Tag Archives: U.S. Navy

[Photo] Iranian plane flies close to US aircraft carrier. F-18 Hornet intercepts it.

In 2012 a P-3 Orion decided to fly close to a U.S. carrier at sea. And these images show what happened next.

The images in this post, published on an Iranian site (that is currently down) were probably between January and June 2012, when USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) operated in the Persian Gulf.

They show what happens each time an Iranian Navy Fokker 27 or P-3 Orion (as in this case) decides to skirt an American flattops that is operating within the Fifth Fleet AOR (Area Of Responsibility): it’s intercepted and escorted (in this case by an F/A-18E Super Hornet of the VFA-137 “Kestrels” in cool digital color scheme.

Since these maritime patrol planes fly in international airspace and don’t pose a real threat to the Strike Group, the aircraft carrier doesn’t need to take any real defensive action other than tracking the surveillance plane all time or divert one of its fighter jets to intercept it.

Aircraft carriers don’t even need to change their course if a spyplane pops up on the radar, provided that it is not armed and it doesn’t show an aggressive behaviour.

Every now and then even Iranian speedboats and maybe subs pay visit to the U.S. nuclear-powered carriers.

F_A-18 1

Image credit: Iranian Navy/Aerospacetalk.ir  via Militaryphotos.net

H/T to Bjorn Broten for the heads-up

 

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Extremely rare: U.S. Navy plane lands on snow-covered aircraft carrier’s flight deck

Arrested landings on the moving flight deck on an aircraft carrier can be extremely tricky in several conditions.

At night, when the horizon is not clearly visible and pilots have almost no visual reference until they are on short final. In bad weather, especially when there are low clouds, thunderstorms, fog, etc. Or during a snow storm, when the flightdeck is covered and made slippery by snow.

The photograph in this post is one of the few you can find online showing an aircraft landing on a snow-covered flattop’s deck.

It was taken on Jan. 21, 1987, and it depicts an A-6E Intruder of Attack Squadron (VA) 52 on final approach for recovery on the snow-covered flight deck of USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) operating in the Bering Sea.

Image credit: U.S. Navy

 

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U.S. Navy’s new surveillance plane is full of flaws and not yet effective

Although it has not been released yet, the outcome of the annual report on major weapons, by Michael Gilmore, chief of the Pentagon testing office, has already made the news.

Even if the report does not use the word “flop”,  it depicts the new Boeing P-8A Poseidon as just not yet effective in two of its main missions: anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and wide area reconnaissance.

Flaws in the multi-million program (actually, a 35 billion USD endeavour) are almost everywhere: radar, sensor integration, data transfer.

According to Bloomberg News, Gilmore said the new aircraft shows “all of the major deficiencies identified in earlier exercises when subjected to more stressful realistic combat testing from September 2012 to March 2013.”

For this reason the P-8A “is not effective for the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission and is not effective for wide area anti-submarine search.”

Obviously, at least “some” of the issues will soon be fixed, but the reports highlights that the B737-800 packed with sensors aren’t ready to be deployed and used in combat simply because they would fail in tracking Chinese subsmarines.

Still, the U.S. Navy has already deployed six P-8As (out of 13 delivered so far) to Japan to perform that mission.

So far Navy’s comments on the plane have always been positive and this is also the official stance of Boeing, that has also said it they will closely work with the service to solve any issues that come up.

Although the test office found that, currently, the P-8A provide the same small-area search capabilities of the older P-3C Orion it is slightly replacing, the Poseidon is a quite young weapons system, hence it is provides the U.S. Navy a higher reliability, maintainability and availability with an increased range, payload and speed.

The problem is not with the airframe, but with the costly sensors that should be the real added-value of the new aircraft: radar and ESM (Electronic Support Measures) that make both ASW and ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) missions possible.

These will be fixed in the next months.

The U.S. Navy plans to operate a fleet of 113 P-8A Poseidon next generation maritime patrol aircraft.

Image credit: U.S. Navy

 

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[Photo] U.S. F/A-18E Hornet operates from French Aircraft Carrier

Do you remember the image of the French Rafale combat planes aboard USS Truman in the Arabian Sea?

Well, the Americans returned the visit with an F/A-18E Super Hornet landing on the French nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle proving an interesting (and maybe useful?) interoperability between allied navies.

Actually, the image above, released by the U.S. DoD does not show the VFA-37 Hornet landing on the French carrier, since no hook can be seen; the photo was probably shot as the aircraft performed a touch and go on the flattop before attempting an actual arrested landing.

Image credit: DoD photo by Chief Petty Officer Bruno Gaudry, French Navy

 

 

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Not very stealthy: first image of F-35C carrying full load of weapons (externally)

On Jan. 13, RAF Squadron Ldr. Andy Edgell flew first F-35C, the U.S. Navy’s carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter, with external GBU-12s, AIM-9Xs air-to-air missiles and the centerline gun pod.

Obviously, a radar-evading plane loses some of its stealthiness with such an external payload…

Image credit: Andy Wolfe via Lockheed Martin

 

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