Tag Archives: U.S. Air Force

Eight A-10 tankbusters have deployed to Slovakia “to demonstrate U.S. deterrence efforts against Russia”

Cross-border training in eastern Europe for the A-10 Thunderbolts from Indiana.

Eight A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft, along with 140 airmen, belonging to the 122nd Fighter Wing, Fort Wayne Air Station, Indiana, have deployed for a one-month combined training exercise at the Slovakian Sliač Air Base on Jul. 8. The deployment is a part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, whose aim is to provide support and reinforcement on the NATO Eastern Flank somehow threatened by Russia.

“This deployment continues to demonstrate our commitment to our allies and our deterrence efforts against Russia” states an official U.S. Air Force release.

The 163rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron will be flying with the Slovakian Air Force to demonstrate Close Air Support (CAS) capabilities and will also be participating in cross-border flights with deployed USAF total-force partners flying F-16s, KC-135s, C-130s as well as assets from other regional allied air Forces.

Although this is the first deployment of the 163rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron to Sliač, the A-10 “Warthog” has already shown its presence in Slovakia and across eastern Europe operating, among other locations, from the Polish Łask and Powidz airbases, from Bulgaria or even from the Estonian Amari airbase.

Image Credit: U.S. Air Force

This is what the F-22 Raptor stealth jet looks like through the thermal camera of a crime-fighting helicopter

Needless to say, stealth does not mean “invisible”…

The above image was posted by the National Police Air Service helicopter serving the South West of England.

It’s a screenshot from the thermal camera used by the EC-135 of the NPAS, based at Filton Aerodrome, west of Swindon, and shows one of the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor jets that deployed to RAF Fairford to take part in the Royal International Air Tattoo airshow, on the ground, at RAF Fairford, UK.

The photo is somehow funny, as it depicts the stealth 5th generation jet more or less as it would look like in a combat flight simulator, and interesting, because the IR camera caught the parked Raptor’s heat signature more or less in the same way an infra-red search and track (IRST) systems would perform passive detection of a radar evading plane.

In fact, F-22s and other stealth planes have literally no (or extremely little) radar cross-section  (RCS) but they do have an IR signature. This means that they can be vulnerable to small, fast non-stealthy planes that feature low observable coatings and using their IRST sensors, hi-speed computers and interferometry, to geo-locate enemy LO (low observability) aircraft.

Indeed, there are certain scenarios in which IRST and other tactics could greatly reduce the advantage provided by radar invisibility and this is one of the reasons why USAF has fielded IRST pods to Aggressors F-16s in the latest Red Flags as proved by shots of the Nellis’s Vipers carrying the Lockheed Martin’s AN/AAS-42.

This type of system, also carried by F-15E Strike Eagles, and equipping some other modern combat planes, including the Euro-canard Eurofighter Typhoon or Dassault Rafale, lets the aggressor passively look for the IR signature of the enemy stealth fighter.

According to some pilots who have fought against the F-22, the IRST can be extremely useful to detect “large and hot stealth targets” like the F-22 (or the even hotter F-35) during mock aerial engagements at distances up to 50 km. Anyway, that’s another story.

For the moment enjoy a cool and unsual shot of the Raptor, that has been one of the highlights of this year’s RIAT.

Image credit: NPAS Filton

Enhanced by Zemanta

 

GoPro video shot from inside an A-10 Thunderbolt flying a Hawg Smoke 2016 mission

This is how BRRTTTTT sounds from inside the Hog’s cockpit.

Hawg Smoke is a biannual competition, gathering A-10C Thunderbolt II jets from several U.S. Air Force units and featuring strafing, high-altitude dive-bombing, low-angle high-delivery, Maverick missile precision.

Hawg Smoke 2016 saw 48 A-10C Warthog aircraft from 13 team operate at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, between Jun. 2-4.

This clip shows what a mission that includes GAU-8 Avenger strafing looks like from inside the cockpit: the 30mm rotary cannon is the Hog’s primary weapon and is able to fire 3,900 bullets per minute.

 

F-15E Strike Eagles unable to shoot down the F-35s in 8 dogfights during simulated deployment

“0 losses in 8 dogfights against F-15E Red Air”

The U.S. Air Force F-35A fleet continues to work to declare the Lightning II IOC (initial operational capability) scheduled in the August – December timeframe.

