Tag Archives: Su-22 Fitter

U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet Downs Syrian Su-22 Near Raqqa, Syria. And Here Is Everything We Know.

Navy Super Hornet from Carrier Air Wing 8 Scores Victory over Syrian Su-22.

Updated with the statement from the Russian MoD.

A U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet from Carrier Air Wing 8 on board the USS George Bush shot down a Syrian Air Force Su-22 ground attack aircraft near Raqqa, Syria after the aircraft struck ground troops in Ja-Din, south of Tabqah, near Raqqa.

According to most sources it is the first time a U.S. combat aircraft has shot down a manned enemy aircraft in aerial combat in nine years.

The pro-Assad regime Syrian Su-22 that was downed had attacked Syrian Democratic Forces aligned with the U.S. led coalition and inflicted casualties on the friendly forces as they were driving south of Tabqah before it was intercepted.

The action began at approximately 4:30 PM local time on Sunday, Jun. 18 when Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad launched a ground attack on anti-regime Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) aligned with the U.S. led Coalition and inflicted casualties on the anti-Assad fighters.

Coalition combat aircraft immediately conducted a low-altitude “show of force” pass on the pro-Assad attackers and were successful in de-conflicting the two sides and halting the advance of pro-Assad forces on Coalition-friendly SDF positions.

As a result of the contact unspecified Coalition assets utilized a secure communication “de-confliction line” to contact Russian assets with communications to both sides in an effort to compel a cease-fire for both sides.

The Russian attempt at de-confliction failed at 6:43 PM local time when a pro-Assad Syrian Air Force Su-22 ground attack aircraft appeared on scene and bombed Coalition-friendly SDF positions. The attacking Syrian Su-22 was “Immediately shot down by a U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet” according to an official statement issued by the Combined Joint Task Force, Operation Inherent Resolve. The U.S. Navy F/A-18E was launched from the aircraft carrier USS George Bush (CVN-77) as it maintains patrol in the Mediterranean in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet aboard the USS George Bush (CVN-77). (Photo: US Navy)

In the official statement released from the Coalition about the incident the Combined Joint Task Force stated, “The Coalition’s mission is to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The Coalition does not seek to fight the Syrian regime, Russian, or pro-regime forces partnered with them, but will not hesitate to defend Coalition partner forces from any threat.”

Even though the air-to-air victory would be the first for the U.S. on a manned enemy combat aircraft since February 2008 according to some sources, the last confirmed U.S. kill dates back to 1999, during Operation Allied Force, when a U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon shot down a Serbian MiG-29 Fulcrum. A U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagle shot down an unmanned Iranian-made Shahed-129 armed drone on Thursday, June 8 this year.

The U.S. destroyed nine Syrian Air Force aircraft in a large Tomahawk cruise missile strike on the Shayrat Air Base earlier this year on April 7, 2017. Among the Syrian Air Force air craft destroyed by the cruise missile attack were five Su-22M3s, one Su-22M4, and three MiG-23ML aircraft. The attack was a Coalition response to the alleged Syrian chemical weapons strike on Khan Shaykhun on April 4. At least 74 people died in the chemical attack with hundreds more wounded, including children.

A fully armed Syrian Air Force SU-22 in a bombproof revetment. (Photo: RT)

A Syrian Air Force SU-22 taxis outside its bombproof revetment. (Photo: RT)

The action over Syria marks a significant escalation in the conflict and establishes the resolve of the Coalition to achieve its goals in the region in addition to sending a clear message that the control of the airspace rests with the Coalition and not with Assad’s remaining forces.

A Syrian Air Force SU-22. (Photo: RT)

And here’s the response to the downing from the Russian MoD:

Statement of the Russian Defence Ministry concerning downing of the Syrian Su-22 near the town of Resafa

On June 18, 2017 the American fighter F-18A belonging to the international coalition shot down the Su-22 aircraft of the Syrian Air Force, which was performing a combat mission supporting the government troops, which were conducting the offensive against the ISIS terrorists near the town of Resafa (40 km to the south-west of the city of Raqqa).

As a result of the attack, the Syrian aircraft was destroyed. The pilot baled out over an ISIS-controlled area, his status is unknown.

The destruction of the aircraft of the Syrian Air Force by the American aviation in the air space of Syria – is a cynical violation of the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic.

Numerous combat activities of the US aviation carried out under the cover of “fight against terrorism” aimed against the legitimate Armed Forces of a UN-member is a blatant breach of the international law and is in fact an act of military aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic.

Moreover, at that time the aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces were also performing combat missions in the air space of Syria. However, the Command of the coalition forces did not use the existing channels of communication between the Command of the Al Udeid Air Base (Qatar) and the Hmeymim Air Base Command to prevent air incidents in the air space of Syria.

