Tag Archives: U.S. Air Force

Excellent video of F-22 Raptor stealth fighter operations at Red Flag 13-3

Here’s a really cool video showing the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter ops during Red Flag 13-3 currently underway at Nellis Air Force Base, in Nevada.

Raptors belonging to the 1st FW from Joint Base Langley–Eustis, Virginia, can be seen taxiing, taking off and landing at the end of the training sorties with Las Vegas skyline in the background.

F-22 rear

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Red Flag’s “Red Air”: Badass F-15 and F-16 Aggressor fighter jets at Nellis Air Force Base

The Aggressors’ F-15s and F-16s are the most famous and very well known planes of the Nellis’ 57th Wing.

These combat planes with Air Force’s 64th and 65th AGRS (Aggressor Squadron) play an important role in the Red Flag exercises during which they constitute the backbone of an opposing air force whose aim is to threaten strike packages in the same way a modern enemy would do in a real war.

Aggressors 3

For this reason, Aggressor aircraft are painted with exotic liveries, inspired or replicating those of the Russian Su-27, Su-35S and PAK-FA or some African country’s Mig-23 Flogger.

Aggressors 1

Some Aggressors sport Russian-style markings and insigna whereas they usually use radio callsigns like “Flanker” or “Mig”.

Aggressors 8

In this post you can find some images of Aggressors F-15s and F-16s returning to Nellis after a Red Flag 13-3 mission on Feb. 28, 2013.

Aggressors 9

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Amazing St. Maarten-like photo of a B-2 stealth bomber landing in Guam. Ops, it’s Diego Garcia.

Update Mar. 4, 2013, 19.20 GMT

Princess Juliana Airport in St. Maarten, the Caribbean island, is one of the world’s most famous airports: essentially, planes on short final for landing pass on top of beach goers on Maho Beach, that is always floodeed with tourists and photographers.

If you look for images of aircraft landing at St. Maarten’s Princess Juliana Airport online, you’ll literally find thousand close up photographs showing planes flying extremely low over bystanders at Maho Beach.

Now, look at the following images. They’ll remind you the typical close-up pictures taken from the Caribbean beach with a main difference: the aircraft is not a civil liner but the U.S. most famous stealth bomber, the B-2 Spirit.

B-2 Guam

They show a B-2 Spirit bomber from the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, about to land at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam Diego Garcia, in the Indian Ocean Feb. 11, 2013.

B-2 Guam St. Maarten like

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

Two such radar evading planes are temporarily based at Guam to strengthen the U.S. presence in the Pacific region. But, although the caption of the Air Force photo says the aircraft was flying near Andersen, the image depicts a stealthy bomber landing at Diego Garcia, several thousand miles to the east of Guam.

Indeed, if you check the position of Andersen AFB and Diego Garcia on Google Earth, you’ll notice that only the one in the Indian Ocean has a strip of land visible from the runway threshold.

Diego Garcia

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[Photo] Six C-130 Hercules aircraft practice large formation airlift tactics and procedures

On Feb. 21, 2013, a formation of six C-130 Hercules from Yokota Air Base, Japan participated in a mission whose aim was to practice  large formation airlift tactics and procedures.

In the image below, the aircraft perform a so-called Elephant Walk, taxiing in sequence for the active runway.

C-130 Elephant Walk

The following photograph shows the Hercules airlifters of the 374th Airlift Wing leaving smoke trails in the skies over Yokota.

Smokey C-130s

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

A Yokota based U.S. C-130 was tailed by Chinese J-7 and J-10 fighters as it reached the airspace close to the border between China and Japan on Jan. 10, 2013.

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WC-135 in action following DPRK test: how the U.S. Air Force Sniffs for Nuclear Explosions

While the world diplomatic community debates sanctions against North Korea following the reclusive nation’s underground nuclear test last Tuesday, U.S. Air Force crews are in action over the Sea of Japan, searching for fallout from the explosion.

The WC-135 Constant Phoenix atmospheric collections aircraft is used to detect the radioactive particles that result from a nuclear detonation.

The WC-135 is a derivative of the Boeing C-135 transport and support aircraft. Ten of these aircraft have been operated since 1963, two of which remain in service today. The aircraft are operated by flight crews from the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron from Offutt Air Force Base while mission crews are staffed by Detachment 1 from the Air Force Technical Applications Center.

The WC-135, known as the “sniffer” or “weather bird” by its crews, can carry up to 33 personnel. However, crew compliments are kept to a minimum during mission flights in order to lessen levels of radioactive exposure.

Effluent gasses are gathered by two scoops on the sides of the fuselage, which in turn trap fallout particles on filters. The mission crews have the ability to analyze the fallout residue in real time, helping to confirm the presence of nuclear fallout and possibly determine the characteristics of the warhead involved.

WC135

Image credit: http://sokublog.seesaa.net/

South Korean newspapers reported that WC-135 crews had been operating from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa as early as Jan. 31, 2013 in anticipation of the most recent North Korean Test.

While the underground test likely utilized a series of tunnels, blast doors, and baffles to trap fallout, any radioactive particles that did escape will be useful to analyze the type of warhead and relative sophistication of the design and detonation mechanism.

The sophistication and size of the warhead help analysts determine whether North Korean nuclear technology is advanced enough to build a small warhead that can be delivered by missile.

Michael Glynn for TheAviationist.com

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

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