Tag Archives: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

Take a seat in the cockpit of one of the last USAF F-4 Phantoms as it arrives at Oshkosh airshow

Helmet camera provides a unique point of view of the arrival at the 2016 EAA AirVenture airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, of one of the last U.S. Air Force F-4s.

Two of the just twenty remaining Phantoms in the U.S. Air Force, have taken part in EAA AirVenture airshow.

Flying from Holloman Air Force Base, NM, the two QF-4s performed two flyovers and one low approach before landing.

Thanks to AirshowStuff and a camera attached to the pilot’s helmet, you can experience the classy arrival of the Phantoms from inside the cockpit of the leading QF-4.

The last operational F-4 flight took place in April 1996; after the retirement from the active service, the Phantom continued to serve in the target drone role. Unfortunately even this kind of mission is coming to an end and the two Phantoms that took part in the Oshkosh airshow, serving as full-scale aerial targets with the 82nd Aerial Target Squadron, Det. 1, are going to be shot down during testing within the next 6 months…

QF-4s are being replaced by QF-16s.

Here’s footage filmed from the ground:

H/T Giulio Cristante for the heads-up.

Top image credit: AirshowStuff

Is a Turkish UAV currently operating inside the Iraqi airspace?

What might be an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is circling over the border between Turkey and Iraq.

Increasingly, military aircraft as well as UAVs can be tracked online thanks to the emissions of their Mode-S ADS-B-capable transponders.

In fact, these aircraft do not broadcast their ADS-B data but their position can be determined by means of Multilateration (MLAT).

MLAT (used by Flightradar24.com) uses Time Difference of Arrival (TDOA): by measuring the difference in time to receive the signal from aircraft from four different receivers, the aircraft can be geolocated and followed even if it does not transmit ADS-B data.

This means that the majority of the aircraft you’ll be able to track online are civil airliners and business jets that broadcast their callsign, altitude, position and speed via ADS-B in a cooperative way to let ground stations and nearby aircraft aware of their presence, whereas military aircraft (like the U.S. Special Operations aircraft daily flying over North Africa) equipped with Mode-S ADS-B-capable transponders can be tracked even though they are not broadcasting their position, because they can geolocated with MLAT.

What is happening right now over northern Iraq is at least weird.

A small aircraft or most probably a UAV, whose track appear to have originated from Turkey, is circling over northern Iraq, north of Mosul, being tracked by a feeder (a user with commercial off-the-shelf receiver available on the market) located in Erbil.

What’s unusual is that the aircraft, provided it is a UAV, is transmitting its data in the clear for everyone to see. Usually, aircraft (either manned or unmanned) performing clandestine missions can be tracked thanks to MLAT and not because their ADS-B transponder is turned on….

Any idea? Is it a drone or a small plane?

TuAF UAV over border 2

Image credit: Flightradar24.com

Unusual footage: Russian drone films American drone over Syria

Interesting footage released by the Russian MoD.

According to the Russian MoD, during the last few days the US-led coalition in Syria has deployed three times more drones than before with up to 50 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles often up in the air at the same time.

The Russians claim that the coalition UAVs are conducting reconnaissance missions over oil fields along the Syrian-Turkish border which the terrorists allegedly use to smuggle oil into Turkey.

“You realize that with the scale of video monitoring being done, our colleagues could share information about what is going on along the Syrian-Turkish border and how much oil the terrorists are selling and where,” Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said during a press conference in Moscow.

Whilst the U.S. said they “cannot see oil trucks crossing the border,” rejecting Russia’s evidence of Turkey’s involvement in oil deals with Daesh provided in the aftermath of the controversial shoot-down of a Su-24 Fencer by a Turkish F-16, the Russians claim that all the American drones from Incirlik airbase should have seen the tanker trucks moving across the Turkish border.

Anyway, as some many UAVs share the same skies close encounters between drones and videos like the one below should become more frequent.

Here are some interesting details about RAF Tornados first air strike on ISIS in Syria

RAF Tornados, supported by Voyager tanker and a Reaper UAV, have extended the UK’s airstrikes to Syria.

Hours after the UK parliament approved to extend the airstrikes to include Syria, Royal Air Force Tornado attack planes, deployed to Akrotiri, Cyprus, flew their first raid on terrorist targets inside Syria, early in the morning on Dec. 3.

The Tornados, supported by a Voyager tanker and a Reaper drone, dropped their Paveway IV guided bombs against six targets on an oilfield at Omar, “one of the ISIS’s largest and most important oilfields,” according to the MoD.

The six British “Tonkas” committed to Operation Shader flew their first mission against ISIS on Sept. 27, 2014 destroying the first ISIS target, a “technical” (an armed pick-up truck), in Iraq, on Sept. 30. Since then the RAF Tornado jets, have carried out hundreds of strike (and armed reconnaissance) missions against Daesh targets.

Although the payload may vary according to the type of mission the RAF Tornado GR4s have often carried a mixed load out with a single rack of three Brimstones and two Paveway IV 226kg bombs along with the Rafael Litening III targeting pod.

The Brimstone, is a fire-and-forget anti-armour missile, optimized for use against fast-moving platforms, first fielded during 2008 after an urgent operational requirement and used on the RAF Harriers during operations over Afghanistan.

With a warhead of 9 kg and a range of 7.5 miles, the Brimstones are an extensive redevelopment of the AGM-114 Hellfire and can be used on fast jets, helicopters and UAVs. They use a millimeter wave (mmW) radar seeker with a semi-active laser (SAL) that enables final guidance to the target by either the launching platform or another plane, and are perfect to destroy a vehicle with very low collateral damage risk, and an accuracy of about 1 – 2 meters. That’s why these small guided missiles have become the RAF weapons of choice since the Air War over Libya back in 2011.

Interestingly, one of the 8 RAF Tornados deployed at Akrotiri could be regularly tracked online during its transit from Cyprus to Iraq via Israel, Jordan, accompanied by a Voyager tanker: the example #ZA556 (the only “visible” aircraft in a formation of at least two planes) can be often spotted on Flightardar24.com as it flies into Israel, then into the Jordanian airspace before turning its transponder off to enter the Iraqi airspace.

Here are some of the latest logs:

With the air strikes now covering both Iraq and Syria, the UK has reinforced its contingent at Akrotiri with 10 Tornados and 6 (+3 spares) Eurofighter Typhoon, that have arrived in Cyprus on Dec. 3. The Typhoon FGR4 multirole planes (with their squadron markings stripped off..) belong to the Tranche 2: they can drop Paveway LGBs, but neither the Brimstones nor Storm Shadows yet.

RAF Marham depart Syria

Image credit: Crown Copyright

 

New video shows Russian Sukhoi “intercepting” U.S. Reaper drone over Syria

This was just released by the Russian MoD.

Russia’s MoD has just released a video showing a Sukhoi (Su-30SM) more or less “intercepting” a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone over Syria.

Although Russia and the US have agreed on coordinating their air activity in the skies over Syria, several close encounters between Sukhois and American jets and drones have occurred in the past weeks: as already reported Russian jets deployed to Latakia, tailed U.S. Predator drones on at least three separate occasions during the first week of the RuAF air campaign.

H/T @guidoolimpio for the heads-up