Aircraft - Boeing P8A Poseidon
Serial - 167956 (C/N 40596/3522)
Operator - United States Navy (USN) Squadron - VX-1
Date and Location - 13/04 RAF Lossiemouth
Taking part in Exercise Joint Warrior 121 the aircraft is based with VX-1 'Air Test and Evaluation Squadron' at Patuxent River Naval Air Station. The aircraft first flew on the 25 April 2009 and is expected to meet its Initial operating capability in 2013. The P-8 is being developed by Boeing Defense, Space & Security, modified from the civilian 737-800 for use in the Maritime Patrol Role. The USN are planned to receive 117 of the type and have the first production P-8 handed over to them on 4 March 2012. It flew to Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, where it is currently being used for aircrew training. In February 2012, the aircraft made it's mission debut during Bold Alligator 2012, an annual littoral warfare exercise. The P-8 has a strengthened fuselage and 767-400ER-style raked wingtips, instead of the blended winglets available on 737NG variants. The airframes has five operator stations (two Naval Flight Officers plus three enlisted Aviation Warfare Operators/Naval Aircrewman) mounted in a sideways row, along the port side of the cabin. None of these crew stations have windows. One observer window is located on each side of the forward cabin. The Aircraft can carry a range of mines and Torpedoes and incorporates a Raytheon APY-10 multi-mission surface search radar.
Aircraft - Transall C-160R
Serial - 64-GC/R203 (C/N203)
Operator - French Air Force (Armée de l'Air) Squadron - ET00.064 Béarn/ SAL14 Griffon ailé
Date and Location - 15/04 RAF Northolt
The Armée de l'Air currently operate 48 of the type in the Tactical Transport Role. The transport wing ET 00.064 operates from BA 105 Evreux-Fauville airport which provides Command, operational and logistic support. first flown on the 25th February 1963, the aircraft was conceived as a replacement for the French Air Force's Nord Noratlas fleet. It is turboprop-powered and of conventional configuration for aircraft of this type, with high wings, and a loading ramp built into the rear of the fuselage. In size it falls between the Aeritalia G.222 and the C-130 Hercules. SAL14 is one of four Escadrons at Orléans-Bricy and Evreux-Fauville to operate the type. The latter is also operating the type in the refuelling role. Evreux is also the home of EA1/59 'Bigorre' which operates four C160H ASTARTEs for communications with the countries nuclear ISBM equipped submarines. Other Transalls are in use with units based overseas as well as two C160G, which operate in the ELINT role with EEA54 at Metz-Frescaty. The French C160s are slated to be replaced by the A400M when it enters service in around 2013.
Aircraft - Lockheed TriStar
Serial - ZD953 (C/N 193V-1174)
Operator - Royal Air Force (RAF) Squadron - 216 Squadron
Date and Location - 15/03 Malta International Airport
Based at RAF Brize Norton, the aircraft is one of 7 the RAF currently have in service split between the Tranposrt and Aerial Refuelling Role, 953 is a multi role aircraft and can be used for either of these roles. The TriStars were all bought and converted from ex Airliners versions (six ex-British Airways and three ex-Pan Am) and have been in service with the RAF since 1984. The aircraft have been subject to progressive updating, including the fitting of flight deck armour and Directional Infrared Counter Measures to protect against ground fire when flying into Iraq, and under a £22 million contract, are to be fitted with an updated cockpit. The aircraft are due to be replaced by the Voyager KC2 under the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) program along with the services VC10s. 216 Sqn was reformed in November 1984 at RAF Brize Norton specifically to operate the Tristar. The aircraft were operated initially in the Air-transport role but the fleet's role was eventually expanded to Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR) with the addition of Hose/Drogue units.
Aircraft - Lockheed AC-130U Spooky II
Serial - 90-0166 (C/N 382-5261)
Operator - United States Air Force (USAF) Squadron 4th SOS / 1st SOW
Date and Location - 15/03 RAF Mildenhall
The USAF currently operate 25 (8 x H and 17 x U) in the Gunship Role. Based on the C-130 Hercules transport plane, the aircraft is a heavily-armed ground-attack platform. The aircraft is armed with 2× 20 mm M61 Vulcan cannons, a 1× 40 mm (1.58 in) L/60 Bofors cannon and 1× 105 mm (4.13 in) M102 howitzer. The USAFS AC130s are underthe Air Force Special Operations Command which is made up of 3 Wings and 4 Squadrons. The 4th SOS is based at Hurlbert Field and has the mission goal of Directly supporting unified and theater special operations commands by conducting close air support, armed reconnaissance, and interdiction missions worldwide in support of Secretary of Defense taskings. The unit have been operating the AC130U since 1995 first saw action with the type in 1999 over Kosovo while supporting Operation Allied Force. The 4th was called upon to strike Taliban and Al-Qaeda targets in Afghanistan In the fall of 2001. In the spring of 2003 the 4th participated in the invasion of Iraq. During the initial 2 months of the conflict the 4th flew more than 1000 combat hours from 3 separate forward operating locations. In March 2011 the US Air Force deployed two AC-130U gunships to take part in Operation Odyssey Dawn, the military intervention in Libya. Most of the weaponry aboard is mounted to fire out from the left or port side of the aircraft. During an attack, the gunship performs a pylon turn over the target area (flying in a large circle around a fixed point on the ground, the fixed point being the target). This allows it to maintain fire at a target far longer than a conventional attack aircraft. The USAF currently have 16 AC-130J planned to replace the AC-130H and increase the overall fleet size.
