Tag Archives: Spanish Air Force

Eurofighter Typhoon celebrates 200,000 flying hours with special markings

On Sept. 8, Eurofighter confirmed that the Eurofighter Typhoon has now achieved more than 200,000 flying hours since the entry-into-service of its worldwide fleet.

719 aircraft on contract, 571 aircraft ordered and 378 aircraft delivered: these are the figures of the programme that is Europe’s largest defense program today.

Alberto Gutierrez, Chief Executive Officer of Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH, said: “Every day our aircraft are protecting the skies in Europe, the Middle East and even in the Southern hemisphere. They are on Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Eurofighter Typhoon is combat proven since the Libya operations and is now gaining considerable momentum – indeed the programme has never looked stronger.”

The statement came while six Typhoons are providing the air defense of Cyprus amid growing tensions with Syria.

The press release issued by Eurofighter for the 200K FH provides some interesting details about the history of the program.

The first 5,000 flying hours were achieved in November 2005. 10,000 hours came in August 2006 and 20,000 in May 2007. By August 2008, the Eurofighter Typhoon fleet had surpassed 50,000 hours and 100,000 flying hours was reached in January 2011. In the course of these flying hours, Eurofighter has demonstrated 100 per cent availability in numerous international deployments including: Alaska; Malaysia; the United Arab Emirates; the USA; and India.

The global Eurofighter fleet now comprises 20 operating units with locations in Europe, the South Atlantic and the Middle East. Specifically there are: 7 units in the UK (4 in Coningsby, 2 in Leuchars and 1 in Mount Pleasant, Falkland Islands); 5 in Italy (2 in Grosseto, 2 in Gioia del Colle, 1 in Trapani); 3 in Germany (Laage, Neuburg and Nörvenich), as well as 3 in Spain (2 in Morón, 1 in Albacete) and one each in Austria (Zeltweg) and in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – all of them have contributed to the 200,000 flying hour total.

To mark the 200,000 flying hours a German Typhoon “30-70” was given red celebrative markings as the image in this post shows.

Image credit: Eurofighter


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F/A-18 Hornet pilot performs one of craziest flybys ever

Poor airmanship or skilful pilot?

Most probably both.

The new video (actually posted to Youtube a couple of years ago – thanks to Juanma Baiutti for the heads-up) that will fuel the debate about the alleged braveness of this kind of stunts, shows an F/A-18 Hornet of the Spanish Air Force performing a low level flyby along a taxiway at Gando airbase, on the Canary Islands.

As already explained several times on this blog, commenting the famous Argentine pilots flybys, such “improvised air shows” can be very dangerous, even when they don’t imply difficult maneuvers. Indeed, the problem is that, in Aviation, “Improvised” things are usually “Dangerous” things.

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Eurofighter Typhoon takes the stage at the Zeltweg airshow among several interesting participants

On Jun. 28 and 29 Zeltweg airbase hosted Air Power 2013, Austria’s main air show.

Even if several planes took part in the airshow, the Eurofighter Typhoon emerged as the highlight of this year’s Air Power.

Indeed, a Typhoon belonging to the Austrian Air Force performed a solo display; then, two Austrian Eurofighters performed a simulated alert take off to intercept a C-130; finally, four Typhoons belonging to four different Air Forces were in static display.

Zeltweg 2013 Airshow II Giorno 161

One was an Italian F-2000A (as the fighter is called according to the Italian Mission Design Series) of the 37° Stormo from Trapani; another one belonged to the Austrian Air Force; a third one was an FGR.4 of the RAF 3rd Squadron based at RAF Coningsby; and the fourth one was a Spanish twin seater Eurofighter of the Ala 11 of the Ejercito de l’ Aire (Spanish Air Force) form Morón Airbase .

Static Display

Image credit: Elio Taraborelli

Typhoon aircrews were particularly chatty: so, whereas the Italian Typhoon driver explained that “The F-2000A is a stunning air to air platform” the RAF pilot said that the fighter “is equally capable in both air-to-air and air-to-ground roles, an absolutely lethal aircraft.”

Zeltweg 2013 Airshow II Giorno 015

Still, maybe the most interesting chat was with the Spanish pilots who said that “when strictly compared to the EF-18 (the Spanish version of the F/A-18 Hornet) the Typhoon has got a better radar with greater range and a far superior thrust of its engines, which make of the Eurofighter a really badass fighter.”

Although the Typhoons of several European air forces took the stage, other interesting aircraft took part in the Air Power airshow; among them, the SAAB Gripen, the Soko G-2 Galeb, the Su-22 Fitter and the only flying Italian MB-326 warbird.

All images by The Aviationist’s photographer Alessandro Fucito, unless stated

Zeltweg 2013 Airshow II Giorno 207

Zeltweg 2013 Arrivi & Prove 033

Zeltweg 2013 Arrivi & Prove 088

Zeltweg 2013 Arrivi & Prove 003

Written with David Cenciotti

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Spanish Air Force to decommission Mirage F1 fleet in 2013

Whilst the French Air Force is currently using the plane as a reconnaissance and attack platform in the Mali Air War, the Spanish Air Force is about to decommission the Dassault Mirage F1.