The Russian party considers those actions of the US Command as an intentional failure to fulfill its obligations within the Memorandum on prevention of incidents and providing of flight security during the operations in Syria dated October 20, 2015.

Since June 19, 2017, the Russian Defence Ministry has stopped the cooperation with the American party within the Memorandum on prevention of incidents and providing of flight security during the operations in Syria and demands a thorough investigation of the incident by the US Command with further providing of information on its results and the taken measures.

In the combat mission zones of the Russian aviation in the air space of Syria, all kinds of airborne vehicles, including aircraft and UAVs of the international coalition detected to the west of the Euphrates River will be tracked by the Russian SAM systems as air targets.

Therefore, the Russians will “track” as air targets the US-led coalition aircraft of all types: although this seems to suggest a unilateral NFZ established over Syria, the public release does not say they will “engage” the coaltion planes.

Let’s see what happens next.

 

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Polish Air Force Celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the F-16 service with An Awesome Air-To-Air Photoshoot

Poland celebrated the 10th anniversary of the F-16 Fighting Falcon Block 52+ service with an unbelievable air-to-air photo sortie.

This year is special when it comes to the relationship between the Viper and the Polish Air Force since it has been 10 years since Poland has acquired this slick airframe, significantly modernizing the inventory which remains at disposal of the military aviation units.

The anniversary provides an interesting opportunity to sum up the history of the relationship between the Lockheed’s jet and the Polish Air Force.

Within the Polish Air Force, the F-16 “Jastrząb” (Jastrząb – Northern goshawk – is the Polish name for the F-16 jet) is being used for a variety of missions, including air-superiority, close air support or reconnaissance with the application of the Goodrich DB110 pod.

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The Polish Air Force’s F-16 aircraft are stationed at two main locations, namely the Krzesiny-Poznan airbase and Łask airbase, with the latter one being located close to the city of Łódź. Currently, Poland has its F-16 aircraft from Łask deployed to Kuwait, supporting Operation Inherent Resolve performing the recce role.

Being a part of the Warsaw Pact up until the late 1980s, Poland Armed Forces have operated Soviet equipment for decades. MiG-15s, MiG-17s, MiG-21s, MiG-23s, Su-22s, Yak-23s, MiG-29s were (and in some case still are) flown by the Polish Air Force (with the Fulcrums, in particular, procured at the end of the Soviet Union’s existence).

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The Air Force’s structure was also largely similar to the organization patterns utilized in the East.

Beginning in 1989 the geopolitical landscape changed and Poland started to have ties with the West until it became a NATO frontline nation, joining the alliance in 1999. Prior to that event, the Armed Forces suffered reductions and cuts, along with a restructuring process.

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With the entry into NATO the operational tasks for the Polish Armed Forces, including the Air Force, were redefined: Poland was tasked with stopping the potential adversary during the initial phase of the conflict, with air superiority being one of the cornerstones of the applied strategy. Hence the main task for the Polish Air Force is to provide control within the Polish Airspace, as a part of the NATO IADS (Integrated Air Defence System), and secondly, the air branch is to provide support for the other armed services, including the Navy and the Land Component.

The main element of the Polish air defense modernization process was in the acquisition of the F-16 aircraft used by three out of seven squadrons of the Polish Air Force, alongside the MiG-29 and Su-22 fast jets.

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The first glimpse at the future of the Polish Air Force could be caught at the beginning of the nineties: between Aug. 23 and 25, 1991, an Air Show took place at the Ławica airport in Poznan, during which U.S. Spangdahlem-based F-16C airframes made their first ever appearance in Poland.

In 1994 Poland joined the “Partnership for Peace” program. The initial plan contained within the “Armia 2012” modernization program assumed that 160 new fighter aircraft were to be acquired. The tender procedure which was announced at the time did not even reach the implementation stage,  as the MoD’s leadership changed and the multi-role jet tender was postponed.

The undertaken analysis suggested that the new fighters would be utilized both within the framework of national defense, as well as within NATO deployments. The task range for the jets included air superiority, air interdiction, close air support, navy support and reconnaissance.

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Meanwhile, at the end of the year 2001, Germany decided to deliver, for free, 23 MiG-29 jets for the Polish Air Force, as the Fulcrums were being withdrawn by the Luftwaffe at the time. This, in a consequence, led to a decision which resulted in limitation of the multi-role fighter acquisition plan down to 48 examples.

The relevant tender began in 2001, involving three offers: Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 52+, Dassault Mirage 2000-5, and SAAB/BAe Gripen. The F-16 won the tender, with the highest rating and the corresponding decision was announced on Dec. 27. 2002. The contract, concerning the procurement of 36 F-16 single-seaters and 12 F-16D twin-seaters, was concluded on Apr. 18 2003, with prospects of receiving the first airframes manufactured by the Lockheed Martin company in 2006.

