Tag Archives: RAF Waddington

[Video] Turkish F-16’s ultra low landing at Waddington Airshow

Solo Turk F-16 buzzes the heads of spotters and photographers outside the fence at UK airbase.

If you want to take nice, close up, footage or images of military aircraft on final approach, then RAF Waddington, in the UK (home of the British drone force) is the right airport for you.

Each time the local airshow attracts aircraft from all around the world, there is a good chance to take some interesting photographs or footage of warplanes coming low, very low, on final approach for landing.

The following video was filmed there, on Jul. 5, at the end of the display of the Turkish Air Force Solo Türk aerobatic display team’s F-16C Block 40.

By the way, it’s not only a matter of how low the pilot flew the final approach: there are airports in Europe where runway threshold is so close to the airfield perimeter that you can have your head buzzed by a plane’s landing gear.

 

New Video of British Killer Drones Incinerating Taliban in Afghanistan

We have seen several videos showing U.S. Reaper drones attacking Taliban in Afghanistan with rain of Hellfires.

But, since the RAF (Royal Air Force) operates just five of them, it’s much more difficult to find footage showing MQ-9 UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) do what they do better: spying on ground targets and individuals and kill them with either missiles or 500-lb LGBs (Laser Guided Bombs).

Provided the details are correct, the one below shows RAF Reaper drones carry out deadly air strikes in Afghanistan from their ground control station at RAF Waddington, in the UK. Previously, since 2007, RAF crews flew UAVs from Creech Air Force Base, Nevada.

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UK flying its MQ-9 Reaper UAVs from RAF Waddington as well as from Creech AFB, Nevada

British media outlets are reporting that the Royal Air Force is now flying its MQ-9 Reaper drones from Lincolnshire as well as from Creech Air Force Base, Nevada.

The Guardian has reported that the crews based at RAF Waddington are working in tandem with their colleagues in the U.S. providing round the clock operations in Afghanistan due to the time difference between the UK and US.

No 13 Squadron stood up at Waddington at the end of October to operate the MQ-9 Reaper alongside 39 Squadron based at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada.

The Sky News website quotes the British MoD as saying “XIII Sqn have commenced supporting ISAF and Afghan ground troops in Afghanistan with armed intelligence and surveillance missions, which are remotely piloted from RAF Waddington.”

The Guardian quoted a source as saying “We aren’t flying any more operations than we were before, but with the time differences between the US, Afghanistan and the UK, it is now possible for pilots at Waddington to work in relay with the those in the US.”

It is thought that the RAF has three control stations at its drone ‘hub’ at Waddington and these have gone through a very tough testing process to make sure these new stations are fit for purpose.

Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

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UK’s first RC-135W “Airseeker” intelligence gathering aircraft in service by the end of 2013

UK’s Royal Air Force will have the first of its planned three RC-135W aircraft, named the Airseeker project by the RAF (not clear if the aircraft is to be given that name or it’s just the name of the project) by December 2013.

Flight Global ran an article that padded out a few details on the British purchase of the Rivet-Joint aircraft.

The conversion of the ex-US Air Force KC-135 tankers started back in January 2011. The glass cockpit is well advanced in its installation and the first aircraft is thought to be rolling out for its paint scheme during January 2013, with flight testing and acceptance following soon after.

“A number of aircraft skins have been replaced to deal with corrosion and prepare the aircraft for its service life as an RC-135” UK’s Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) said in an article in its monthly publication “Decider”. “Additional work has included removing the tankers refuelling boom system, installing an air-to-air refuelling receiver system above the the cockpit, and replacing every wire in the aircraft. Mission equipment racks have also been fitted in the rear cabin, Progress in the aircraft is on schedule, with delivery on track for December next year.”

RAF crews have been undertaking training at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska on the RC-135V/W aircraft based there and once qualified on the Rivet Joint initial qualification training will be allowed to fly on the U.S Joint Rivet aircraft until the RAF aircraft are ready for service. The first crews arrived at Offutt during January 2011, therefore may have already qualified to operate the type.

The Airseeker aircraft will be operated by 51 Squadron flying from RAF Waddington, that flew the Nimrod until Jun. 29, 2011, when the last two examples of the SIGINT plane were withdrawn from service.

Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

RAF’s E-3D AWACS fleet grounded by a mystery fault

Media outlets in the UK have today reported of a press release from the British Ministry of Defense according to which the RAF’s fleet of seven E-3D AWACS aircraft has been grounded due to a technical issue discovered during routine maintenance.

The report doesn’t explain what the actual problem is (The Sun reported it as a crack in the dome) but it must be a major one to ground a whole fleet of such important planes nor it says if this fault is likely to affect all other E-3s or Boeing 707 derived aircraft in other U.S., NATO or other air forces service.

U.S. AWACS provide homeland security and air space management “services” to U.S. and allied planes in Afghanistan and all around the world.

The press release has been very keen to point out that there is no affect on operational capability as there are other aircraft that can perform the same task.

However, the only other aircraft in RAF inventory with similar capabilities is the Sentinel R.1, the air segment of the Airborne STand-Off Radar (ASTOR) system, that has proved to be particularly effective in Libya. The Sentinel use a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) to detect and track enemy ground forces so it is an ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) asset that, unlike the E-3, is not specialized in AEW (Airborne Early Warning) whose primary role is to detect, identify and track enemy aircraft (and guide fighter planes to intercept them).

Indeed, E-3D AWACS will be among the most important assets of the air contingent destined to ensure the security of this year’s London Olympic Games. Provided that the flight ban is lifted.

Once further details are released The Aviationist will provide an update.

Written with The Aviationist’s Editor David Cenciotti

Image credit: RAF /Crown Copyright