Tag Archives: RAF

French Navy Rafales grounded by a computer virus

French Navy (Marine Nationale) has recently admitted that the Conficker worm struck some important systems preventing operative units to download their flight plans as databases were infected. Even if warnings about the risk of being attacked by the virus had been issued in October 2008, the French military authorities did not install the required security patches on their Windows systems, issued by Microsoft on Oct. 15, 2008. Conficker targets the Microsoft Windows operating system and exploits a known vulnerability in the Windows Server service used by Windows 2000, WinXP, Vista, Windows Server 2K3 and Windows Server 2K8. When executed, the worm disables some system services (as the Win Update, the Security Center and the Personal Firewall), then connects to a server to download other malware, to gather information stored in the computer or to propagate to another target. According to the information released by the French military, the proliferation of the worm caused the loss of Availability but did not cause loss of data Integrity or Confidentiality. As a consequence of Conficker proliferation, the Marine Nationale had to cut the communication links and to use telephone, fax and post to communicate. A USB drive is suspected to be the media used by Conficker to enter the French internal networks. French officials believe it was not a deliberate attack and affirm that the most sensitive network, named Sicmar, was not affected by the worm that attacked only non-secured internal networks. Among them, the Intramar French Navy network, that was immediately isolated. However a certain number of computers were infected and on Jan 15 and 16, Navy’s Rafale could not depart since they were not able to download their flight plans. The French newspapers stressed that the Marine Nationale was not the only one to be hit by the virus: at the beginning of January 2009, the British Defence Ministry was atteacked by a version of the virus that infected some 24 RAF bases and 75% of the Royal Navy fleet, Ark Royal aircraft carrier comprised! Information Security is a driver of flight operations (and improves Aviation Safety).

French Navy picture

© Marine Nationale

RAF Jaguar confiscated by the Italian Customs in Ancona

On Feb 6, a RAF Jaguar, was found by the Italian Guardia di Finanza in the Ancona harbour and blocked before being embarked on board a cargo ship with destination Patras, in Greece. The aircraft was not concealed, it was simply covered with cloth and divided into two parts: fuselage and wings. Although the aircraft should be destinated to a Museum or a private collection, it was blocked pending further investigation on the accompanying documentation by the Ministry of Defense. In fact, it is not the first time that Ancona is used as a port of call for a variety of weapons trafficking and the Italian authorities will have to shed light on the “mysterious” Jaguar. Since the aircraft seems to be perfectly airworthy the investigators will have to verify the actual purpose of the shipment and the authorizations provided by the Greek carrier. Wearing the markings of the 41 Sqn (as you can see from the picture published on the website of the Resto del Carlino newspaper: http://ilrestodelcarlino.ilsole24ore.com/ancona/2009/02/06/149691-caccia_bombardiere.shtml), according to some sources, the aircraft should be the XZ355/FJ stored after retirement at RAF Coltishall.
The 16(R) and 54 Squadrons disbanded in 2005, the 41(F) Squadron in 2006, 6 Squadron was expected to operate the Jaguar until Oct 31 2007 but the last operative sorties of the RAF Jaguars took place at Coningsby on Apr 30, 2007.

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

Italian Eurofighters visiting Germany (again)

As happened twice in August, two Italian Air Force F-2000s (this time two F-2000A single seat) belonging to the 4° Stormo visited the German base of Neuburg on Sept. 10. This time the Typhoons involved in the cross country mission were MM7277 “4-1″ and MM7282 “4-15”. In the afternoon they flew a sortie with F-4F 37+81 from JG 71 and EF 30+29 from JG 74 and Dietmar Fenners was once again there to take pictures of the flying activity. The Italian F-2000s were scheduled to head back to Grosseto on Sept. 11.

Images of the previous visits are available here: Italian Eurofighters visiting Germany

According to an Alenia Aeronautica press release issued on Sept. 11, the 5 customers and the industrial test programme saw the Eurofighter Typhoon exceed the 50.000 flight hours milestone.
By the end of August, the airforces equipped with the F-2000 (GAF, ItAF, SpAF, RAF and Austrian AF) had amassed some 44.500 in-service flying hours which, with the 5,900 logged by the test fleet, easily surpass the 50.000 FH. Currently, 10 units across the operating nations are equipped with the Typhoon. Italian Air Force was the first to employ the aircraft in the QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) role and as of this Summer, all nations have been operating the Eurofighter in QRA and Air Surveillance responsibilities. The last nation to receive the aircraft, Austria, carried out high profile airspace protection sorties with fully-armed Eurofighter Typhoons over the host stadiums during the Euro2008 football championships.
As the frequent Italian cross country missions to Germany show, detachments to foreign airbases and multi-national exercises have become a regular occurrence. During the 2008, the first four-nation “Typhoon Meet” at Morón Air Base, Spain, was held. Furthermore, the Italian F-2000 attended the Exercise Spring Flag in Sardinia. The UK Royal Air Force, through their strong involvement in the US-led Exercise Green Flag West, declared Eurofighter Typhoon as multi-role capable in a ceremony at RAF Coningsby in July, following the highly successful deployment to Nevada, USA, to demonstrate the jet’s air-to-ground capability. What about the future?
148 aircraft have been delivered to five Air Forces, completing the Tranche 1 order. First deliveries of Tranche 2 aircraft are imminent, while the proposals for the 236 Eurofighter Typhoons that make up Tranche 3 have been submitted to NETMA. The consortium is awaiting the response with all efforts geared towards a contract signature by the end of 2008 or early 2009“.

RAF Typhoons deployed to Grosseto

Four RAF Typhoons belonging to the 29 Sqn OCU of Coningsby are currently deployed to Grosseto to operate with the F-2000 of the 20° Gruppo OCU of the Aeronautica Militare. Adriano Bonelli took the following pictures on Jul 8 while the Eurofighters were returning to base after an air-to-air training mission in one of the operating areas used by the 4° Stormo.