Tag Archives: Royal Air Force

Here Are The Highlights Of Malta International Airshow 2017

Once again, the traditional airshow brought several interesting visitors to Malta.

On Sept. 23 and 24, Malta hosted the yearly airshow over Smart City that gathered many interesting aircraft, including some exotic attendeeds, rarely seen at airshows around Europe.

Among them, one of the three Royal Canadian Air Force CF-188 Hornets of the 433 Squadron deployed to Solenzara airbase, Corse, to take part in Serpentex 2017 exercise alongside the RAF Tornado GR4s of the IX(B) Sqn deployed to Decimomannu, Sardinia (two of those took part in the static display at Malta Luqa airport).

Other interesting visitors were the “Turkish Stars” and accompanying A400M, the RAF Hawk T2, the “Saudi Hawks”, the German Navy P-3 and the Alpha Jet Solo Display.

In this post you can find some of the most interesting aircraft that took part in the airshow, photographed by aviation photographer Estelle Calleja.

A Turkish Air Force A400 supported the deployment to Malta of the NF-5 of the Turkish Stars display team.

The AlphaJet Solo Display was one of the highlights of the show. The French Air Force brought back the Alpha Jet Solo Display, it shut down in 2012.

The AW.139 helicopter and the King Air B200 of the Armed Forces of Malta Air Wing.

The Leonardo AW.139 of the Guardia di Finanza (Custom Police) was the only Italian participant this year.

The Royal Canadian Air Force took part in the airshow with one CF-188 Hornet of the 433 Squadron deployed to Solenzara for the Serpentex 2017 exercise.

One of the two RAF British Aerospace Hawk T2 ZK022 of 4(R)Sqn based at Valley.

A P-3C Cup Orion of the Marineflieger about to land in Malta Luqa airport.

A U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon from VP-16 took part in the airshow. The aircraft is deployed to Sigonella airbase, Sicily, Italy, from where it conducts missions over the Black Sea and off Syria.

The Hawk Mk65 of the Saudi Hawks, the aerobatic team of the Royal Saudi Air Force.

A Tornado GR4 from IX Sqn. The unit was temporarily deployed to Decimomannu, Italy, to take part in Serpentex 2017.

One of the NF-5A Freedom Fighters of the Turkish Air Force aerobatic team “Turkish Stars”.

 

Image credit: Estelle Calleja

RAF Tornado GR4 Jets Deploy To Decimomannu Airbase To Take Part In Ex. Serpentex 2017

Five RAF Tonkas have deployed to Sardinia, to take part in Serpentex exercise underway in Corse.

Five Tornado GR4 jets, belonging to the IX(B) Sqn of the Royal Air Force are currently deployed to Decimomannu airbase, in Sardinia, Italy.

The British combat aircraft are deployed from RAF Marham, where the runway was closed for reconstruction from Sept. 08 to Oct. 02, 2017, to take part in Ex. Serpentex 2017, underway from Sept. 11-29 and attended also by 3x Royal Canadian Air Force CF-188 Hornets from 433 Sqn and 2x RAF Hawks from 100 Sqn, both deployed to Solenzara, in Corse.

The Tornado GR4 ZA472 about to land in Decimomannu. (Giampaolo Mallei)

The British Tornado attack planes have arrived at “Deci” on Sept. 5 and are expected to leave on Sept. 30.

The aircraft currently deployed to Sardinia are the examples ZG779, ZA370, ZA472, ZA550, ZG707. These were supported by A.400M ZM401 and ZM407, and C-17 Globemaster III ZZ173.

This is one of the two A400M Atlas that supported the deployment. (Giampaolo Mallei)

The pictures in this article were taken by The Aviationist’s contributors Giampaolo Mallei and Alessandro Caglieri during the last few days.

The RAF “Tonkas” are operating with two drop tanks and the Litening targeting pod. (Giampaolo Mallei)

One of the five Tornado GR4 jets taxies after landing at Decimomannu (Alessandro Caglieri)

The Litening III laser targeting and reconnaissance pod provides a vital air-to-ground targeting capability. (Alessandro Caglieri).

