Tag Archives: Turkish Air Force

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

Known and unknown incidents prove Turkey and Israel have come closer to war than you might believe

Listing a series of episodes, Aviationlive.org website highlighted how Turkey and Israel, once close allies, have become enemies in the last 3 years.

As a consequence of the diplomatic crisis caused by the Israeli attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla and the killing of nine Turkish activists, the Israeli Air Force was excluded from Anatolian Eagle drills in Konya and major Turkish procurement programs were cancelled (as LOROP Condor ΙΙ and EL/M-2060P ) or delayed (UAV Heron, ESM for Turkish AEW&C etc).

Moreover, many incidents have been recorded since 2011:

Jul. 9, 2011: According to the leaked material on Dailymotion (Μay 2012), a UAV Heron was detected flying close to the Kurtnasır battery on the Turkish-Syrian border. The Israeli drone was “locked” by HAWK and KMS Zipkin air defense systems.

Sept. 13, 2011: The Turkish newspaper Star Gazete says the Turkish Air Force changed the IFF (identification system friendship or enemy aircraft) of its F-16s so as to categorize Heyl Ha’Avir planes as hostile.

Sept. 29, 2011: Vatan newspaper claims that IAF tracked R/V Piri Reis, a seismographic ship sailed to the Eastern Mediterranean and accompanied by Turkish Navy vessels to carry out a series of surveys. According to reports, two F-15 came in 15 miles from the coast of Mersin and the nightly hours of Sept. 29, flew at low altitude in the area and harassed the Piri Reis. After two Turkish F-16s scrambled, the Israeli F-15 withdraw from the area.

Nov. 14, 2011: Turkish sources reported that a fisherman found parts of an Israeli  UAV Heron in the net off Southern Turkey. The Heron apparently belonged to the Israeli Air Force and the discovered parts were expected to be taken to Ankara so that the Turkish General Staff could launch an investigation into the episode.

Image credit: IAF

Jan. 3, 2012: Today’s Zaman newspaper revealed that Israeli Heron conducted reconnaissance flight in the province Hatay. The unmanned aircraft flew about four hours over the area as observed spying above the 14th Hawk B. Brigade Command. The drone was hovering over the brigade command post in order to capture pictures of missile batteries and radar equipment. On 9 April a leaked video on Youtube revealed conversations between officers who handled the case and it cames out that Lt. Gen. Mehmet Veysi Ağar was fully informed about the situation, he banned the use of weapons and ordered them to switch off the radars. Second Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. Mehmet Veysi Ağar retired last August because he was responsible for last year’s Uludere incident.

Jan. 17, 2012: Zaman newspaper claimed that an Israeli UAV Heron was identified in the previous two months flying over Hatay and Adana provinces. According to the report, the UAV collected information on the installation of the Turkish Armed Forces in the region.

Jan. 19, 2012: Leaked material reveals that during the night hours of Jan. 19 over the province Hatay, Turkish F-16 and Israeli F-15 aircraft were involved in a dogfight. The 2nd Air Force headquarters in Diyarbakir detected “unknown” tracks over the Hatay province and two F-16 Block 40 of 182 Filo “Atmaca” were scrambled. A KC-135A by 101 Filo was in the area as well to provide support to the interceptors.

February 2012: Israel eyes Cyprus for military air base

Mar. 5, 2012: Newspaper Habertürk claimes that Turkish Air Force decided to the encrypt all communications as it was found that Israeli intelligence services had been listening conversations between pilots and radar stations. Specifically targeted by the Israelis were the Konya airbase’s flying ops.

May 14, 2012: The Turkish Armed Forces announced that an Israeli aircraft was flying in the airspace over the occupied Cypriot territories.

Jul. 6, 2012: Vatan newspaper reveales that two F-16s scrambled as an Israeli F-15 was approaching the Turkish territories.

Last and most interesting case:

Feb. 23, 2010: Two Turkish F-5 aircraft are conducting night training flight over Konya, central Turkey when they discover the presence of two aircraft. As it comes out by the leaked material, Turkish General Staff launched an investigation on the incident, but Lt. G. Korcan Pulatsü, head of the Eskişehir 1st Air Forces Command, and Major General Nezih Damcı, Deputy Commander of 1st Air Forces Command “covered up” the case. The interesting past of the video is that after 3:20 someone talks with the Greek Cypriot dialogue and the Turkish pilot asks: “Have the Greeks come till Konya?” Skorpios is the callsign for the Cypriot National Guard attack helicopters SA342L Gazelle

Furthermore, in the week between Oct. 21 – 26 there will be an joint excercise in Larissa Air Base with about ten Israeli F-16Is and HAF’s 337 Sq. in response to a last year exercise in Israel:

[Source: Strategy Reports]