Here are some really crazy cool shots of the Spanish “Legacy” Hornets.
As already reported, Dissimilar Air Combat Training 2017, the most important Air Defense drills organized by the Ejercito del Aire (Spanish Air Force), at Gando Air Base, in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, gathered some Italian and Spanish Typhoon jets, along with several F/A-18 Hornets of the SpAF.
During the drills, some aviation photographers, including our contributor and friend Remo Guidi, had the opportunity to board a Spanish KC-130H for an air-to-air photo session with some of the aircraft taking part in the exercise.
In this post you can find some of the shot taken by Guidi from aboard the Hercules as well as on the ground at Gando.
The Spanish Hornets attending DACT belonged to various variants and units: the local-based ALA 46/Esc. 462 flies the surplus U.S. Navy delivered to the SpAF between 1995 and 2000 whereas the ALA 12 from Torrejon and the ALA 15 from Zaragoza operate the EF-18A and EF-18B model Hornets (the “E” standing for “España”, Spain), named respectively as C.15 and CE.15 by Spanish AF, along with the upgraded EF-18A(M) (C.15-33) and EF-18B(M) (C.15-36).
The Italian Air Force Eurofighters have attended the Dissimilar Air Combat Training 2017 exercise at Gando airbase for the first time to work alongside the Spanish Air Force Hornets and Typhoons.
From Jan. 17 to 26, three Italian Typhoon jets, belonging to the 4°, 36° and 37° Stormo (Wing), the three ItAF units that operate the Eurofighter, took part in the DACT 2017 exercise the most important Air Defense drills organized by the Ejercito del Aire (Spanish Air Force), at Gando Air Base, in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands.
The three Italian jets carried out 38 missions logging more than 75 flight hours, flying air-to-air sorties against the Spanish Hornets and Typhoons to validate the TTPS (Tactics Technics Procedures) in the air superiority role within the Canary Islands firing range, where combat aircraft can fly supersonic and employ EW (Electronic Warfare) countermeasures without restrictions.
DACT 17 featured “waves” of 25 aircraft flying at the same time operating under control of a NATO E-3 AWACS (Airborne Warning And Control System) from Geilenkirchen, Germany.
“Taking part in this exercise has been extremely important for the Italian Air Force and for its units and personnel tasked with the air defense of the national and NATO airspace,” said Lt. Col. Raffaele Catucci, chief of the Italian detachment, in a public statement.
“We have launched all the planned sorties, thanks to the valuable contribution of the technical personnel who ensured a100% efficiency of the aircraft throughout the exercise period.”
From Oct. 18 to 21, four Italian Typhoons visited Gando on a pre-DACT 1,800-nautical mile journey supported by a KC-767A tanker with the 14° Stormo from Pratica di Mare.
Four Italian F-2000s have deployed to Gando: 1,800 miles from their homebase without logistic support. A first for Italian Air Force tactical aircraft.
From Oct. 18 to 21, four Eurofighter Typhoon jets, belonging to the 18° Gruppo (Squadron), 37° Stormo (Wing) of the Italian Air Force, from Trapani airbase, have deployed to Gando Air Base, in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, to undertake cooperative activity with the Spanish Air Force within the framework of EAG (European Air Group).
The F-2000As (as the aircraft are designated in accordance with the Italian Mission Design Series) were supported along the 1,800-nautical mile journey to Gando by a KC-767A tanker with the 14° Stormo from Pratica di Mare that refueled the Typhoons during the 4.5 hours of flight: it was the first time ItAF tactical jets deployed so far from home without accompanying technical support.
Once in the Canaries, the Italian aircraft undertook DACT (Dissimilar Air Combat Training) with the Spanish Air Force F/A-18 Hornets in anticipation of a possible participation in DACT 2017 exercise in Gando next year.
Some cool pics showing the “zombies” intercepted by the Spanish Eurofighter Typhoons have emerged.
Deployed at Ämari airbase, in Estonia, four Eurofighter Typhoons and 114 personnel of the Ejército del Aire (Spanish Air Force) have been supporting the NATO Baltic Air Policing (BAP) mission since Jan. 1, 2015.
Four C.16s (according to the SpAF designation) belonging to Ala 11, from Moron airbase, contribute to the air defense of the airspaces of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Once again, such photographs confirm that the Baltic is the stage for some really interesting close encounters between Baltic Air Patrol QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) jets with “Ivan”.
Although no further detail about the images has been released, the fact that they depict two Su-34s at least one Su-27 and one An-26 may suggest the photographs were shot on Mar. 21, when two An-26s, two Su-27s, two Su-34s were identified according to the Latvia MoD:
Air Policing jets on 21 MAR in international airspace above the Baltic Sea near LV border identified RU AF. 2x An-26, 2x Su-27, 2x Su-34.
However, needless to say, they may have been taken on different missions.
As leading service of the current BAP rotation, the Italian Air Force has recently claimed that its Typhoons have launched 27 times (currently 28) since the beginning of the year to intercept Russian aircraft flying in international airspace.
Although such “escorts” are no more than routine stuff most of the times, a few intercept missions have been a bit tense: in one case, a Tu-22 was unusually flying at supersonic speed towards Sweden; in another episode, a Mig-31 Foxhound almost collided (at least according to the Royal Norwegian Air Force report) with an F-16 involved in a Su-34 identification and escort mission.