16/04 - 22/04
Aircraft - Lockheed C130E
Serial - 71-1468 (C/N 4514)
Operator - Turkish Air Force (Türk Hava Kuvvetleri) Squadron - 222 'Alev (Flame)' Filo
Date and Location - 17/03 RAF Mildenhall (EGUN)
The Turkish Air Force currently have 13 C130s in service consisting of a mixture of both B and E versions, all of which have been modernized by TAI under the 'Erciyes' program. This particular example comes from from 222 Filo (Alev/Flame) based at Kayseri/Erkilet, which is the home to the 12nciHUAU transport wing. The Wing is made up of 3 Squadrons (221 Filo Esen/Brise with the C160D Transall, 222 Filo Alev/Flame with the C130b/E and 223 Filo (WFU) Kanat/wing with the CN325M-100). The TuAF are due to replace some of their older C130 Airframes and augment the remaining ones with the A400M. Turkey is also a partner nation in the Airbus A400M program. Although the A400M is essentially a heavy tactical lift aircraft, it can also be transformed into a tanker aircraft for aerial refueling at short notice and has ordered a total of ten of the type. 222 have operrated the type since 1964 and currently operate all 13 of the aircraft including the Turkish Stars Support Aircraft.
Aircraft - Breguet Atlantic ATL2
Serial - 3 (C/N 3)
Operator - French Navy (Aviation) (Aéronavale) Squadron - 23F
Date and Location - 17/03 RAF Lossiemouth (EGQS)
The Aéronavale currently have 22 of the type in service between 21F and 23F in the Maritime Patrol role. 21F based at Nimes Garons and 23F based at Lann-Bihoue each have eight aircraft on strength at present with the remainder being placed in storage or away for maintenance. The Atlantique II replaced the Atlantic I during the second half of the 80's and early 90's and incorporating new equipment and avionics that were considerably revised, with a new radar, a new sonar processor and tactical computer, with a FLIR turret under the nose. The Aircraft was also given the ability to carry Exocet missile. The aircraft first flew on 21 October 1961 and saw production (Through both variants) reach 110 aircraft in all and is still used in service by Pakistan as well as the French. Flying with a crew of 12 (plus 12 more as passengers or a relief crew) the aircraft has a range of 9,075 km and a endurance of 18 hours.
Aircraft - Airbus Voyager KC2
Serial - ZZ330 (G-VYGA) (C/N 1046/MRTT017 )
Operator - Royal Air Force (RAF) (Air Tanker) Squadron - N/a
Date and Location - 18/04 Manchester International Airport (EGCC)
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 AC130U
Serial - 89-0510 (C/N 5229)
Operator - United States Air Force (USAF) Squadron - 4th SOS / 1st SOW
Date and Location - 21/04 RAF Mildenhall (EGUN)
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 - SOCATA TBM-700A
Serial - 99/ABO (C/N 99)
Operator - French Army (Armée de Terre ) Squadron - EAAT (EAAT (Escadrille Avions de l'ALAT))
Date and Location - 20/04 Southampton Airport (EGHI)
The Armée de Terre currently have 11 of the type in service in the Utility/VIP Transport Aircraft role. The Escadrille Avions de l' Armée de Terre (EAAT) is the fixed wing unit of the ALAT and equipped with a number of TBM700's and Cessna F406 Caravan II's (As fixed wing assets) in various light transport and surveillance roles based at Rennes/Saint Jacques. The unit makes up part of the 3 Regiments of the Escadrille Avions de l'ALAT that operate some 346 aircraft (Most of which are Helicopters) in various roles from surveillance to Anti Tank Operations. The SOCATA TBM 700 and TBM 850 are high performance single engine turboprop light business and utility aircraft manufactured by SOCATA. The TBM 700 was offered until 2006, when the TBM 850 was introduced. Operated by a crew of 2, plus a capacity of 4-6 passengers, the aircraft has a range of some 2,813 km at a maximum speed of 593 km/h.
Aircraft - CASA CN235M-100
Serial - 253 (C/N94 )
Operator - Irish Air Corps (an tAerchór) Squadron - 101 Squadron
Date and Location - 22/04 Heathrow International Airport (EGLL)
The aircraft is one of 2 the IAC have in service in the Maritime Patrol role. The aircraft saw action during the Libyan conflict to evacuate some 40+ Irish civillians from the troubled area. The type is operated 101 'Maritime Squadron' based at Baldonnel along with the rest of the IAC's aircraft, under the 1st Operations wing. Both of the IAC's aircraft were upgraded in 2006/2007 by EADS CASA to the FITS Persuader standard with enhanced radar, forward looking infra red equipment and a new electronic and avionics suite. The IAC is the aerial component of the Defence Forces of Ireland providing 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 aircraft are used in support of fishery protection using their long-range to patrol throughout the Irish exclusive fishery limits. Other IAC Assets are used occasionly (Cessna's EC135 and AW139) to monitor inshore fishing activities.
