Tag Archives: U.S. Air Force

Video: Global Hawk drone take-off from chase car at Beale Air Force Base

Although the footage is a bit bumpy, it provides a cool point of view: that of an RQ-4 Global Hawk spyplane’s chase car during the huge drone take off from Beale Air Force Base, California, home of the 9th Reconnaissance Wing.

Chase cars are a safety measure used during take off and landing phases in order to give pilots assistance: highly trained pilot in those cars act as ground-based wingmen for the remote (or actual) pilots talking them through runway operations.

They are particularly useful when the size of the aircraft (either manned or unmanned) is such that the pilot’s view is obstructed by the airframe itself or there’s a risk of hitting any ground obstacle with a wingtip during taxi.

The U-2 Dragon Lady is the most famous aircraft assisted by a chase car during take-offs and landings.

Alaska’s F-22 stealth fighter jets became the first operational Raptors to drop GBU-39 small diameter bombs

The 3rd Wing F-22 stealthy multi-role fighters based at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson became the first operational Raptor unit to drop GBU-39 small diameter bombs.

It happened during exercise Combat Hammer, a weapon system evaluation program sponsored by the 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron, in the Utah Test and Training Range, “the only location in the U.S. where the F-22s can employ SDBs at speeds and altitudes unique to the Raptor,” said Maj. Wade Bridges, a Reserve F-22 pilot assigned to the 302nd Fighter Squadron.

The Alaska’s F-22s have received the software increment 3.1 that enables them to drop the 250-lb multipurpose, insensitive, penetrating, blast-fragmentation warhead for stationary targets; equipped with deployable wings for extended standoff range.

Among the Lessons Learned of the Air War in Libya, there was the need to employ SDBs to improve accuracy and reduce collateral damage.

The SDB is currently integrated on the F-15E Strike Eagle whereas all the remaining U.S. bombers (including the F-35) will get the GBU-39 in the future. The Italian and Israeli air forces have procured this kind of weapon as well.

Separation tests on the Raptor began in Sept. 2007.

The training event allowed for Total Force Integration across the F-22 fleet: pilots from both the 302nd and the 525th Fighter Squadrons and maintainers from the 3rd Maintenance Group and the 477th Fighter Group deployed from Alaska to take part in the exercise, alongside the Hawaii’s 199th and 19th Fighter Squadrons pilots and associated ground personnel who took part to this Combat Hammer as well.

The successful delivery of air-to-ground weapons marks an important step for the Hawaiian Raptors towards declaration of Initial Operational Capability.

As the debate about the F-22 “invicibility” goes on after the confrontation with the Eurofighter Typhoon during the Red Flag Alaska, the integration of the SDB is another good news for the troubled stealthy fleet which follows the one about a gradual lifting of restrictions imposed by the hypoxia like symptoms plaguiing the aircraft missions in the last two years.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force


On board a C-130J during a 16-Ship Formation Flight: the largest formation of Super Hercules aircraft to date

The following interesting video (with radio chats) brings you on board a C-130J of the 40 Airlift Squadron, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, during the “largest” Super Hercules formation ever (I haven’t had the possibility to check if this information is correct, so if you know or larger C-130J formations, please let me know).

The group on  took off on Monday Jul. 1 and flew in trail formation to El Paso then to the Big Bend area before heading to the drop zone at Dyess. After dropping their loads the planes wheeled off to the west and spaced out for recovery: as they lined up on approach to landing, more than eight miles separated the lead aircraft from the last!

Here's another cool B-52 cockpit video!

With all the fleet having surpassed 50 years of active service, the B-52 heavy bomber remains one of the most interesting (and powerful) weapon system in the U.S. inventory.

Few days ago the post If you love the B-52, this video was made for you: take-off, aerial refueling, formation flying, landing with the Buff showed some interesting footage taken during a sorties with a Stratofortress of the 96 Bomb Squadron at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana.

Here’s another one, filmed during a training mission that included aerial refueling.

If you love the B-52, this video was made for you: take-off, aerial refueling, formation flying, landing with the Buff

The 96th Bomb Squadron brings you on a B-52 training mission from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, on Apr. 18, 2012.

Footage includes briefing, take off, aerial refueling, formation flying, low level flying, and landing with the Buff (Big Ugly Fat Fellow).