Among the activities carried out in the past weeks, a simulated deployment provided important feedbacks about the goal of demonstrating the F-35’s ability to “penetrate areas with developed air defenses, provide close air support to ground troops and be readily deployable to conflict theaters.”

Seven F-35s deployed from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, to  Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, to carry out a series of operational tests which involved local-based 4th Generation F-15E Strike Eagles belonging to the 366th Fighter Wing.

In a Q&A posted on the USAF website, Col. David Chace, the F-35 systems management office chief and lead for F-35 operational requirements at ACC, provided some insights about the activities carried out during the second simulated deployment to Mountain Home (the first was in February this year):

“The F-35 recently deployed from Hill to Mountain Home where crews, maintenance and support personnel conducted a number of missions. During that deployment, crews attained a 100 percent sortie generation rate with 88 of 88 planned sorties and a 94 percent hit rate with 15 of 16 bombs on target.
These numbers provide a positive indication of where we are when it comes to stability and component performance.”

“Feedback from the events at Mountain Home will feed into the overall evaluation of F-35 capabilities. The second evaluation will take place in the operational test environment with F-35 mission sets the Air Force intends to execute after IOC. All reports will be delivered in July and feed into the overall F-35 capabilities report. The ultimate goal is to provide a needed capability to the warfighter to execute the mission. It is not calendar-based or event-based.”

“The feedback from unit operators in place today has been very positive for the F-35, not just concerning performance but the ability the aircraft has with other platforms. In particular at Hill, integration with the F-15E (Strike Eagle) has gone very well. We’ve also been demonstrating the ability to put bombs on target. All of that information will be provided to us in the formal IOC readiness assessments.”

The following interesting chart accompanies the Q&A.

It shows some stats about the deployment.

F-35 deployment

The fourth column shows something interesting: during the exercise, the F-35s were challenged by some F-15Es and suffered no losses.

Even though the graphic does not say whether the F-35s did shoot back at the F-15Es some analysts (noticing also the “pew pew pew” in the chart….) have suggested the JSFs achieved stunning 8:0 kill rate against the Strike Eagle.

However, the “zero losses” may simply mean that the F-35s were able to complete their assigned strikes without being shot down by the aggressors of the Red Air: considered that the F-15Es were probably equipped with the AN/APG-82 AESA radar and the Sniper ATP (Advanced Targeting Pod), the fact that the Strike Eagles performing DCA (Defensive Counter Air) were not able to “find” and/or “engage” the almost-IOC F-35s can be considered a huge achievement for the pricey, troubled 5th generation multirole combat plane.

Actually, this is not the first time the F-35 proves itself able to fly unscathed through a fighter-defended area: not a single Lightning II was shot down during Green Flag 15-08, the first major exercise conducted, more or less one year ago, on the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, during which the F-35 flew as main CAS (Close Air Support) provider.

At that time, several analysts claimed the participation of two test aircraft in the exercise was just a PR stunt, since the aircraft was still quite far from achieving a combat readiness required to really support the troops at war.

Let’s see what happens this time…

 

Salva

Watch this video of a U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle flying at low level over Norway

Cool GoPro footage shot by 492nd and 493rd Fighter Squadrons during Arctic Fighter Meet 2016.

From May 23 to 27, the 48th Fighter Wing from RAF Lakenheath, trained alongside the Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish air forces during exercise Arctic Fighter Meet 2016.

Seven jets (F-15C and F-15E) from the 492nd and 493rd Fighter Squadrons deployed to Bodø airbase, Norway, to conduct BFM (basic fighter maneuvers) and DACT (Dissimilar Air Combat Training) to improve combined air operations.

The Arctic Fighter Meet gave the U.S. pilots the opportunity to train with the “Nordics”: Finnish Air Force F-18s, Royal Norwegian Air Force F-16s and Swedish Air Force Gripens. “That allows us to get a different perspective on how other aircraft maneuver because when we go to war, we don’t expect to fight other F-15s” said Maj. Nick Norgaard, the Arctic Fighter Meet 2016 project officer in a release.

The joint training gave also the Eagle pilots a chance to shot some interesting GoPro footage.

Enjoy!

H/T Giuliano Ranieri for the heads-up

Salva