Tag Archives: U.S. Marine Corps

Stunning images of U.S. Marine Corps EA-6B Prowler jets flying at dusk

EA-6B Prowlers during a training sortie.

Based at MCAS Cherry Point, in North Carolina, Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Training Squadron 1 (VMAQT-1) is responsible for training of student pilots and electronics countermeasures officers destined to fly the EA-6B Prowler.

The unit, previously VMAQ-1 (Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 1), was assigned the training role in 2013, when the U.S. Navy transition from the Prowler to the EA-18G Growler forced the Marine Corps to assume the responsibilities of “insourcing” training its EA-6B aircrews (previously trained by the USN at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington) in order to feed its squadrons until 2019.

Prowler 2

Prowler training focuses on the U.S. Marine Corps aviation tasks: assault support, anti-aircraft warfare, offensive air support, electronic warfare, control of aircraft and missiles and aerial reconnaissance.

Prowler 1

On Apr. 14, 2015 VMAQT-1 student pilots and electronics countermeasures officers took part in a training mission aimed at improving their skills to perform dynamic maneuvers while focusing on communication and radar jamming.

Prowler flares

In this post you can find some stunning images taken from the cargo door of a C-130.

Prowler flares 2

Image credit: U.S. Marine Corps

 

[Photo] U.S. Marines EA-6B Prowlers refuel during mission over Afghanistan

U.S. Marine Corps EA-6Bs are taking part in missions in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Some of the 27 remaining U.S. Marine Corps EA-6B Prowler jets are currently deployed to conducts electronic air defense over Afghanistan.

Close up cockpit AAR EA-6B

The EA-6Bs belong to the VMAQ-4, that deployed to Al Udeid, in Qatar, in August 2014.

Since they arrived in Qatar, the Prowlers have launched missions to Syria and Iraq, as well as Afghanistan.

EA-6B refuel boomer view

In spite of their age, the aircraft are still valuable platforms capable to support any contingencies or operations which may need kinetic electronic attack:  they can spot and identify enemy signals, jam radar emissions and radio communications as well as gather intelligence and pin-point enemy forces on the ground.

EA-6B refuel boom view

Still, the Prowler will probably be the last EW (Electronic Warfare) dedicated aircraft in USMC inventory: the Marines plan to retire the Prowler and replace it with the radar-evading F-35B which will be able to perform some EW roles by means of its AESA (Active Electronic Scanner Array) radar, used as a directional jammer.

Prowler over Afghanistan

In the meanwhile, the images in this post show some the Marine Corps Prowlers being refueled by a U.S. Air Force KC-135 on their way to one of the daily missions over Afghanistan.

EA-6B flares

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

[Video] F/A-18C Hornet painted in Russian Flanker paint scheme takes part in Top Gun training

U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18C in Adversary role at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina.

Eye-catching paint schemes which make fighter planes similar to their Russian counterparts have become a distinguishing feature of U.S. Aggressors and Adversary jets.

Along with “splinter” patterns, that are inspired by Russian 4th and 5th generation aircraft, more traditional camouflage, like that used by the Russian Naval Aviation, is applied to U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornets (that inadvertently invented the splinter paint design).

The following video shows Marine Corps VMFAT-101 F/A-18 and NSAWC (Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center) F-16s (including some Adversaries in Flanker color scheme) taking part in Top Gun jet fighter training at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, SC.

In spite of flight ban F-35 could still attend UK airshows

Even if nothing has been decided yet, it looks like the F-35 could still be able to attend Farnborough International Airshow in the UK.

As the fleet remains grounded by a flight ban announced on Jul. 3 following the Jun. 23 engine fire experienced by an F-35A CTOL (Conventional Take Off and Landing) at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, it may be possible that some F-35B STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) aircraft can be allowed to attend the two most important season’s airshows in the UK.

As many as four F-35s (three from the U.S. Marine Corps and a British one) were scheduled to take part in Royal International Air Show (RIAT) and Farnborough Airshow (FIA) near London. But, whereas it seems at least unlikely the aircraft can make it to RAF Fairford for RIAT, there could be some chances the aircraft could eventually attend FIA 2014, a major showcase which attracts aerospace companies and potential customers from all around the world.

F-35B turn

Indeed, while investigation into the cause of the engine fire continues and the rest of the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Royal Air Force F-35s remain grounded, according to DefenseNews, the Marines may decide to allow their F-35B jets to cross the Pond, making happy aviation enthusiasts and…Lockheed Martin, facing the umpteenth issue with the troubled fifth generation aircraft.

“As part of that, there is the possibility NAVAIR would allow for return to flight before the Air Force or the UK did depending how they analyze and accept that data and manage risk,” Kyra Hawn, a spokeswoman for the F-35 joint program office, told to DefenseNews’s Aaron Mehta.

Therefore, even if U.S. Air Force and UK will not lift the flight ban in time for the airshows, the U.S. Marine Corps may decide it is ok for them to fly the jump jet aircraft overseas.

As said, nothing has been decided yet. Considering that RIAT opens this weekend, the participation to FIA appears at least a bit more likely. But, who’s going to accept the risk to allow the aircraft to fly in spite of a fleet-wide grounding and investigation underway?

Can you imagine the impact of an incident on the reputation of the much debated aircraft?

Image credit: Tony Lovelock

 

Rare video of Marines AV-8B Harrier no nose gear vertical landing on amphibious assault ship

One of the few (if not the only) video showing a Harrier Jump Jet (nose) gear up landing on USS Bataan.

Here’s something you don’t see every day.

On Jun. 7, 2014, U.S. Marine Corps Capt. William Mahoney, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 263 (Reinforced), 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), had to perform Vertical Landing on USS Bataan, after his AV-8B Harrier aircraft experienced a front landing gear malfunction.

USS Bataan was operating in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations to augment U.S. Crisis Response forces in the region when Mahoney took off from the amphibious assault ship.

As he was climbing away from the deck he suddenly realized he had a gear malfunction. He immediately slowed down in order not to overspeed the landing gear, returned above the ship at 2,000 feet and started talking to “Paddles” (LSO – Landing Signal Officers), a pilot in the control tower who could provide assistance by radio.

Harrier no nose gear down

The Harrier flew the approach at 300 ft so that the LSO could see the landing gear and give some guidance to put the nose on a tool the ship has for this kind of issues: a sort-of stool.

Since there’s no way to train to land in this kind of situation, the pilot had to fly a perfect vertical landing, using the ship lighting system and the help of LSO on his first attempt.

Luckily, he stabilized at 20 feet and managed to land in the proper spot as shown in the video (that, weirdly, was removed by the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet feed that had published it; luckily, we found it again and reuploaded it since it is unclassified and released as you can see in the first frames of the footage).