IX(B) Sqn moved to its current home base at RAF Marham, Norfolk after the closure of RAF Brüggen, Germany, on July 17 2001. According to the RAF website “the Squadron deployed to Kuwait in February 2003 and was heavily involved in the second Gulf War as part of the Ali-Al Salem Combat Air Wing. From 2004 to 2010, IX (B) Squadron deployed annually to support Operation TELIC, in support of Allied troops on the ground in Iraq. The Squadron was also involved in Operation HERRICK, from 2008 to 2014, delivering Close Air Support over Afghanistan. In March 2011 the Squadron led the first long-range Stormshadow mission in Libya on Operation ELLAMY, and deployed to Gioia del Colle, Italy, at the end of that year. In 2015, the Squadron deployed on Operation SHADER, and was the first to attack Syrian oilfields after Parliament’s vote on Dec. 2, 2015 to widen the air operation against D’aesh. That very night 16 targets were struck, 2 hours and 51 minutes after the vote returned overwhelming support.”

A look inside the front cockpit of the Tornado GR4. (Alessandro Caglieri).

The IX(B) Squadron patch worn by a Navigator (Alessandro Caglieri).

 

 

 

 

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RAF Reaper Drone Footage Shows The Moment A Hellfire Missile Stops A Public Execution By Targeting An ISIS Sniper

Here’s the footage of a RAF Reaper drone unleashing Hellfire missile to stop a public execution in Syria.

The news of a successful RAF MQ-9 Reaper air strike on Islamic State militants to stop a public execution in Abu Kamal, Syria, was made public in May this year; yesterday, the UK MoD released the actual footage of the drone attack.

The clip show two handcuffed prisoners being unloaded from a van in front of a large group of spectators. Instead of targeting the militants on the ground, because that would have also killed civilians, the drone targeted a sniper standing guard on a nearby roof.

The explosion sent the crowd fleeing and the civilians and fighters scatter before the killing can be carried out.

Although the MoD refused to say whether the drone was remotely piloted from RAF Waddington or from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada the mission was overseen from the combined air operations centre (Caoc) based at al-Udeid airbase, in Qatar.

The RAF Reapers are employed in accordance with the so-called Remote Split Operations (RSO): the aircraft is launched from an airbase in theater under direct line-of-sight control of the local ground control station. Then, by means of satellite data link, it is taken on charge and guided from either Creech AFB or Waddington. When the assigned mission is completed, it is once again handed over to a pilot in Afghanistan, who lands it back to the forward deployment airfield. The 1-second delay introduced by the satellite link is not compatible with the most delicate phases of flight; hence, aircraft are launched and recovered in line-of-sight by the deployed ground control station.

The Royal Air Force 39 Sqn operates a fleet of five Reaper Remotely Piloted Air System (RPAS) whose main mission in ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) along with the task of providing armed support to forces on the ground, engaging, if required, “emerging targets in accordance with extant UK Rules of Engagement and the UK Targeting Directive.”

The Reaper drone is armed with GBU-12 500lb laser guided bombs and Hellfire missiles. “The Rules of Engagement (ROE) used for Reaper weapon releases are no different to those used for manned combat aircraft;the weapons are all precision guided, and every effort is made to ensure the risk of collateral damage and civilian casualties is minimised, this may include deciding not to release a weapon. Reaper is not an autonomous system and does not have the capability to employ weapons unless it is commanded to do so by the flight crew. The majority of the weapons employed from reaper have been Hellfire missiles. Hellfire has a relatively small warhead which helps minimise any risk of collateral damage. Regardless of the type of weapon system employed, a full collateral damage assessment is conducted before any weapon release; this is irrespective of whether that weapon is released by a manned or remotely piloted aircraft,” says the RAF website.

Each Reaper aircraft can be disassembled into main components and loaded into a container for air deployment worldwide.

Airbus A400M Atlas Tactical Transport Completes Beach Landing Trials.

Interesting Exercise Demonstrates A400M Unimproved Takeoff/Landing Capabilities.

The new Royal Air Force Airbus A400M tactical transport, aircraft ZM414, recently conducted a fascinating tactical capability trial at the Pembrey Sands Air Weapons Range in South Wales, U.K.

The Airbus A400M demonstrated its capability to insert into and deploy from unimproved sand airstrips while loaded. This is a critical mission set for tactical transports, especially in support of special operations in forward areas in austere conditions.

While landing and take-off operations from unimproved airstrips have been previously proven with the A400M this test confirmed the aircraft’s capabilities with a heavy load. Close examination of the aircraft’s performance, especially on landing, suggest it was heavily laden during the Pembrey Sands tests.