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The first Polish F-16C jet, no. 4040, made its maiden flight on Mar. 14. 2006 and was delivered, along with 4 other examples, on Nov. 11 2006.

“C” airframes were given serial numbers ranging from 4040 to 4075, while the “D” variant received the numbering ranging from 4076 to 4087.

The main operational task fulfilled by the jets is focused solely on the air-to-air role, however each of the three squadrons has its extra specialty, with the 3rd Fighter Squadron dealing with training, 6th Fighter Squadron dealing with air-to-ground operations and 10th Fighter Squadron focused on recce activities.

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When it comes to the direct legacy, the F-16 replaced the old MiG-21 Fishbed aircraft which were stationed both in Łask, as well as in Krzesiny.

The Łask airbase, at the moment, is a home for a single squadron of the F-16 jets, contrary to Krzesiny, which hosts two squadrons, however, the base located in the central Poland has the DB-110 reconnaissance pod at its disposal, and the Łask crews specialize in recce sorties, as mentioned above.

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When it comes to the air-to-air ordnance used by the Polish Vipers, the inventory includes  Raytheon AIM-120C-5 AMRAAM and Raytheon AIM-9X Super Sidewinder missiles. The air-to-air weapons system is complemented with a Northrop Grumman (Westinghouse) AN/APG-68(V)9 radar and IDM Link 16 suite, ensuring that the jet has net-centric capabilities at its disposal.

The air-to-ground weaponry  includes the AGM-65G Maverick Missiles, along with Mk 82 and Mk 84 bombs, complemented with Paveway laser guided and JDAM satellite kits. The inventory above also includes the AGM-154C JSOW stand-off weapon. However, this, however does not exhaust the air-to-surface ordnance remaining at disposal of the Polish jet.

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The F-16 is one of the cornerstones of the Polish deterrence policy, also known under the name of “Polskie Kły” [Polish Claws]. As a result of the aforementioned arrangement, the Polish MoD decided to acquire AGM-158 JASSM missiles for the jets, with a prospect of procuring the JASSM-ER extended range variant. We have described the JASSM procurement in several articles in detail.

The Polish Air Force’s Vipers also employ the Sniper XR targeting pods and the Link-16 communications suite. Sniper XR pod creates a prospect for the Polish Air Force’s jet to utilize EGBU-12 and SDB air-to-ground ordnance, as well as the AIM-120D and new AIM-9X air to air missiles.

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Poland is also looking forward towards acquisition of the Orbital ATK AARGM anti-radiation missile which was vividly marketed during the last year’s Radom Air Show and the Kielce MSPO Defence Salon.

Noteworthy, it was not until last year that the Polish Air Force established a Tiger Demo Team is based at the aforementioned Krzesiny airbase and made its first international appearance during the RIAT air show this year.

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Within the presented photo-set, the jet carrying the Polish flag in the cockpit is the Demo Team’s airframe.

The photographs we are presenting are unique, due to the fact that it is the first time when 4 Polish F-16 jets are presented together, in the air, flying with the conformal fuel tanks on top of their fuselages – such configuration has never been photographed and captured before. Two airframes come in the C variant, while the remaining two jets are in the D version.

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The shots captured by Filip Modrzejewski were taken from the rear ramp of the CASA C-295M transport aircraft of the Polish Air Force. The main portion of the photo-shoot took place over the Greater Poland voivodeship, also over the centre of Poznan and the Ławica airport.

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Image Credit: Filip Modrzejewski / Foto Poork

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Stunning air-to-air photographs show Polish Su-22, F-16 and Mig-29 flying together

Polish Air Force Jets Up Close and Personal.

In June, in collaboration with the Polish General Command of Armed Forces, Foto Poork’s Filip Modrzejewski has been involved in an air-to-air photoshoot with the Polish Air Force Su-22 Fitter, F-16 Block 52+ and MiG-29 Fulcrum.

Noteworthy, this was also the very first time that the Polish jets were presented together, in a single flight.

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Notably, the F-16 jet depicted by Modrzejewski is the 6th Fighter Squadron’s Tiger Demo Team display airframe, with the CFT (Conformal Fuel Tanks) mounted on top of the fuselage.

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Moreover, the photoshoot also constituted the first opportunity ever to capture the Su-22 Fitters flying with the new, grey paint scheme, from an air-to-air perspective.

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When it comes to the photoship used during the shoot which took place over the territory of Poland, the photographers were flying onboard a Polish Air Force Casa C-295M aircraft, using the back ramp of the cargo plane.

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Filip was kind enough to share his shots with us, so that we are able to present you the images depicting the founding elements of the Polish fighter force like you’ve never seen them before.

