori’s 50th Anniversary airshow in Rivolto.

Even the Polish Orlik aerobatic team, equipped with Orlik turboprop trainer aircraft will attend the airshow.

The abovementioned aircraft are just a few to be named that are to be a part of this year’s Radom Air Show.

The full programme of the show might be seen here.

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist



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China’s Air Force pilots visit NATO airbase

According to the official webppage of Krzesiny AB, the 31. Tactical Air Base near Poznan, Poland was visited by over 50 officials, including high officers of Chinese Air Force, as part of a study tour of Europe organized by the Command of People’s Republic of China Air Force.

Among the visitors there were commanders of squadrons, pilots of combat units and students of aviation schools.

The main aim of the Chinese visit was to get acquainted with the equipment used by the most modern F-16 base in the Central-Eastern Europe. The visitors were welcomed by Brigadier General Włodzimierz Usarek – the commander of the 2. Tactcal Aviation Wing, and Colonel Jacek Pszczoła – the commander of the 31. AB.

The guests were additionaly accompanied by the deputy chief of the Polish Air Force HQ, Brigadier General Krzysztof Żabicki and Colonel Piotr Cieślik, who is the chief for international relations in the Polish Air Force.

Image Credit: R. Najder

The guests got acquainted with the profile of the unit and the planes that were formerly used in the unit. Later on they went on to see a part of the most modern set of F-16s in Europe (Block 52+ airplanes).

Next they saw how the airfield fire service works and they were guided around the base.

The Chinese delegation had no opportunity to see all of the F-16 stationed normally in Krzesiny, as part of them is currently stationed in Łask AB. 25 F-16s and personnel needed to mantain the aircraft are stationed there due to the additional training that takes place in cooperation with the Nellis detatchment.

During the period of the training the runway in Krzesiny is to undergo routine maitenance.

It is quite interesting to see a visit of officials from a country that is considered as an adversary by NATO in one of the most modern bases in the Central-Eastern Europe.

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist


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Russia seeking for Antonov An-26 replacement

As defence24.pl reports, the Russian MoD has announced that it started to look for a replacement of the Antonov An-26 (NATO codename: Curl) plane.

Image credit: militarytechoperations.wordpress.com

Twin-engined turboprop aircraft are slowly coming to an end of their service life. What is more – they start to become obsolete. Yurij Borisov, the vice-minister for Russian defence has informed that two airplanes are considered to be the replacement for the old 26.

Two options are currently considered to replace the aircraft that has been in service since 1970s.

The first option is a transport derivative of An-140-100, which is to be a replacement for An-24/An-26. It was developed in Aviacor facility in Samara. It already has many users, what is more back in 2011 the Russian Air Force ordered a few of these in a passenger version. The transport version is able to handle 6 tons of load.

Image Credit: warfare.be

The alternative is the Il-112 by Ilyushin from WASO facility in Woronez. This design has been through many ups and downs, since despite it won the contest for An-26 replacement, the programme was hampered and ultimately put on hold back in 2011.

The Russian AF bought 7 pieces of An-140 instead and the programme was brought back to life last year.

Image Credit: transport.sk

No specific requirements as to the contract were given. The contest is still going on.

In the Polish Air Force An-26s were replaced by CASA C-295 airplanes.

Nonetheless, employing European design in Russia would be quite impossible, as Russia is governed by its own rights and the politics aim at supporting local companies.

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist

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