The UAE Air Force takes part in the air war on Daesh with the most advanced F-16 in the world. And here’s some interesting footage.
Filmed from aboard a KC-135 Stratotanker with the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, the video below shows United Arab Emirates F-16 Block 60+ Desert Falcons refueling during a mission in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the US-led coalition’s air war on ISIS in Syria and Iraq, on Dec. 16, 2016.
The clip includes some rare close-up footage that provides interesting details about the payload of the world’s most advanced F-16s flown by the UAE Air Force in the anti-Daesh campaign.
There appear to be two configurations (both featuring CFTs, Sniper targeting pod and two drops tanks): the first one, includes 2x AIM-9M Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and 2x GBU-12 LGBs (Laser Guided Bombs), whereas the pilot wears the JHMCS (Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System); the second one shows the Desert Falcons with 2x AIM-120B AMRAAMs (Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles) and 4x Mk-82 or BLU-111A/B “dumb bombs” (although they can’t be easily identified, hence they could also be Joint Direct Attack Munitions…).
Since 2005, the UAE Air Force operates the Block 60 F-16E/F a variant dubbed “Desert Falcon” described as “the most advanced F-16 variant in the world” for being equipped with a Northrop Grumman AN/APG-80 AESA (active electronically scanned antenna) radar.
Considered “a half-generation ahead of the F-16 C/D Block 50/52+” the Block 60s, that the UAE Air Force has also flown in 2011’s Libya Air War, are also equipped with Northrop Grumman’s AN/ASQ-32 IFTS (Internal FLIR Targeting System) that is coupled up with the FLIR sensor on top of the nose in front of the cockpit, and with an Electronic Warfare that includes the Northrop Grumman Falcon Edge Integrated Electronic Warfare Suite Radar Warning Receiver and the AN/ALQ-165 Self-Protection Jammer.
Photographs showing of six United Arab Emirates Air Force F-16E/F Block 60 jets arriving at an airbase in Jordan were released by the Jordanian Armed Forces on Feb. 8.
The images depict the warplanes which were deployed to help Jordan and the US-led coalition in the fight against ISIS. The kingdom has conducted 56 air strikes against ISIS positions in the last three days after it launched an air campaign following the burning alive of the pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh captured on Dec. 24.
According to the information released by Amman, C-17 cargo planes and A330 tanker aircraft supported the deployment.
The UAE Air Force had temporarily suspended its participation in the coalition air strikes over concern for the safety of its aircrews, following Kassasbeh’s murder.
Interestingly, two of the aircraft depicted on arrival in Jordan, don’t wear the national flag on the tail. This is not the first time aircraft taking part in real operations are stripped off their national markings. Some U.S. drones deployed in sensitive areas perform their clandestine missions “unmarked.”
It looks like the aircraft (or most of them) launched from Egyptian airbases (although Cairo has always denied a direct involvement in Libya) with UAE Air Force providing aircrews, attack planes and aerial refuelers.
The first airstrikes hit various Islamist militias positions in Tripoli including an ammo depot. A second round of strikes concentrated in the southern part of the city where vehicles and rocket launchers were bombed.
Libyan authorities were unable to establish which was behind the mysterious airstrikes even if some debris, including a fin of the guidance kit for Mk 82s, pointed towards air forces equipped with aircraft capable to drop GBU-12 Paveway II 500-pound laser-guided bombs.
Now, American officials have unveiled the U.S. has collected enough evidence to determine UAE planes carried out the attacks.