Tag Archives: Royal Jordanian Air Force

Another Batch Of Six Ex-Dutch F-16 Jets Delivered To The Royal Jordanian Air Force

This batch follows the first six jets delivered at the end of October.

The second batch of five F-16AMs and one two seater BM jet, formerly belonging to the Royal Netherlands Air Force, visited Aviano Air Base, Italy, on Nov. 29.

The Jordan “Vipers” (as the F-16 is nicknamed in the pilot community), using radio callsign RJZ242, were on their way from Volkel airbase, The Netherlands, to Al Azraq airbase, in Jordan (via Aviano – Souda Bay), on delivery to the Royal Jordanian Air Force. The six aircraft followed the previous six ex-RNlAF F-16 aircraft, delivered via the same route on Oct. 25, 2017.

The only two-seater of the second batch of former RNlAF F-16s about to land at Aviano AB, Italy, on Nov. 29.

In a deal signed in 2013, 15 airframes (13 A-models and 2 B-models updated to the MLU standard) were sold to Jordan as part of the Peace Falcon VI programme bringing the total RJAF F-16 to 79 (including 25 second-hand aircraft bought from Belgium within Peace Falcon III and V).

One of the five single seat F-16 in the RJAF markings landing at Aviano AB, Italy, on Nov. 29.

The latest deal follows a first one for 6 ex-RNlAF F-16BMs dating back to 2009 and dubbed Peace Falcon IV.

The first batch of six F-16s delivered to the RJAF on Oct. 25, 2017, found better weather conditions at their arrival in Aviano for a stopover enroute to Jordan.

The Aviationist’s contributor Claudio Tramontin took the photos of the “new” F-16s for the RJAF at Aviano that you can find in this post. Top image shows one of the F-16s of the first batch departing from Aviano after the stopover on Oct. 25.

Stunning pics of a B-52 strategic bomber doing some heavy carpet bombing in Jordan

B-52 Stratofortress bomber doing what it does best.

The photographs in this post were taken during a combined live fire demonstration in Wadi Shadiya, Jordan, May 18.

They show a B-52H from 2nd Bomb Wing, from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, drop some 500-lb GBU-38 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) bombs during the “monumental military demonstration” that was the final event of Exercise “Eager Lion” a recurring multinational exercise designed to strengthen military-to-military relationships, increase interoperability between partner nations, and enhance regional security and stability.

Noteworthy, the two B-52 Stratofortress bombers that marked the first participation of strategic bombers to Eager Lion, performed a 30-plus hour, 14,000 mile nonstop mission to the U.S. Central Command area of operations.

Buff carpet bombing

They coordinated the attack with Jordanian JTACs (Joint Terminal Attack Controllers) and, after the attack run, overflew the range escorted by two Royal Jordanian Air Force F-16s.

In addition to 5,000 U.S. servicemen, the two-week yearly exercise saw the participation of Jordanian forces as well as contingents from 16 other countries for a total force of about 10,000 troops.

The exercise was held among five sites across Jordan and based on the scenario of a friendly contingent committed to the aid of an allied nation under threat by an aggressive neighbor. Along with the U.S. Air Force strategic bombers, Jordanian tactical planes and U.S. Army helicopters of the 185th Theater Aviation Brigade’s aviation task force, EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) teams, Seabees and patrol craft were used to perform port security in Aqaba, Jordan’s only coastal city, while a Marine crisis-response force out of Kuwait took part in the drills, practicing non-combatant evacuation operation (NCO) by means of MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft in the north.

Image credit: U.S. Marine Corps

 

A-10 suffers engine failure over war zone lands at airport threatened by ISIS in Iraq

An A-10 pilot had to land his Thunderbolt at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq’s volatile Anbar province.

A U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt involved in a mission in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, was forced to perform an emergency landing at Al Asaid Air Base, in central Iraq, west of Baghdad.

According to the information released by CENTCOM, one of the A-10’s engines suffered “catastrophic damage” during a “routine” aerial refueling operation. The official release did not say when the incident occurred.

The “catastrophic damage” fueled speculations that the engine might be hit by surface-to-air missiles or other kind of anti-aircraft weaponry (especially because the A-10s operate at low altitude and have already been targeted by MANPADS in Iraq) during the mission (and not during a refueling operation), however, according to Stars and Stripes, Col. Patrick Ryder, a CENTCOM spokesman, told reporters that the plane was not hit by enemy fire, and he downplayed the incident.

Ayn al-Asad Airbase, the Sunni western Province of Al Anbar, was one of the largest Iraqi airbases, and the second largest US military airbase in Iraq until the last Marines withdrew from the country and the installation was closed on Dec. 31, 2011. Since late October 2014, the airbase, that hosts several U.S. Marines and advisors for the local security forces, has frequently been under attack by Islamic State militants.

It took several days to the maintainers from 332nd Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron to fix the aircraft so that it could be flown out of the unsecure base.