The testing and verification flights were organized by the DE&S (Defense Equipment & Support) A400M Project Team, based at MOD Abbey Wood in Bristol, working with the Airbus A400M development team and the Royal Air Force.

In a statement released by the MoD (Ministry of Defense) local Wing Commander Simon Boyle told media that the “Indication is that the aircraft will perform very well in the tactical role and on unprepared runways. We’re starting to understand how good the aircraft could be in the tactical environment.”

The Pembrey Sands Air Weapons Range is a fascinating test and training range that is effectively an island separated from the mainland on the West and North by an estuary and Carmarthen Bay, then to the East by a shallow, marshy inlet. The southern border is virtually impenetrable thick forest of the Pembrey Country Park.

A RAF Airbus A400M Atlas conducts testing of unimproved forward airfield operations at Pembrey Sands Air Weapons Range in South Wales, U.K. (Crown Copyright)

Pembrey Sands is an active live weapons deployment range used by a wide variety of tactical combat aircraft from many countries. Hulks of derelict vehicles and even old Jaguar combat aircraft are strewn around the island for use as targets. It is a unique facility for training and testing of the RAF and other air arms.

Other tactical transports have conducted beach and grass landing exercises at Pembrey Sands prior to the A400M trials including C-130s and C-160 Transalls.

Mission sets that may include the capability to land on unimproved or dirt/sand airstrips could include the insertion of special operations light vehicles for strike and/or reconnaissance missions in denied areas and support of airborne assault operations. The ability to take-off from sand landing areas is especially important for the evacuation of casualties from forward areas. In general a team of pathfinder personnel is inserted into an unimproved, austere landing area to inspect and prepare the landing area and then to act as air and ground traffic controllers once aircraft begin to use the area.

Perhaps one of the most infamous examples of air forces using tactical transports in the special operations role from unimproved airstrips is the April 1980 U.S. Operation Eagle Claw, the failed attempt to rescue hostages in Iran. The mission ended in disaster. A U.S. heavy helicopter and C-130 transport collided in the dark on the ground while forward refueling resulting in a fire and the operation being abandoned. Testing and qualification of the A400M Atlas in sandy, unimproved conditions is a direct effort to avoid similar outcomes in the future.

A significant amount of preparation of the landing/takeoff area at Pembrey Sands was done before for the trials by the 23 Parachute Engineer Regiment, based at the neighboring Rock Barracks.

Despite some early concerns the A400M Atlas development program has gained momentum with several countries including the U.K. and Germany over the past year. This RAF exercise is an example of the program’s continued success.

Video Shows Spitfire Crashing While Taking Off During Airshow In Northeastern France

Spitfire Ground Rolls on Takeoff.

Spitfire XIX PS890 was involved in a serious accident at the L’aérodrome de Longuyon – Villette in northeastern France on Sunday, June 11. According to reports from witnesses on the scene, pilot Cédric Ruet escaped the frightening accident without serious injuries. Additional reports suggest flying debris from the accident may have injured one member of the crowd.

In videos taken at the crash scene the pilot, Ruet, appears to be approaching V2 take-off velocity when the Spitfire pitches into a nose-down attitude, its propeller impacted the ground the aircraft performing an end-over. While no official news has been released about the factors contributing to the accident the grass field surface and potentially an irregularity in the field may have contributed to accident.

According to Touchdown Aviation, Spitfire XIX PS890 was delivered to RAF Benson in 1945. The aircraft then went to the Royal Thai Air Force as aircraft number U14-26/97 and flew there until 1952 for Thailand. In 1962 the aircraft was donated to Ed Maloney by the King of Siam (Thailand) and transported to Claremont, California in the U.S. Private owner Steve Hilton acquired PS890 and restored her to flying condition then.

Remarkably, the aircraft was retrofitted with an Avro Shackleton engine including its contra-rotating propellers in an attempt to beat the piston engine time-to-climb record. The aircraft flew again in 2002 as part of the California-based Planes of Fame collection.

Christophe Jacquard of France purchased the aircraft in 2005 and restored its engine and propeller to the original configuration. She was most recently painted in the RAF 152 Squadron livery as flown in Thailand prior to yesteday’s accident.

 

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