Tag Archives: U.S. Air Force

Watch Slovenian Air Force Pilatus PC-9M Turboprops Perform Mock Dogfights, Fly Ultra-Low Level And Drop Bombs

Interesting video shows PC-9M advanced training and close air support turboprops at work. Something you don’t see every day.

The Slovenian Air Force Pilatus PC-9M Swift, also called Hudournik in Slovenia, is a single engine tandem-seat turboprop Light Attack Aircraft.

Stationed in Cerklje ob Krki Airbase, about 80 km to the east of Ljubljana and belonging to the 152. Letalska eskadrilja (152. LEESK, 152nd Fixed-wing Squadron) they are primarily used for Close Air Support (CAS) missions, protection of convoys, SMI (Slow Movers Intercept) and armed reconnaissance.

The aircraft is able to carry more than 1000 kg of ammo including Mk82, AIM-9L missiles, gun pods, 2.75 inch unguided rockets in various combinations.

The short but interesting video below shows some of the operations on the PC-9M, including air-to-air training, low-level flying, formation flying, and live firing at the range.

Interestingly, the Beechcraft AT-6 attack plane, one of the two remaining competitors in the U.S. Air Force Light Attack Experiment, is a derivatives of the PC-9.

Indeed, small, inexpensive, easy to operate turboprops, developed as trainers and turned into combat aircraft (just like the PC-9M) are becoming a big defense trend. Capable of employing precision weapons and ensuring long loiter times, these platforms are the backbone of low-cost counterinsurgency or “COIN” air forces that can operate their versatile aircraft from unimproved airfields, roadways or even fields.

The post 9/11 battlefield has changed significantly during the Global War on Terror. It includes a wide spectrum of conflict models for air combat. These include large scale air operations against nation states with conventional air forces flying against heavily defended ground targets in a non-permissive environment, like Desert Storm. At the other end of the spectrum it includes anti-insurgent air operations in a smaller, more permissive battlespace that does not require stealth, long range aircraft or heavy weapons, like some operations in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s why even the world’s most powerful air arm is in the process of selecting a Light Attack aircraft (either the AT-6 or the Sierra Nevada/Embraer A-29B Super Tucano).



Here’s what U.S. Air Force subject matter expert on light attack and counterinsurgency Col. Mike Pietrucha told us specifically about the Light Attack Experiment and the promise it may offer the Air Force:

“The argument is to go for a less expensive aircraft that is more optimized for the kind of warfighting we’ve been doing so that you can spread the burden out, rather than make everything a one size fits all airplane. Bottom line of that right now, is we have more missions than we have Air Force. When you look at light attack the amount of fuel it takes to keep a turboprop in the air for an hour is the amount of fuel it takes to taxi the Strike Eagle down the runway for six to nine minutes. Just the logistics start to look like an awfully attractive argument.”

Inside the cockpit of a Slovenian PC-9M.

H/T Matic Gomboc for the heads-up!

T-6 Texan II Aircraft (Including One In B-25 Colors) Take Part In A Rather Unusual “Elephant Walk” at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas

T-6 Texan IIs from the 559th Flying Training Squadron and the 39th FTS participated in an “Elephant Walk” at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. One, painted in the colors of the B-25s that flew in World War II.

“Elephant walk” exercises are conducted quite regularly at airbases all around the world to test the squadrons ability to launch large formations of aircraft at short notice.

During this kind of drills, combat planes (including tankers) taxi in close formation in the same way they would do in case of a minimum interval takeoff; still, depending on the purpose of the training event, the aircraft can either take off or return back to their parking slots.

“Elephant Walks” have always been particularly frequent in South Korea where local-based U.S. Air Force jets (often alongside Republic of Korea Air Force planes) often stage such “collective shows of force” in response to North Korea’s aggressive posture and threats: tens of U.S. F-16s, A-10s and South Korea’s ROKAF KF-16s regularly taxi down the runway at Kunsan or Osan airbases, in collective “shows of force” whose primary aim is to test squadrons’ readiness to war time operations. However, similar exercises are also conducted at airbases in Continental U.S. as happened, for instance, in April 2012, when nearly 70 F-15E Strike Eagles took part to one of the largest Elephant Walk to date at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C.



The latest Elephant Walk on the U.S. soil took place on Oct. 26, 2018, when T-6 Texan II single-engine, two-seat turboprop primary trainer aircraft from the 559th Flying Training Squadron and the 39th FTS participated in an “Elephant Walk” at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. Although Elephant Walks are commonly performed as a “show of force,” the Squadron at Randolph conducted one to get in touch with their heritage: both were formed and operated during WWII. The exercise was called a “Goat Trot/Snake Slither” as the 559th are the fighting Billy Goats and the 39th are the Cobras.

