30/07 - 05/08
Aircraft - Raytheon Sentinel R1
Serial - ZJ693 (C/N 9132)
Operator - Royal Air Force (RAF) Squadron - 5 (AC) Squadron
Date and Location - 03/08 Glasgow International Airport (EGPF)
The aircraft is one of 5 on strength with the RAF in Battlefield surveillance (ISTAR) Role with 5 (AC) Squadron. The Aircraft is a Bombardier Global Express jet, modified as an airborne battlefield and ground surveillance platform and is interoperable with other allied systems such as JSTARS and the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) system. Powered by two Rolls-Royce Deutschland BR710 turbofan engines, the programme involved five aircraft and eight mobile ground stations (six on wheeled all terrain vehicles and two in air transportable containers), and a training facility at RAF Waddington. The first flight of the modified prototype was in August 2001, which validated the modifications required for the ASTOR system. The first production Sentinel R1 made its 4.4 hour maiden flight on 26 May 2004. The aircraft entered operational service with V (Army Co-operation) Squadron and flew its first operational sortie in Afghanistan in February 2009. The Sentinel cockpit has a centrally housed, pull-down screen capable of displaying a moving map, Link 16 datalink information and defensive aids subsystem (DASS) data. The DASS comprises a towed radar decoy, missile approach warning system and chaff and flare dispensers and can be operated in automatic, semi-automatic or manual mode. It is crewed by a pilot, a co-pilot, an Airborne Mission Commander (AMC) and two image analysts. Mission endurance are around about nine hours. While the image analysts can analyse the images on board the aircraft it is expected that, unlike the JSTARS, the actual battle management will occur on the ground. 5 Squadron was formed on 26 July 1913 at Farnborough and have been operating the R1 since 1 December 2008.
Aircraft - Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4
Serial - ZK326/FB (C/N 328/BS087)
Operator - Royal Air Force (RAF) Squadron - 1 Squadron
Date and Location - 03/08 - Scottish Borders Low Level Training Area
The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole fighter. The Typhoon was designed by a consortium of three companies, EADS, Alenia Aeronautica and BAE Systems, working through a holding company, Eurofighter GmbH, which was formed in 1986. The aircraft first flew on 27 March 1994 and entered operational service in August 2003. The Typhoon has entered service with the Austrian Air Force, the Italian Air Force, the German Luftwaffe, the British Royal Air Force, the Spanish Air Force, and the Royal Saudi Air Force. The RAF currently has some 87 Typhoons with a further 77 due to be delivered to complete the order of 160 Aircraft. The entire Typhoon fleet passed the 100,000 flying hours this year and saw the aircraft being deployed on its first Combat scenario in Libya. When flying Operations the Aircraft were based at Gioia del Colle airbase in Italy and working alongside RAF Tornado GR4s the Typhoons gained 91 strikes and a average sortie time of 2+ Hours. In total the RAF Tornados and Typhoons flew 1,114 sorties, 2,395 Hours flown and a Success rate of 97%. The RAF operate the Aircraft with 5 Squadrons (3(F), 6, 11, 17, 29 Squadrons) and 1 Flight (1435 Flight) in a variety of roles. 1 (F) Squadron is the latest RAF squadron due to Reform with the Typhoon. It operated the Harrier GR9 aircraft from RAF Cottesmore until 28 January 2011. The squadron motto, In omnibus princeps (first in all things), is appropriate for the RAF's oldest squadron that has been involved in almost every major British military operation from World War I to the present time. These include World War II, Suez Crisis, Falklands War, Gulf War, Kosovo War, and Operation Telic (Iraq). No. 1 Squadron's origins go back to 1878 when its predecessor, No. 1 Balloon Company, was formed at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich as part of the Balloon Section and is due to stand back up in September this year.
