Tag Archives: Turkish Air Force

Turkish airbase has just raised its alert status for a possible attack from Syria

Diyarbakir airbase, one of the most important airbases in Turkey, located in the southeastern part of the country, is on alert status today for a possible Syrian attack.

Tolga Ozbek, aviation editor of Hurriyet Newspaper, informed us that on Aug. 30, the alert status was increased to “orange”, a level used when threat of attack is “high”.

It is not clear whether the Turkish authorities were informed of an imminent U.S. strike on Syria or the heightened alert status is caused by intelligence data suggesting Damascus is preparing to attack Ankara.

“Today is a holiday in Turkey but F-16s still on exercise,” Ozbek told us. “Also two squadrons from Merzifon Air Force Base (151-152nd both operating with Block 50 F-16s) and 171 Squadron from Malatya (operating F-4E 2020 Terminators) came to Diyarbakır.”

Some images taken recently at the base can be found here.

Diyarbakir is a large airbase hosting  181 and 182th Filo (Squadrons) and their F-16s since 1994. Base’s aircraft have been used in combat to attack PKK positions, to force a suspect Syrian airliner crossing the Turkish airspace to land, and were scrambled to intercept Syrian aircraft near the border.

Diyarbakir is also main comand center of Turkish Air Force’s 2nd Air Force Commands which controls the easth side of Turkey.

Image credit: via Kokpit.aero

 

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How many F-16 jets can you count in this photograph?

This image, sent to me by Ulaşcan Yüksel, shows an impressive lineup of Turkish Air Force F-16C fighter planes on an airbase in Turkey.

I think 31 “Vipers” (F-16’s nickname within the fighter pilots community) are parked along the taxiway, but not completely sure.

F-16 TuAF

Image credit: TuAF via Ulaşcan Yüksel

Turkish F-16s have been quite active during the Syrian crisis, being scrambled to intercept both a Syrian liner allegedly carrying weapons and Assad’s helicopters flying a bit too close to the border between Syria and Turkey.

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Photo allegedly shows interception of a fleeing Syrian Mig-23 by two Turkish F-4 Phantoms

On Jan. 5, 2013, a Syrian Arab Air Force Mig-23 whose pilot had been ordered to attack Aleppo, fled to Turkey.

Upon entering Turkey’s airspace, the defecting pilot replied to the radio calls of the Turkish Air Defense controllers and requested asylum.

It was then intercepted by a flight of two F-4 Phantom that were flying a routine CAP (Combat Air Patrol) sortie near the southern border that escorted the Syrian Mig to a safe landing at Adana airbase.

It took only 35 minutes for the Turkish Air Force to intercept the Syrian plane. Last year TuAF F-16s intercepted a Syrian airliner that was flying through Ankara’s airspace with suspect materials on board.

Noteworthy, some Turkish media outlets used the image below to show the interception.

Image source: Yenişafak

However, the image does not show the interception and it seems to be extensively photoshopped.

Indeed, the interception took place in the evening (between 20.40 and 21.15 LT); the two Turkish Phantoms in the image are not armed; the depicted Mig-23 is not a BN variant in service with the SyAAF but a Flogger in the typical Russian grey color scheme.

A quick Google search returned this Mig-23 photo that seems to have been used to compose the fake interception image.

Image via FAS website

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Amid fears of Syrian missile attack, NATO prepares to deploy E-3 “flying radar stations” to Turkey

Along with several Patriot missiles batteries, about to be stationed along the border with Syria as part of a NATO force to protect Turkey from a potential ballistic missile attack by Assad’s forces, the alliance is about to deploy E-3A AWACS (Airborne Warning And Control System) planes to the region.

According to a source who spoke off the record, the AEW planes are bound to Konya, one of the FOBs (Forward Operating Bases) of the NATO Airborne Early Warning & Control Force component.

Although they were scheduled to attend a training exercise from the Anatolian airfield, it is safe to say that the “flying radar stations” will be used to keep an eye on the southern chunk of the Turkish airspace where Ankara has strenghtened the presence of Turkish Air Force planes since Turkey and Syria exchanged fire with Syrian forces on the border at the beginning of October.

[Read also: Turkey scrambles two fighter jets as Syrian Helicopter bombs Syrian border town]

The E-3 AWACS are not only capable to discover aircraft flying at very low altitude; they can provide Airspace Management duties as well as act as information sharing hubs (by interconnecting ground-based radar stations and flying assets), and can also detect missiles, as the Soviet-built Scud-B missiles that landed fairly close to the Turkish border lately.

In other words: although they may be on a scheduled deployment, they are moving into position should the need to support a Peace Support Operation arise.

H/T to Gábor Zord for the heads-up

Image credit: NATO

 

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Turkish Black Hawk crashes during operation against Kurd rebels, 17 dead

News websites are reporting that a Turkish Sikorsky (Black Hawk?) has come down in bad weather on Herekol mountain, in the Pervari district of Siirt province (southeastern Turkey). It was carrying members of gendarmerie special forces whilst on operations against Kurdish rebels. All 17 people on board died in the crash.

The Turkish military has opened an investigation into the incident which is said to have taken place in thick fog.

[Read also: U.S. Predator spy drone shot down by Kurd rebels in Turkey, near Iraq]

The helicopter is thought to have clipped a rocky outcrop whist trying to ferry the troops to Pervari, where the Turkish army has been flushing out the rebels. It is the second crash in a month involving Turkish helicopters when another crashed in Diyarbakir province after it hit power lines killing one and wounding seven.

Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com

Image credit: Cpl John Bradley, NCE Photographer