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Image Credit: Filip Modrzejewski / Foto Poork

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Here’s the schedule of the Polish Air Force domestic training exercises this year

2016 Domestic Training Schedule For The Polish Air Force

As the Polska Zbrojna outlet reports, a few days ago, General Mirosław Różański has presented the domestic training exercises schedule of the Polish Air Force.

The plan covers year 2016, preceding the major Anakonda-16 exercise.

The operations have a joint character and they will, besides the air force, involve land forces, Polish Navy and the special operations component of the Polish Army.

The main goal of the events  is to prepare the Polish Air Force units for the Anakonda-16 exercise which is going to be the largest, international training initiative organized within the territory of Poland this year – involving almost 30 thousand soldiers in total.

“Raróg” series exercise, organized by the 2nd Tactical Aviation Wing from Krzesiny, planned between Apr. 25 and Apr. 29 is the first out of the planned operations.

The goal of this event, as Polska Zbrojna reports, quoting Col. Piotr Próchniak of the 2nd Wing, is to verify the level of logistical and command and combat components readiness of the soldiers and equipment which is expected to be involved in the operations carried out by the NATO Response Force.

The exercise is to involve 450 soldiers, hailing many from the Polish Łask and Krzesiny bases. The assumption is that the aviators, within the scenario, operate over a foreign land, on a 24 hours/day basis.

The pilots will fly intercept, air-to-air combat, ground attack and close air support sorties. F-16 jets are going to play the role of own forces, acting against the enemy simulated by MiG-29, Su-22 and Casa C-295M aircraft.

1st Tactical Aviation Wing, as Polska Zbrojna claims, is getting ready for a large “Kondor-16” operation which is going to be realized both at the base of the unit, as well as within the Ustka and Nadarzyce ranges.

Besides the elements of the 1st Wing, Polish 21st and 22nd Airbases, 12th Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Base (Mirosławiec), Special Forces JTAC component, 6th Airborne Brigade Reconnaissance Platoon and chemical elements are also going to be involved in the exercise.

Several MiG-29 and Su-22 fighters are going to stay in the air simultaneously during the operation, realizing bombing runs and rocket attacks against ground targets.

The chemical units will also be trained within the scope of decontamination of the aircraft, realized in case of a potential chemical warfare attack. It is also assumed that ground airbase defensive operation is  going to be a part of the exercise too.

Moreover, 4th Training Aviation Wing of the Polish Air Force is going to carry out the Halny-16 operation, a command staff exercise. The main aim of the operation is to prepare the participants to plan reconnaissance sorties and quick deployment of the air assets, in a way which would allow the combat aviation units to use the Dęblin airbase, usually dedicated to training purposes.

All of the above events may be interpreted as a prelude to the Anakonda-16, one of the NATO initiatives undertaken in the light of the Ukrainian crisis, the aim of which is to reinforce the alliance’s eastern flank.

The said exercise is going to involve more than 25,000 soldiers: 12,000 troops will be provided by Poland and 10,000 troops will be deployed from the USA. The remaining troops are going to come from other NATO member states and partner nations, as Głos Wielkopolski, quoting Lt. Col. Szczepan Głuszczak, spokesperson for the Polish General Command of the Armed Forces, reports.

According to Głos Wielkopolski, the operation planned to take place between Jun. 7 and 17 is going to involve, among other units, the Krzesiny and Powidz airbases, the involvement of which is going to be visible to a large extent.

The aviation assets will be used to conduct airborne operations and reception of the allied forces.

Anakonda-16 scenario is going to assume a hybrid conflict takes place. Civilian crisis management centers and reserve component of the Polish Army are also going to make their contributions to the undertaken operational activities.

The Air Force is probably also going to take part in some operations abroad, such as the NATO Tiger Meet or Frisian Flag exercises, usually attended by the Polish aviation assets. The above outline refers solely to the domestic operational activities with focus placed on the Air Force operations.

Image Credit: Jacek Siminski

Syrian Su-22 Fitter shot down by rebels over Aleppo

A Su-22 Fitter was shot down by the Syrian opposition earlier today.

On Apr. 5, a SyAAF (Syrian Arab Air Force) Su-22 Fitter was allegedly shot down by the Syrian rebels while flying over al-Eis area in South Aleppo.

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As the following footage shows, the pilot ejected from the plane, to be captured and probably beaten by the militants. According to the latest news, the pilot is alive and in the hands of al-Nusra front militants.

It’s not clear who shoot the plane down and how;  unconfirmed reports claim the aircraft was hit by a MANPADS (Man Portable Air Defense System).

Some Twitter accounts have published the photos of the captured pilot (with an ID still to be confirmed).

 

H/T JeanLucTele for the heads-up. Image credit: via @green_lemonnn, Twitter.