Tag Archives: Polish Air Force

Drone Revolution has just begun: Poland to replace Su-22 Fitter strike fighters with UCAVs (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles)

Poland is planning to replace its fleet of aging Soviet era Sukhoi Su-22M strike aircraft with an unmanned strike aircraft (UCAV) system.

According to Poland’s Ministry of Defense, a future procurement of some 30 armed unmanned aircraft equipping three squadrons by 2018 is being considered. Senior defense officials say Poland will not modernize the Soviet-built jets, first of which are to be withdrawn from service in 2014.

Image credit: Chris Lofting/Wiki

Polish military discussed the acquisition of a further squadron of F-16C/D fighter jets. However, the plan was eventually scrapped by the ministry. The Polish Air Force has 48 F-16C/D Block 52+ fighter jets which were purchased in 2004.

The arguments in favour for UCAV system are that the unmanned aircraft would be more affordable, particularly considering the logistical nightmare of maintaining the aging Soviet fighters and lack of spares for such platforms. UCAV could also operate on longer missions and the training of operators and support personnel will be cheaper.

Moreover, the deployment of unmanned aircraft, in support of NATO operations overseas or in support of other peacekeeping operations, would become more affordable and require smaller logistics, compared to similar operations performed by manned aircrafts.

The actual options are narrowed to 4 platforms – General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper, IAI/Malat Heron TP, Elbit Systems Hermes 900 and turkish TAI Anka, although its payload is limited compared to the other alternatives.

Image credit: NATO

The Su-22 has been in service in the Polish Air Force since 1984. This export variant of the Soviet Su-17M2, had fixed inner portions of the wing with movable outer segments which could be swept to 28°, 45°, or 62° and was first produced in 1976.

Of the total 110 fighters delivered from Russia only 45 are still operational – 38 Su-22M-4K and seven Su-22UM-3k two seaters. Three squadrons currently operating the Fitters are 8th Tactical Squadron at Miroslawiec and the 40th and 7th Tactical Squadrons at Swidwin where the new drones are planned to be stationed.

El Lince Analista  for TheAviationist.com

[HD Video] Hang onto the wing of a C-130 Hercules as it flies at tree top height in the valleys during Red Flag Alaska

As already explained, even in the hi-tech age of stealth bombers, low-level flying is still one of the most important parts of combat pilot training.

The fact that some recent scenarios give combat planes the opportunity to quietly operate at medium or high altitude with standoff weapons, because of the lack of anti-aircraft threats, doesn’t imply there’s no longer need to train for flying at low level.

Aircraft involved in special operations, reconnaissance, Search And Rescue, troops or humanitarian airdrops in trouble spots around the world may have to fly at low altitudes as this may be the best way to penetrate the enemy airspace avoiding detection by the enemy’s air defense system.

Even a stealth plane (or helicopter), spotted visually by an opponent, could be required to escape at tree top height to survive an engagement by enemy fighter planes or an IR guided missile.

Low level flying is quite demanding because of the risk involved with flying at high speeds few meters above the terrain. That’s why it’s still part of the Red Flag exercise.

In this impressive HD video, you’ll join a Polish Air Force C-130 as it flies at low altitude between the valleys of Alaska during a RF sortie.

Typhoons, Raptors, Vipers and Eagles at the latest Red Flag Alaska. With many firsts and lasts.

When you think of Red Flag, Nellis and the Nevada terrain immediately springs to mind.

But there is another Red Flag combat training exercise that takes place over the vast training areas of Alaska.

Noteworthy, the latest Red Flag-Alaska 12-2, at Eielson Air Force Base, with more than 100 aircraft and 2,500 personnel, has seen several firsts. It’s the first time U.S. Air Force’s F-22 Raptors have participated in Red Flag-Alaska, along with eight German Eurofighter Typhoons from Jagdgeschwader 74.

Another first is the participation of the Polish Air Force that has brought its F-16 Block 52 aircraft.

Japan is taking part as well, with its F-15J Eagles (somehow causing some confusion to the U.S. DoD Flickr uploaders – see caption).

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

All of the above are on the Blue Forces side and are training to work as a team with differing aircraft and capabilties.

Something Col. Andreas Pfeiffer of the German Airforce commented on when talking about the Raptor: he said that flying with the Raptor was an interesting experience “Its capabilities are overwhelming.”

Image credit: U.S. DoD

Blue forces flew up against the USAF’s 18th Aggressor Squadron flying F-16s replicating enemy aircraft like Su-27s, Su-30s and J-20s and providing the Germans with a unique training experience.

Elsewhere in Alaska but part of Red Flag-Alaska, Join Base Elemendorf-Richardson saw a visit by the Royal Australian Airforce with their C-130H, C-130J and their distinctive airborne early warning and control E-7A Wedgetail.

