Tag Archives: United States Airforce

[Photo Report] A wide variety of modern combat planes (including strategic bombers) at Red Flag 12-4 at Nellis Air Force Base

Although the Colombian Air Force detachment was, at least for aircraft spotters, the highlight of Red Flag 12-4, many other interesting assets took part to the world’s most realistic exercise.

During Red Flag 12-4 more than 70 aircraft belonging to the following U.S. forces departed Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas:

  • 48th FW. 493rd FS. F-15c’s from RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom.
  • 388th FW. 421st FS. F-16CM’s from Hill AFB, Utah.
  • 23rd Wing. 74th FS. A-10C’s Moody AFB, GA.
  • 5th BW. 34th BS. B-52’s from Minot AFB, N.D.
  • 28th BW. 34BS. B-1B’s from Ellsworth AFB, S.D.
  • Marine Tact Electronic Warfare Squadron 3. EA-6B’s from MCAS Cherry Point, N.C.
  • U.S. Navy Electronic Attack Sqd 209. EA-6B’s from Joint base Andrews, Md.
  • 53rd W. 422nd Test and Evaluation Sqd. F-16CJ’s from Nellis AFB, NV.
  • 53rd W. 85th Test and Evaluation Sqd. F-16CJ’s from Nellis AFB, NV.
  • 552nd ACW. 964th ACS. From Tinker AFB, Okla.
  • 432nd W. 15th Reconnaissance Sqd. RQ-1’s from Creech AFB, NV
  • 92nd ARW. 93rd and 92nd ARS. KC-135R’s from Fairchild AFB, Wash.

In addition to the U.S. aircraft, the United Arab Emirates flying F-16s (and, obviously, the Colombian Air Force).

Image credit: The Aviationist’s Tony Lovelock

U.S. strategic bomber and tanker to be (temporarily) based in Australia. The first of a series of "future rotational deployments"

Few days after the Indonesian Sukhoi Su-30s made their first appearance at Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin for Exercise Pitch Black, the base in Australia’s Northern Territory will soon host another quite unusual visitor. According to the U.S. Pacific Command, a B-52 operating from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, will be temporarily based to Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin for a short term joint training with the RAAF.

The arrival of the strategic bomber at RAAF Darwin (alongside a KC-135 tanker of the Tanker Force in the region) will be the first deployment since the United States and Australia announced the US-Australia Force Posture Initiative in November 2011.

Whilst the purpose of the deployment is “to enhance U.S. ability to train, exercise and operate with Australia and with other allies and partners across the region, further enabling the U.S. to work together with these nations to respond more quickly to a wide range of challenges, including humanitarian crises and disaster relief, as well as promoting security cooperation efforts across the region,” what’s really interesting is that this could be the first of a series of future rotational deployments to both RAAF Darwin and RAAF Tindal.

In other words, the U.S. are now focusing on the Pacific theatre and have found in Northern Australia an eventual launch base for strike missions in the area (China and North Korea).

The aircraft is scheduled to conduct simulated ordnance drops over Delamere Training Range as well as practice aerial refueling operations.

The last time a B-52 has landed at RAAF Darwin was in 2010.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

The story behind this stunning B-1 photo: "RAMA 81 Heavy" across the pond

The following image was taken from a KC-135 tanker on Jul. 31, 2012.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

It shows a B-1B as it crosses the Atlantic Ocean on its way to Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. The aircraft (#85-0064) had taken off from RAF Mildenhall as “Rama 81 Heavy” along with Quid 63, an accompanying tanker of the local-based 100th Air Refueling Wing.

The “Bone” had arrived in the UK on Jul. 11, when an avionics failure forced the U.S. Air Force bomber to divert to Mildenhall.

Interestingly, on Jul. 31, the return trip to Dyess was delayed by another KC-135 that experienced an emergency during an air-to-air refueling sortie over Germany.

Here’s an audio file of RAMA 81 talking with Gander to coordinate a weather deviation and rendez vous with the tanker approaching the East Coast.

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Photo: Lightning fills the sky behind a B-1 bomber during a late night thunderstorm at Ellsworth Air Force Base

Taken on Jul. 24 at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, by Airman 1st Class Zachary Hada, the following image shows a B-1 bomber on a local apron as a thunderstorm gets closer to the airport.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

The image was made available to the public as approximately 350 airmen deployed to Southwest Asia to support missions in the U.S. Central Command AOR (Area Of Responsiblity) where the “Bones” will have the “clear focus to eliminate the Taliban and Al-Qaeda threats to ground forces out there,” said Col. Gentry Boswell, 28th Bomb Wing vice commander.

According to the Ellsworth AFB press release, between January 2011 and January 2012, Ellsworth B-1 aircrews from the 37th Bomb Squadron and 34th Bomb Squadron tallied a 99.83 percent mission effectiveness rate, filling more than 3,000 joint tactical air requests while responding to 432 “Troops in Contact” situations and destroying 321 targets.

Along with the above image, such figures should deter Taliban from attacking allied forces in Afghanistan a little bit…

Video: Red Flag night launch and recovery time lapse (spanning about 5 hours or so in just 3 minutes).

Brought to my attention by Jeff Merkowitz, the following video combines about 5 hours of night launches and recoveries from Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, north of Las Vegas, in just 3 minutes of mesmerizing footage.

By means of either the aircraft taxi, navigation lights or the flame of the afterburner, you can see the aircraft taxing, taking off for runway 21R and landing at the end of the mission on runway 21L, with Las Vegas in the background.