The 559th Flying Training Squadron provides T-6A Pilot Instructor Training for Joint Primary Pilot Training and CSO training at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. The squadron flies more than 16,000 hours annually in a fleet of 38 T-6A aircraft and qualifies more than 200 U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marine and allied pilots annually.

The 39th FTS is part of the 340th Flying Training Group and is the reserve associate to the 12th Flying Training Wing based at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas.

T-6 Texan IIs from the 559th Flying Training Squadron and the 39th FTS participated in an “Elephant Walk” Oct. 26, 2018, at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. Image credit: Airman Shelby Pruitt

Noteworthy, since the 559th FTS traces its lineage back to the 81st Bombardment Squadron, the lead aircraft was painted in the colors of the B-25s they flew in World War II.

T-6 Texan IIs from the 559th Flying Training Squadron and the 39th FTS participated in an “Elephant Walk” Oct. 26, 2018, at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. Image credit: Airman Shelby Pruitt.

Based on the photographs, 23 T-6 aircraft took part in the Elephant Walk.

USAF C-17 and C-130 Cargo Aircraft Airlift Troops to Mexican Border in Security Operation Dubbed “Faithful Patriot”

U.S. Mobilizes Over 5,200 Troops to Southern Border in Security Operation.

On Monday, October 29, 2018 the U.S. Air Force released the first video of C-17 Globemaster III and C-130 Hercules tactical transport aircraft deploying with full-time U.S. military troops to the United States/Mexico border in support of Operation Faithful Patriot. The video shows units of the 3rd Airlift Squadron of Dover Air Force Base and 61st Airlift Squadron of Little Rock, Arkansas loading cargo and personnel at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

According to an official statement, U.S. Northern Command General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy told media that Operation Faithful Patriot is deploying regular, full-time U.S. military units to the region, “To harden the southern border”. The arrival of regular military units will augment National Guard units and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol operations already in the southern frontier region.

Units shown in the video include the Headquarters Company of the 89th Military Police Brigade. It is likely the Headquarters Company of the 89th Military Police has been forward-deployed prior to the arrival of other elements of the unit as an advanced party to establish logistics in the region prior to the arrival of the remaining unit.

A USAF C-130 Hercules transport painted with WWII invasion stripes is loaded with personal equipment of troops deploying to the Mexican border. (Photo: USAF Released)

The border region between Mexico and the United States has become increasingly volatile due to an increase in narco-trafficking and illegal immigration. The city of Juarez, Mexico on the U.S./Mexican border has seen a significant spike in narco-insurgent violence. On June 23, 2018 alone, 20 people were killed in a single attack by gunmen. In another narco-insurgent attack in a barber shop that same day, five more people were killed. During the first six months of 2018, over 500 people have been reported killed in narco-insurgent violence in Juarez, which borders the Texas city of El Paso across the Rio Grande River forming a natural buffer zone between the two countries.



According to the local news outlet, “The El Paso Times”, the “Number of monthly deaths have more than doubled from earlier this year” in Juarez.

Statistics tabulated by the Uppsala Conflict Data Program for 2010 showed 2,956 deaths in Mexico in the ongoing narcotics conflicts while that same year 2,158 were reported killed in the civil war in Somalia.

A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol special operations team fast ropes from a CBP UH-60L Blackhawk helicopter in a demonstration of capabilities at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo: Tom Demerly/TheAviationist.com)

Analyst Scott Stewart, Vice-President of Tactical Analysis for Stratfor, the international intelligence think-tank, said in an August 14, 2018 analysis that, “Hot wars among Mexico’s cartel groups are feeding the country’s record number of homicides. The carnage can be found in border towns such as Tijuana, Juarez and Reynosa; in drug production areas such as Guerrero state; at retail drug sales points such as Mexico City and Cancun, and at hot spots for petroleum theft such as Guanajuato”.

The airlift deployment of U.S. regular military troops to the region also coincides with the anticipated arrival of “several thousand” migrants from Honduras, El Salvador and other Central American nations that are moving north through Mexico toward the U.S. border.

The deployment of active military troops to the region during a crisis is not unprecedented. According to a report in the BBC World News on October 29, 2018, “President Barack Obama sent some 1,200 National Guard soldiers to guard the boundary, while President George W Bush deployed about 6,000 troops to help Border Patrol in what was called Operation Jump Start.”

