Tag Archives: U.S. Navy

This U.S. package (including a B-52 and few tactical planes) is worth a small European air force

The following picture, released on Sept. 5, 2012 was taken on Aug. 14, 2007, at the end of exercise Valiant Shield 2007. It shows a B-52 leading a formation of four F-18E/F Super Hornet, four F-18C Legacy Hornet, four F-15s and four F-16s, a package made of combat planes belonging to the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps.

Those 17 aircraft (and the weapons they are able to carry) represent a small force capable to perform a wide variety of missions against the most modern enemy air defenses: although it may be a bit far-fetched, I’m quite sure some minor (if not middle-sized) European air forces would be able to assemble an aerial armada as effective as the one depicted in the photograph below.

Image credit: U.S. Navy

Video: Insane F/A-18 Hornet low level flight through the canyons of Northern California

This is one of those videos that may give you motion sickness symptoms.

An F/A-18 Hornet flies at high speed through the canyons of Northern California “ridiculously close to the ground”. Noteworthy, in order to keep the aircraft treetop and avoid pulling too many negative Gs, the pilot rolls the plane inverted (thus pulling positive Gs – if he pushed the nose down at those speeds he would impose less tolerable Gs on himself).

As already explained, in the age of stealth bombers and standoff weapons, low-level high-speed flying to exploit the terrain masking, is still one of the most important parts of both planes and helicopters combat pilot training.

H/T to Bill Garcia for the heads-up

China's new carrier-borne Airborne Early Warning aircraft can't operate from an aircraft carrier

A couple of interesting images were published on some interesting Chinese defense forum of what appears to be a testbed for a carrier-borne Airborne Early Warning aircraft.

Is this a sign that China is currently evaluating the possibility to develop such a platform for its aircraft carrier(s)?

Image credit: http://club.mil.news.sina.com.cn/

Designated JZY-01, the aircraft seems be a sort of hybrid: the front half is based on the Xian Y-7, the Chinese version of the famous Antonov An-26; the tail section is much similar to the Northrop Grumman C-2 and, above all, the E-2 Hawkeye that is the U.S. AEW platform serving on all the American supercarrier.

The JZY-01 sports a large radome and a 6-blade propeller (as opposed to the E-2C that features an 8-blade one).

Still, this interesting plane will hardly be able to operate from an aircraft carrier: the example shown in the above pictures lacks the typical launch bar, that is used attach the plane to the catapult, nor is equipped with the arrestor hook, needed to land on a carrier.

Furthermore, as Flightglobal’s Greg Waldron noticed, it can’t operate from the former Russian aircraft carrier Varyag that it is equipped with a ski-jump, suitable for jet powered fighters but not for large (AEW) aircraft.

Therefore, although resembling an E-2, the JZY-01 may simply be a land-based AEW aircraft or the first attempt at developing such a platform for a future Chinese flattop.

That's a low pass! Blue Angels Lead Solo at Pensacola Beach 2012

This is one of those pictures that don’t need much words.

Blue Angels #5, Lead Solo, Lieutenant C. J. Simonsen, performs a high speed low pass at Pensacola Beach 2012 airshow on Jul. 14.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Rachel McMarr

To those readers who wonder whether it is safe to perform such flybys, I suggest to have a read at the following articles published last year: “Don’t do this at home: the Argentinean pilots braveness dispute” & “Argentine Air Force IA-63 Pampa crazy flyby uncensored cockpit video: an example of poor airmanship”.

Naval Aviation as you've never seen it. Some of the coolest pictures of the U.S. Navy hardware at work

The amount of positive feedbacks I’ve received after publishing an article about aircraft carrier’s recovery operations, proves that Naval Aviation is one of the aircraft enthusiasts’ most loved subjects.

Although I don’t usually publish book reviews, I think there’s a book I have recently had the opportunity to read, that deserves to be mentioned as it captures the vast universe of modern naval aviation better than any other publication has done before: Fly Navy!

Released in 2011 during the U.S. Navy Centennial ceremonies, the book by aviation photographer and author Erik Hildedrandt chronicles all naval aviation systems by means of never before seen photography and through the words of the men and women serving with the Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Corps all around the world.

To collect the material for the book, Hildebrandt has spent 2 years on travel across the planet: he has flown with deployed forces over Afghanistan and Iraq, with the Blue Angels over Hawaii, with VIP and training planes statesite. He has also had the unique opportunity to fly in close formation with some of the most rare unmanned aerial systems, as the Navy Global Hawk drone. The test F-35 is featured as well.

What makes Fly Navy! unique is not only the quality of the innovative aerial images he has brought back from each sortie, but also the personal accounts of those interviewed as well as the photographer’s very special point of view.

Click here to download a pdf file with 36 pages from the book that Hildebrandt has made available to the readers of The Aviationist.

All images, courtesy of Erik Hildebrandt