Aircraft - Mc Donanld Douglas C-9B
Serial - 159115/115 (C/N47587)
Operator - United States Navy (USN) Squadron - VR-61
Date and Location - 13/03 RAF Lossiemouth
The USN currently have 15 C-9Bs in service in the VIP/Transport Role. The aircraft is one of four operated by VR-61 'Islanders' is based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. VR-61 was established in October 1982 and have the ability of carrying 100 passengers or 20,000 pounds of cargo, or several combinations of both. VR-61's mission is to provide worldwide, around-the-clock air transport of Naval personnel and cargo, moving people and cargo in support of the fleet, year round, around the world. VR-61 provides worldwide logistics support to Navy, other Department of Defense and State Department activities around the world. They have permanent detachment sites in Sigonella, Sicily, and Atsugi, Japan, where they provide air logistics to forces in the Mediterranean and European theaters, as well as to East Asia and the Pacific Rim. VR-61 is under the operational control of Commander, Fleet Logistics Support Wing and is scheduled by the Joint Operational Support Airlift Center and the Naval Air Logistics Office. Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 61(VR-61) is one of four Navy Reserve C-9B squadrons. The C9B's were delivered from 1973 to 1976 with an additional five C-9s being converted from passenger configured DC-9s. The Aircraft are due to be replaced by the C40 Clipper.
Aircraft - Lockheed C130H
Serial - 475 (C/N5233)
Operator - Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) Squadron - 4 Squadron
Date and Location - 13/04 BAE Warton
The aircraft is one of 30 C130E/H aircraft used in the Transport Role. The RSAF have some 40 C130s in service including 7 KC130H Aerial Tankers (RSAF 6 Wing/32 Sqn) and 5 VC130H aircraft for the transport of VIPs (RSAF 1 Wing – 1Sqn/Royal Flight). 475 is operated by 4 Squadron which comes under the RASF 8th Wing based at Jeddah (Prince Abdulla Air Base). The RSAF recently sold 6 C-130E have to Turkey with 3 other examples have been scrapped for spare parts. The C-130H model has updated Allison T56-A-15 turboprops, a redesigned outer wing, updated avionics and other minor improvements. Later H models had a new, fatigue-life-improved, center wing that was retro-fitted to many earlier H-models. The C130 is various forms is used by some 63 Nations in different roles. First flown in 23 August 1954, 2004 and 4 saw the Aircraft beat the 50 Years of continuous service and some 2350 aircraft around the world.
Aircraft - Agusta Westlan AW139
Serial - 279 (C/N31145)
Operator - Irish Air Corps (IAC) Squadron - 301 Squadron
Date and Location - 12/03 RAF Northolt
Taking part in the Night Shoot at RAF Northolt, the aircraft is one of 6 of the type in service in the Medium Lift Transport Role. Based at Casement Aerodrome located at Baldonnel, the aircraft provide support to the Army and Naval Service, together with non-military air services such as search and rescue and the Ministerial Air Transport Service. The first of four AgustaWestland AW139s were handed over to the IAC at Agusta's facility in Milan in November 2006. Two of the AW139 remained in Milan to provide training for Irish pilots before being flown to Ireland in December 2006. These helicopters are another first for the IAC as they are delivered with the capability to carry door mounted 7.62mm General Purpose Machine Guns. The Unit comes under the command of the 3rd Operations Wing and work alongside 302 Squadron who operate the EC135P in support of the Army. Under the mooto of 'Forḟaire agus Tairiseaċt' ("Watchful and Loyal") the IAC operate some 24 Aircraft and have some 900 Personnel.