 

C-17 Globemaster III Cargo Aircraft Accidentally Drops Humvee Over North Carolina Neighborhood

The incident occurred during a test conducted by soldiers from the Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate.

At around 1 PM LT, a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III, belonging to the 437th airlift wing based at Joint Base Charleston dropped a Humvee over a neighborhood in Harnett County on Oct. 24, 2018.

No one was injured in the incident, caused by an early release of the palletized Humvee, one of the eight the U.S. Air Force cargo aircraft is able to carry and airdrop from its rear ramp, during a special operations training over Fort Bragg drop zone. The aircraft was flying at an altitude of 1,500 feet and the early release occurred about 1 mile from the drop zone.

The C-17 was involved in a heavy drop test conducted by the Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate that tests new equipment and procedures to support the aerial delivery and transportation of military equipment. Just two “items” were aboard the C-17 during the exercise: the Humvee that was prematurely dropped and a “new heavy drop platform”, ABC11 reported.

“Everything went as planned except for the early release,” said Fort Bragg spokesperson Tom McCollum.

Here below you can see how a Humvee airdrop over Fort Bragg looks like from the ramp of a Globemaster III.

Top image: file photo of a HMMWV “Humvee” parachuted to the ground while as C-17 Globemaster III aircraft preparing to drop additional vehicles fly past during an airborne training exercise conducted by the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team Sept. 8, 2011, at Fort Bragg, N.C. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod)

Here Are The Photos Of The Surviving F-22s Being Flown Out Of Tyndall following the aftermath of Hurricane Michael

Recently released photographs show flyable Raptors departing Tyndall to Langley AFB after Hurricane ravaged the key airbase in Florida on Oct. 10, 2018.

Tyndall Air Force Base was heavily damaged earlier this month after the Category 4 storm tore through the base. As Hurricane Michael approached the base, mission capable F-22s assigned to the 325th Fighter Wing were “Hurrevaced” to Wright-Patterson AFB (and later relocated to Joint Base Langley-Eustis).  According the data emerged thus far, at that time 31 percent of 55 Raptors assigned to the unit  were NMC (non-mission capable) and could not be moved away. So they were sheltered in place and consequently damaged: photos of F-22s and QF-16s in Tyndall’s shredded hangars have already made the news after they started circulating social media.

After the first assessment the Air Force’s top leaders said the F-22s that had remained in Tyndall when Hurricane Michael struck were not as badly damaged as originally feared. According to the first reports, as many as 17 aircraft were possibly damaged by Michael. The Air Force has not disclosed yet how many Raptors were exactly damaged and the extent of such damages but the more recent figures point to 10 to 14 Raptors.

“Some F-22s that sustained minor damages will be moved to Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, early next week to join F-22s that were previously moved there,” Military.com’s Oriana Pawlyk reported today. However, photographs released by the DoD in the last few hours show Raptors being flown out of Tyndall by pilots from the 27th Fighter Wing, Joint Base Langly-Eustis, Virginia, on Oct. 21 and 22.

A Pilot from the 27th Fighter Wing, Joint Base Langly-Eustis, Virginia, flies an F-22 Raptor out of Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, Oct. 21, 2018, following the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. Multiple major commands have mobilized relief assets in an effort to restore operations after the hurricane caused catastrophic damage to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Keifer Bowes)

A Pilot from the 27th Fighter Wing, Joint Base Langly-Eustis, Virginia, flies an F-22 Raptor out of Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, Oct. 21, 2018, following the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. Multiple major commands have mobilized relief assets in an effort to restore operations after the hurricane caused catastrophic damage to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Keifer Bowes)

U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors flown by the 27th Fighter Squadron pilots from Langley Air Force Base take off Oct. 22, 2018 from Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. After Hurricane Michael swept the area, multiple major commands have mobilized relief assets in an effort to restore operations after the hurricane caused catastrophic damage to the base. (US Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sean Carnes)

Additional photographs show surviving F-22s being towed to the runway on Oct. 24.

F-22 Raptors are towed to the runway at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, Oct. 24, 2018. Since the Air Combat Command mobilized multiple relief assets, maintainers and crew chiefs have worked around the clock to ensure the Raptors are operational. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Lotz)



This photograph shows five surviving F-22s and the tail numbers of three of these:

F-22 Raptors park on the runway at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, Oct. 24, 2018. Since the Air Combat Command mobilized multiple relief assets, maintainers and crew chiefs have worked around the clock to ensure the Raptors are operational. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Lotz)

Based on these images the following F-22A were in Tydall when Hurricane Michael hit and survived it: 01-4022, 02-4031, 02-4040, 03-4044 and 04-4083.