The A-10 is famous for being exceptionally tough and able to survive direct hits from armor-piercing and high-explosive projectiles. Anyway, regardless to whether the aircraft suffers a hit from enemy ground fire or a catastrophic failure, there is always a risk when you fly over a war zone. In this case the pilot was lucky enough to have a nearby divert field where he successfully landed; on Dec. 24, Royal Jordanian Air Force pilot Muath Safi Yousef al-Kasasbeh was forced to eject from his F-16 over Syria as a consequence of a mechanical failure (according to official sources – ISIS claimed the plane was hit by a heat-seeking missile). He was captured (an attempt to free him failed) and burned to death by Islamic State militants in January 2015.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

U.S. F-22 EW-enabled sensor-rich stealth aircraft have escorted Jordanian F-16s during air strikes on ISIS

U.S. F-22s and F-16CJs are being tasked with Jordanian F-16 escort missions in Syria.

Last week the Pentagon provided some details about the American support to the Jordanian air strikes in Syria that followed the burning alive of the pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh captured on Dec. 24 after he ejected from a Royal Jordanian Air Force F-16.

RJAF pilot

Image credit: Jordan Armed Forces

According to Air Force Times, U.S. Central Command CAOC (Combined Air Operations Center) tasked the F-22 Raptors and the F-16CJs, along with an unspecified unmanned aircraft that provided intelligence gathering and surveillance, to escort the Jordanian aircraft launched against Islamic State positions.

F-16CJ

Moreover, the American stealth jets are now embedded in the “standard strike package,” which includes U.S. and coalition aircraft, committed to attack ISIS militants in Syria and Iraq, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said.

The news put the spotlight on the Raptor again and is a sign the U.S. stealth jets are still directly involved in the anti-IS campaign in Syria and Iraq: little was known about their contribution to Operation Inherent Resolve besides the details which were released following their participation to the opening stages of the war  and focusing on those first missions.

What’s more interesting is to try to guess the role played by the Raptors in the air strikes and the value of their escort, considered that even though the F-22 is the best air superiority fighter in the world, it will hardly find any aerial opponent to shoot down.

Whereas SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) and EW (Electronic Warfare) platforms, like the F-16CJ/CGs, the EA-6B Prowlers and the EA-18G Growlers, are likely taking care of the residual air defenses surrounding the most dangerous targets, the F-22 Raptors are probably used to provide the so-called “forward target identification”: the Raptor stealth fighters can use their ability to enter, mostly undetected a target aerea, gather details about the enemy systems with their extremely advanced onboard sensors (including an Active Electronically Scanned Array – AESA radar), share the picture and enemy information with other tactical assets, command and control planes and AWACS, then escort other unstealthy planes or drones towards the targets.

Actually, they can also attack their own targets with JDAMs if needed: F-22s can carry two 1,000-lb GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munitions or 8 GBU-39 small diameter bombs, 250-lb multipurpose, insensitive, penetrating, blast-fragmentation warhead for stationary targets, along with AIM-120s AMRAAMs (Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles) radar-guided missiles and AIM-9 Sidewinder IR-guided missiles, a configuration that makes the Raptor

However, in modern scenarios as well as in Syria and Iraq, the 5th generation aircraft is more an “electronic warfare enabled sensor-rich aircraft”, than a pure interceptor with swing role capabilities.

 

 

U.S. raid to free Jordanian pilot captured by ISIS allegedly failed

Take it with a grain of salt, but it looks like a special operation to free the Jordanian pilot captured by ISIS has failed.

According to unconfirmed reports, the U.S. launched a special operations mission to recover the Jordanian Air Force pilot captured by IS militants after he was forced to abandon his F-16 over Iraq on Dec. 24, 2014.

However, the mission had to be aborted after the commando, heading towards a private house in Al-Raqqa, in the northern part of central Syria, where the Royal Jordanian Air Force pilot was hidden, lost the element of surprise and the helicopters came under heavy fire.

The news was reported by Israel News media outlet, but the source are rebels in Syria according to Turkish news report in El Andalul. So, once again, it’s difficult to determine what’s true and what’s just propaganda.

According to the rebels, two U.S. helicopters were involved in the rescue operation, supported by several combat planes.

Although it is impossible to verify such reports, we can’t rule out the possibility the U.S. launched a rescue mission in the aftermath of the capture of pilot Muaz Yossef El Kasasba to free the first coalition pilot in captivity. Indeed, the presence of (Air Force Special Operations Command) Osprey tiltrotor aircraft based in Kuwait exposed by Google Maps imagery, seems to suggest the U.S. are prepared to conduct CSAR (Combat Search And Rescue) missions in Syria and Iraq, should the need to recover a pilot arise.

If confirmed this would be the second failed raid in about six month, the first on Jul. 3, 2014, when some V-22 aircraft were used to carry Delta Force commandos to a campsite in eastern Syria where ISIS militants were believed to hold American and other hostages (that had been moved by the time the commandos attacked the site): a sign that special operations are extremely difficult and dangerous in that region.

Anyway, as a consequence of the capture of one of their pilots Jordan has suspended the Royal Jordanian Air Force operations against ISIS, Jordan newspaper “Arab al-Yaum” wrote.

H/T to @Tom_Antonov for the heads-up

Image credit: U.S. Air Force