The Chief of the Spanish Air Force Staff (JEMA), Air General Francisco Javier García Arnaiz, recently reported that this year they would “eliminate three systems,” those that already have substitutes: the C-212 Aviocar and Fokker F-27 in the SAR Service, and the Mirage F1 fighters.

In the latter case, the Eurofighter will replace it completely when it reaches the initial operational capability in the 14th Wing Air Base in Los Llanos (Albacete).

The acquisition of the French fighters by Spain in 1972 was due by the constant interference of the United States regarding the use of Spanish Air Force’s U.S. military equipment, especially in the case of the F-86 Sabre and T-33 Shooting Star jets in the conflict of Sidi Ifni (Morocco). With the acquisition of the Mirage F1, the Spanish government marked the end of dependence on diplomatic vetoes.

In 1975 a 1st batch of 15 Mirage F1 C(E) arrived to Los Llanos Air Base in Albacete. Designated C.14, the planes were assigned to 141 Squadron, the first of the newly created 14th Wing.

The F1 C was an all-weather interceptor, equipped with a Thomson-CSF Cyrano IV monopulse radar and a limited secondary ground attack capability. Initially, the aircraft was armed with two internal DEFA 553 30mm cannons and Matra R530 medium-range air-to-air missiles.

The Spanish Air Force’s Mirage F1 CE suffered modifications that allowed integration with American AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles.

In the second half of 1976 a 2nd batch of planes arrived and two years later a final 3th batch which included 6 two-seater F1 BE and 24 of the most advanced single-seat F1 EE was delivered.

The F1E had an upgraded equipment with a new computer data, Head-up Display (HUD), SAGEM-Kearfott inertial platform, digital computer updated Cyrano IV radar and a fixed refuelling probe.

With this new batch, Spanish Air Force could create the 142 Squadron. The most advanced F1EE went to  the 46th Wing based in Gando, Canary Islands.

In all, Spain has acquired 91 Mirage F1. 73 units initially purchased (45 F1 CE, 22 F1 EE and 6 F1 BE) plus 5 second hand units purchased from France and 13 second hand units also purchased to Qatar.

Mid-’90s, 51 single-seaters and 4 double-seaters were upgraded to F1 M version. They had a number of improvements including intelligent 26″ HUDs with integrated radar, HOTAS system, modernized Cyrano IVM radar for accurate ground-attack capability in four different modes, Night Vision Goggles compatibility, inertial navigator Sagem ULISS 47 and AIM-9 JULI Sidewinder compatibility among others.

Mirage F1 SpAF Tiger

Image credit: NATO Tiger Association / Spanish Air Force

From August 2006, Spain dispatched three Mirage F1 M fighters to Lithuania’s First Air Base in Zokniai/Šiauliai International Airport for a 4 months deployment as part of NATO’s 10th “Air Police” patrol mission within Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia’s territorial airspace, being scrambled twice to intercept undisclosed intruders.

Nicknamed ‘La abuela’ (Grandmother) by the Spanish pilots, the Mirage F1 has been an active member of the annual NATO Tiger Meet since 1986. From this year, the state-of-the-art Eurofighter Typhoon will take that role within the 142 Squadron.

El Lince Analista for TheAviationist.com

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F-5 fighter jet pilot dies in training accident in Spain

On Nov. 2, a Northrop F-5M aircraft belonging to the 23th Wing of the Spanish Air Force (Talavera la Real Air Base), suffered an accident that killed one of his crew, Major and instructor Angel Alvarez Raigada, married and with two children. He was accompanied by his student, Lieutenant Sergio Santamaria, who was injured and remains in the Hospital in Badajoz.

The Technical Research Committee on Military Aircraft Accidents (CITAAM) continues its work to determine the exact causes and circumstances of the mishap. Although under the current regulations, no data may be provided as the research remains open, initial hypothesis suggests there was an engine failure.

Image credit: Spanish Air Force

The most recent crash of a F-5 was on Jan. 27, 2006, when a Captain and a Lieutenant, instructor and student, died in a crash while conducting a practice flight over the mountains of southern Badajoz.

On Apr. 30, 2003, another F-5 crashed near the base of Talavera la Real, killing the pilot and sole occupant, a Captain instructor.

That same year, on January 22, a Lieutenant instructor died and a 2nd Lieutenant student suffered slightly injuries when their F5 crashed near the town of Santa Marta de los Barros.

The light supersonic fighter aircraft F-5A/B Freedom Fighter is a simple, lightweight two-seater, made in Spain since 1970 by Aeronautical Constructions SA (CASA) under license from the U.S. company “Northrop” which began to build them in the early sixties.

Image credit: Spanish Air Force

The F-5 of the Spanish Air Force has undergone a complete modernization of its avionics especially to suit the teaching functions of training and aggressor aircraft as a step towards next-generation fighters such as the Eurofighter.

In its modernization, the plane integrates new equipment, including navigation systems VOR / ILS and TACAN, communication systems V / UHF, multifunction displays, MDP mission computer, integrated inertial EGI system (INS / GPS), radio altimeter, presentation HUD, new virtual radar for training. Also a new management systems and aircraft control, control systems and throttles levers (HOTAS), video recording systems and mission planning. This new version of the aircraft is called F-5M.

All fighter pilots that currently flies in the Spanish Air Force were formed in the F-5M.

El Lince Analista for TheAviationist.com