Aircraft - Airbus Voyager KC2
Serial - ZZ330 (G-VYGA) (C/N 1046/MRTT017)
Operator - Royal Air Force (RAF) - AirTanker Squadron - N/a
Date and Location - 14/04 East Midlands International Airport
The RAF currently have 14 (7 x KC2, 5 x KC3 + 2 fitted for KC3) of the type on order to take over the Strategic Transport and Aerial Refueling Role from the services ageing TriStars and VC10s. . Based on the civilian Airbus A330-200, the A330 MRTT has been ordered by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Royal Air Force (RAF), United Arab Emirates Air Force, and Royal Saudi Air Force. The EADS/Northrop Grumman KC-45 was a version of the A330 MRTT proposed for the United States Air Force. The UK Ministry of Defence signed a deal to lease 14 aircraft under a private finance initiative arrangement from EADS-led consortium AirTanker, with the first aircraft to enter service in 2012. There are two versions, designated Voyager KC2 and Voyager KC3 the former will be fitted with two Cobham 905E under-wing refuelling pods, the latter with a Cobham 805E Fuselage Refuelling Unit (FRU) in addition to the under-wing pods. None of the RAF aircraft will be fitted with the Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS). The fleet is to be based at RAF Brize Norton and will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines. Crewed by 2 pilots and 1 AAR operator, the aircraft will have a range of 14,800 km and a ceiling height of 41,500 ft.
Aircraft - Lockheed U2S
Serial - 80-1085 (C/N) 11-085
Operator - United State Air Force (USAF) Squadron - 99th RS
Date and Location - 14/04 RAF Fairford
The USAF have 25 of the type in service. The U-2 remains in frontline service more than 50 years after its first flight despite the advent of surveillance satellites. The U-2 has outlasted its Mach 3 SR-71 replacement, which was retired in 1998. The USAF have 25 of the type in service in the Reconnaissance Role. Operated by the 99th RS under the command of the 9th RW based at Beale AFB, the Dragon Lady is used to fly reconnaissance missions around the world.The 99th Reconnaissance Squadron is responsible for providing critical intelligence for use by the highest levels of the US government as well as flying humanitarian, search and rescue and environmental missions. Pilots on the Squadron fly the Lockheed U-2S to continuously train to upgrade from a normal aircraft commander status to that of instructor pilot status.Operating the U2 since 1976, the unit have flown operational missions including extensive reconnaissance efforts during Operations Urgent Fury, Just Cause, Desert Shield, Desert Storm and operation Iraqi Freedom as well as humanitarian efforts covering wildfire and earthquake damage in California and Midwestern United States floods. 99 RS personnel are currently temporarily assigned to four overseas detachments. Capable of flying at 70,000 feet, the all weather capable jet is expected to carry on in US service until 2023.
Aircraft - Mc Donald Douglas KC10A
Serial - 85-0034 (C/N 48239/410)
Operator - USAF Squadron - 305th AMW
Date and Location - 11/04 RAF Mildenhall
The Aircraft is one of 59 the USAF have on strength in the strategic airlift and air refueling role. Operated by the 305th AMW based at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in central New Jersey, the unit have been operating the type since 1995. The unit also operates a number of C17 Globemasters to meet its mission of extending America's global reach by generating, mobilizing and deploying its aircraft ( C-17 Globemaster III and KC-10 Extender ) to conduct strategic airlift and air refueling missions where need under the command of the US Government. It also operates in parallel with its Air Force Reserve Command "Associate" wing, the 514th Air Mobility Wing (514 AMW), which operates the same KC-10 and C-17 aircraft. The 305 AMW also works with the 108th Air Refueling Wing (108 ARW) at McGuire, an Air Mobility Command-gained unit of the New Jersey Air National Guard, operating the KC-135R Stratotanker. The McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender is the military adaptation of the three-engined DC-10 airliner for the United States Air Force. The KC-10 incorporates military-specific equipment for its primary roles of transport and aerial refueling. It was developed to supplement the KC-135 Stratotanker following experiences in Operations in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. The KC-10 was the second McDonnell Douglas transport aircraft to be selected by the USAF following the C-9.
Thats all for this week!Aircraft - Lockheed C130H
Serial - CH-12 (C/N 4483)
Operator - Belgian Air Component (BAC) Squadron - 20 Squadron
Date and Location - 12/04 Prestwick International Airport
Operated by 20 Sqn (Sioux Blue/Blauwe Sioux) Flight Tactical Transport based at Melsbroek Air Base. The aircraft is one of 11 in service in the medium lift transport role. In 1970 the Belgian Air Force ordered twelve Lockheed C-130H Hercules (type 382C-25D) transport aircraft as a replacement for the Fairchild C-119G Flying Boxcar. The Squadron comes under the command of the 15th Wing and shares its aircraft with the Ops & Training Squadron, who are responsible for training pilots on the C-130H, A330-300, ERJ-135, ERJ-145, Falcon 20E and Falcon 900B.The C130H aircraft are due to be replaced by seven Airbus A400M's that are currently on order. On 5 May 2006, a Belgian C-130 "Hercules" undergoing updating at the Sabena Technics was destroyed when the hangar that it was in burned to the ground. The Belgian Air Force announced its intention to acquire a secondhand C-130 to replace the one lost in the fire. A month later, the Air Component acquired a C-130E from the American operator Evergreen (serial N130EV, to become CH13).