Aircraft - Avro Lancaster B.1
Serial - PA474 (C/N VACH0052/D2973 )
Operator - Royal Air Force (RAF) Squadron - Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF)
Date and Location - RAF Coningsby (EGXC)
PA474 is one of only two Lancaster aircraft remaining in airworthy condition out of the 7,377 that were built (the other is in Canada with the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum at Hamilton, Ontario). PA474 rolled off the production line at the Vickers Armstrong Broughton factory at Hawarden Airfield, Chester on 31 May 1945, just after the war in Europe came to an end, so she was prepared for use against the Japanese as part of the ‘Tiger Force’. Since May 2007, PA474 has worn the markings of Lancaster EE139 the ‘Phantom of the Ruhr’, with the aircraft’s No 100 Squadron code letters ’HW-R’ on the port side, and the 550 Squadron codes ‘BQ-B on the starboard side. Of the 7,377 Lancasters built, there were only ever 35 that each completed more than 100 operational missions – the ‘Centurions’ or ‘Ton-up Lancs’ – most were lost long before achieving such a milestone. PA474's guns have all been deactivated and bombing related equipment has been removed. The gun turret hydraulics and oxygen system are also non-operational and during the winter of 1995 the Lancaster was fitted with a new main spar to extend her flying life. The undercarriage of an Avro Lincoln and main tyres from an Avro Shackleton, both aircraft closely related to the Lancaster. However, original tail wheel tyres are no longer available and so a nose wheel tyre from a Airbus A340 is now used as a substitute. She displays the markings of bombs for operations over Germany, ice-cream cones for operations over Italy, and poppies for when she has released poppies during exhibition flights.
Aircraft - Vickers VC10 C1K
Serial - XR808/R (C/N 828)
Operator - Royal Air Force (RAF) Squadron - 101 Squadron
Date and Location - RAF Lossiemouth (EGQL)
Operated by 101 Squadron based at RAF Brize Norton. No. 101 Squadron of the Royal Air Force operates the Vickers VC10 C1K, K3 and K4 and since 10 Squadron disbanded in 2005, the squadron is the only operator of the VC10. In 1978, the RAF announced a plan to convert second-hand civil Vickers VC10 aircraft for conversion to aerial refueling aircraft and the first K2 flew in 1982. No 101 Squadron was chosen to operate the aircraft and was reformed at RAF Brize Norton on 1 May 1984. The VC10 and Lockheed TriStar tanker/transports are due to be replaced in RAF service by the Airbus A330 MRTT under the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft Project; they are currently restricted to use as tankers, and will not be used beyond the end of the 2010-2015 support contract. VC10s supported the British air strikes on Libya on 19–20 March 2011 as part of the coalition operations to enforce UN Resolution 1973.
Aircraft - Lockheed U2S
Serial - 80-1073 (C/N 073)
Operator - Unted States Air Force (USAF) Squadron - 99th RS
Date and Location - 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 - BAE Systems Hawk T2
Serial - ZK010 (C/N RT001/1239)
ZK027 (C/N RT018/1256)
Operator - Royal Air Force (RAF) Squadron - 4 Squadron
Date and Location - Various
Formally operating the Harrier GR9 at RAF Wittering as the OCU, 4 Squadron reformed with the Hawk T2 on the 24th November at RAF Valley, on the same day 19 Squadron disbanded. 4 Squadron, whose motto is ‘In futurum videre - To see into the future’, were first, formed at Farnborough on 16th September 1912 as part of the RFC. Operating various aircraft including the Bristol F.2 Fighter, Spitfire, Hunter and Harrier the squadron has many Battle Honours to their credit including Western Front 1914-191, France and Low Countries 1939-1940, France and Germany 1944-194 and Iraq 2003. The RAF currently operates some 20+ Hawk T2s alongside the Hawk T1 in the Jet Trainer Role. The Hawk T2 (Also known as the Mk128) is the new Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) for the RAF and Royal Navy. The Mk. 128 includes modern LCD displays instead of conventional instrumentation, and allows preparation for flying modern fighter aircraft, particularly the all "glass" Typhoon. It uses the Rolls-Royce Adour 951 engine. The aircraft's maiden flight occurred on 27 July 2005 from BAE Systems' Warton Aerodrome and lasted for 1 hour 18 minutes.
Thats all for this weekAircraft - Beechcraft King Air 350ER Avenger T,1
Serial - ZZ502 (C/N FL-629)
Operator - Fleet Air Arm (FAA) Squadron - 750 Squadron
Date and Location - 16/04 RNAS Culdrose
Ascent Flight Training took delivery of the type to meet observer training requirements after the retierment of the Jetstream. Four converted Beechcraft King Air 350ERs are to be used in the role with 750 Squadron based at RNAS Culdrose. Tasks will include preparing observers in areas such as route navigation and the use of tactical sensors. The aircraft is fitted out with a Telephonics 1700A maritime search radar, two onboard student consoles and two laptop-based instructor stations, the aircraft will train personnel before their conversion onto the navy's frontline helicopters. Despite a smaller fleet than the navy's previous nine Jetstreams, 750 Sqn will pass more students on to be trained using the Avengers. The previous training system delivered three courses of 10 students each a year, while the new model will be based on six courses of six each. The Aircraft is based on the same airframe used by the RAF's Shadow R1s. The aircraft was first introduced into UK Military Service in 2004, replacing the Jet Stream of the RAF in the Multi Engine Trainer Role. Powered by Two Pratt & Whitney PT6A-42 Turboprops the aircraft has a top speed of 259 knots and operates with a crew of 3.