Whilst the Raptor, Eurofighter Polish Air Force are firsts, Red Flag-Alaska has also seen a possible last in the participation of the RAAF C-130H which is to be soon withdrawn from the Australian Air Force service.

Talking to the USAF website Group Capt. Donald Sutherland, the commanding officer of No.84 wing at RAAF Base Richmond and the Red Flag Group commander for the C-130 and Wedgetail said: “The C-130H is an aging platform that requires major fixes, it will be with much sadness that the RAAF retires the C-130H”. He went on “One thing we’re doing is using the complex ranged environment and the scenarios to transfer some of the skills that are resident in the veteran C-130H workforce across to the newer C-130J workforce.”

The RAAF has brought the E-7A Wedgetail to the Red Flag-Alaska for the first time. At a press conference Commanding Officer No.2 Squadron Wing Commander Paul Carpenter said: “We want to integrate with all the players so we can learn form them and in turn they can learn what our platform does.”

Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

International Fighter 2008

On Nov. 5 and 6, the Istituto di Scienze Militari Aeronautiche (ISMA), Italian Air Force Institute of Military Aeronautical Sciences in Florence, as part of the celebrations for the 70th anniversary of the institute, will host the International Fighter 2008 conference. This event is the only one in Europe dedicated to the analysis of air defence and strike fighter developments around the world and it is specifically tailored for both the Military and Industry representatives. The main themes deals with the Next Generation Fighter Capabilities and Upgrades (how the various nations are equipping aircraft currently in serive to face the new generation threats, how they are going to upgrade aircraft equipments and airframes to enhance air-to-air and strike capabilities, how the 5th generation systems are going to redefine the concept of multi-role aircraft) and the fighter requirements. In particular, this year’s edition of the conference include:

  • Canadian Forces’ Next Generation Fighter Capability
  • Royal Danish Air Force programme and requirements for replacing the in-service F-16 aircraft
  • Romanian Air Force replacement plans for the MiG-21
  • Swiss Armed Force’s New Fighter Aircraft programme designed to replace the F-5E Tiger fleet

Exclusive updates on the following programmes will be provided:

  • Swedish Air Force’s Gripen NG
  • US Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
  • Polish Air Force’s F-16 Fighting Falcon
  • MiG-35 Fighter
  • F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter
  • Romania’s MiG-21
  • Italian Air Force’s Eurofighter Typhoon
  • Royal Air Force’s Eurofighter Typhoon

Other discussed topics are the challenges faced by the USAF bringing the 5th Generation F-22A Raptor into service with the Langley-based 1st Fighter Wing and how the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNlAF) F-16s have been employed as the Air Task Force of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

For more information, you can visit the following website http://www.site-members.com/EventWebsites/11610.002/index.html
or http://www.aeronautica.difesa.it/SitoAM/Default.asp?idsez=3314&idente=458

Giornata Azzurra 2008 – pictures (part 1)

Blessed with good weather, this year’s edition of the Giornata Azzura was attended by more than 200.000 people on May 25. The two UAE Mirage 2000s and the accompanying C-130 were the most rare aircraft attending the show. The aircraft had arrived in the evening of May 23, even if there were rumors that the aircraft were scheduled for May 22, followed by the grey C-130. Pilots and military personnel were extremely polite, answered to all the questions made by the public and (unlike many others that sell their expensive Squadron’s memorabilia) offered the public a lot of presents (pins, stickers, etc), a sign of the prosperous Arab economics. Among the most photographed aircraft were the Romanian Air Force Mig-21 and AN-26 (arrived on May 23 after a stop in Istrana), the SH-3D in Special Colour scheme of the Belgian Air Force and the Turkish AF F-5 (that had arrived on May 22). The air display was focused on the tactical event that was described on a previous post on this site and that particularly interesting since it involved HH-3F, AB.212ICO, AMX, C-27J, C-130J, Tornado and F-2000 of the Italian Air Force in a simulated blitz to take an airport located at the border between two fighting countries. According to Pierfrancesco “Fats” Grassi, an F-16 driver of the 10th Gruppo, the Danish F-16 made one of the most technical display, not as “powerful” as the ones of the Belgian and Dutch Vipers, but probably more difficult. Other interesting displays were those of the Alenia M-346 , the AAR (Air to Air Refueling) demonstration of the KC-130J of the ItAF, the display of the CL-415 of the Protezione Civile, the Italian Army A-129s and Navy AV-8B and EH-101 ones, the one of the Italian Eurofighter, the Polish Team Orlik and the Patrouille de France and Frecce Tricolori. Unlike advertised, the B-1B did not perform the expected flyby, there was no B.767 used for the qualification of the ItAF pilots waiting for the delivery of the first KC-767 and there was no RAF Typhoon in static.