Tag Archives: U.S. Navy

Tomcat vs Zero: when the F-14 of the “Jolly Rogers” flew to Hollywood

The Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 103 is one of the most famous squadrons in the U.S. Navy. The unit has gained a certain popularity over the year thanks to the famous squadron markings they gained when the Sluggers (as the squadron was nicknamed until then)  became the Jolly Rogers and adopted the most recognizable symbol in Naval Aviation: Ensign Jack Ernie’s skull-and-crossbones on all-black tails.

VFA-103 is actually the third squadron to use the name and symbol of the Jolly Rogers:despite being different units, with no “lineal descent” from one another, both VF-61 (originally VF-17), VF-84, and VFA-103 have shared the same name, insignia and traditions.

When the Jolly Rogers were still equipped with the F-14 Tomcat (they now fly the F/A-18F Super Hornet) the Fighter Squadron (VF) 84, they took part in two movies.

Image credit: U.S. Navy

During the 1995, VF-84 starred in Executive Decision, a movie about the hijacking of a Boeing 747 transporting enough nerve agent to wipe out the entire United States East Coast, intercepted by VF-84’s Tomcats loaded with Sidewinder, Sparrow and Phoenix air to air missiles.

The Jolly Rogers took part to the movie with two Tomcats (BuNo 160391 and 160655). On Oct. 1, 1995, few days after filming the flying sequences, the Jolly Rogers of VF-84 were disbanded.

However, the motion picture that gave the world recognition to the Jolly Rogers, was the 1980’s “The Final Countdown”.

Not only the VF-84, but also the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) which steamed in the Pacific Ocean for the first time, were featured in the movie.

In this film the ship and its Carrier Air Wing (at that time, the Nimitz had the CVW-8 on board) are transported back in time till  Dec. 6 1941,  when they have a chance to face the Japanese Fleet ready to attack Pearl Harbor.

Along with a beautiful RF-8G Crusader belonging to VFP-63 (which is the one and only appearance of this kind of aircraft on the deck of a Nimitz class carrier) “The Final Countdown” features some F-14 of the Jolly Rogers, two of those find themselves in a dogfight against two Japanese Zeros replica.

The scenes of the “close encounter” between the Tomcats and the Zeros are among the highlights of the movie.

You may find the dogfight in the videos below a bit anachronistic, but watching the Tomcat maneuvering in all its “feline grace” against another legendary WWII warbird, is both unusual and cool.

Dario Leone for The Aviationist.com

USS Enterprise makes final foreign port Visit at Naples, Italy

On its way to decommissioning, whose ceremony is scheduled on Dec. 1, 2012, bringing to an end 51 years of service, aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) anchored in the Gulf of Naples, Italy, for its final port visit following seven months at sea, on Oct. 16.

The “Big E” departed her homeport of Norfolk, Virginia, on March 11 for a regular deployment to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility to conduct maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The USS Enterprise (CVN 65) transits the Strait of Messina on its way to Naples (Image credit: U.S. Navy)

One of the most awesome pictures ever taken on board USS Enterprise: starry night over Gulf of Aden.

A lonely C-2 Greyhound sits on the flight deck of USS Enterprise (CVN 65) with the Milky Way partially visible on the background.

The image was taken on Oct. 8, as the aircraft carrier, on its final cruise, was then steaming in the Gulf of Aden during routine operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

The “Big E” moved through Suez Canal for the last time on Oct. 16, 2012.

Image credit: U.S. Navy

Noteworthy, the COD (Carrier On board Delivery) planes do not always spend the night on board the supercarriers: since they are quite cumbersome, they usually perform daily missions to bring cargo, personnel, mail on board and return to Manama, Bahrain, where they rest until the following morning.

Not as beautiful as the C-2 one, here’s another stunning photo taken under the same starry night.

Photo: Flames explode behind the Blue Angels’ F/A-18 Hornets at Miramar Air Show 2012

Flames seem to surround the U.S. Navy Blue Angels demo team’s F/A-18 Hornet jets during the night portion of the MCAS (Marine Corps Air Station) Miramar air show 2012, on Oct. 13.

The Saturday “twilight” show, a fireworks display and the final “Great Wall of Fire” pyrotechnic display are common features of the annual Miramar air show.

Miramar is famous all around the world for being the base of the U.S. Navy Fighter Weapon School, whose training program inspired Top Gun.

The NFWS, has moved to NAS Fallon, Nevada, in 1996.

Image credit: U.S. Marine Corps

Unusual formation: U.S. Navy F-18Es and Royal Malaysian Air Force Sukhoi Su-30s. Overflying USS George Washington

Taken in the South China Sea on Oct. 15, the following picture shows a quite unusual formation: two F/A-18Es from VFA-27 “Royal Maces” fly in formation with two Sukhoi Su-30s from the Royal Malaysian Air Force over USS George Washington.

The forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 “provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Asia-Pacific region.”


Image credit: U.S. Navy