Aircraft - Embraer EMB-121AN Xingu
Serial - 77 (C/N 121077)
Operator - French Naval Aviation - Aéronavale Squadron - 28F
Date and Location - 31/07 - Prestwick International Airport (EGPK)
The French Navy operate 11 of the type in the Utility and training Roles with 28 Flotille Naval Air Squadrons. This particular aircraft comes from 28 Flotille based at Lorient – Lann – Bihoue. The aircraft is a twin-turboprop fixed-wing aircraft built by the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer, Embraer. The design of this plane is based on the EMB 110 Bandeirante, using its wing and engine design merged with an all-new fuselage. The EMB 121 first flew on 10 October 1976. Crewed by Two (Pilot and Navigator) the aircraft has a capacity of 8 to 9 passengers and a range of some 1,230 nautical miles. The flotilla 28F is a flotilla under the naval aviation command formed on the 1st July 1944 and still active today. The unit have been operating the Xingu since March 2000 and currently have all 11 on strength. The unit have been based at Lorient – Lann – Bihoue since September 2010 but do have a detachment of Xingus positioned at NAS Hyères.
The EDI Guy
Aircraft - Panavia Tornado GR4
Serial - ZA614/EB-Z (C/N 153/BS050/3078)
Operator - Royal Air Force - (RAF) Squadron - 41 Squadron
Date and Location - 31/07 - RAF Lossiemouth (EGQS)
The aircraft is part of the 108 strong fleet of GR4s in service in the Strike Aircraft Role. The RAF operate the GR4 with 2,9,12,15,31 and 617 Squadrons between RAF Marham and Lossiemouth. GR4s have been used extensively in operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. The 19th March saw the GR4 Force start working with Coalition forces as part of Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR, which has been officially ended by NATO. The Tornado GR4 Force (16 in all) involved with the Operations completed over 8,000 hours of flying and almost 1,500 sorties with a success rate of 97%. Several Tornados flew 3,000-mile (4,800 km) strike missions against targets inside Libya in what were, according to Defence Secretary Liam Fox, "the longest range bombing mission conducted by the RAF since the Falklands conflict". A variety of weapons were used in operations over Libya, including Laser-guided bombs and Brimstone missiles. The aircraft was jointly developed and manufactured by the United Kingdom, West Germany and Italy. There are three primary variants of the Tornado; the Tornado IDS (interdictor/strike) fighter-bomber, the suppression of enemy air defences Tornado ECR (electronic combat/reconnaissance). The Air Defence Variant was retired from Operation Service in 2011 after 25 years of Operation. The first of more than a dozen Tornado prototypes first took flight on 14 August 1974 at Manching, Germany flown by Paul Millet and saw the first aircraft delivered to the RAF 5th June 1979. Operated by 41 Squadron, the aircarft is painted in the rather splendid in memory of Group Captain Donald "Don" Osborne Finlay, DFC, AFC (27 May 1909 — 18 April 1970). Don Finlay was both a British Athlete and RAF Officer and won Silver in the 1936 Berlin Olympic games in the 110 m hurdles and a Bronze Medal in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games on the 110 m hurdles. In his RAF Career he claimed his first victory, a Messerschmitt Bf 109, over the Channel on 23 September, and by the end of October 1940 he was credited with a 'share' in a second Bf 109 and a Dornier Do 17 bomber, and had also damaged a further three Bf 109s. His aircraft was damaged in combat with Oblt. Hans-Ekkehard Bob of JG 54 on 9 October 1940. He added two more Bf 109s to his tally on 23 and 27 November 1940. 41 Squadron is currently the RAF's Test and Evaluation Squadron ("TES"), based at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire. Its official title is "41(R) TES". The Squadron celebrates its 95th anniversary in 2011, and is one of the oldest RAF squadrons in existence.
Aircraft - Boeing RC-135U F-108 Combat Sent
Serial - 64-0847 (C/N 1205)
Operator - United States Air Force - (USAF) Squadron - 45th RS
Date and Location - 02/08 - RAF Mildenhall (EGUN)
The USAF currently have 3 types of the RC135 in service at present - 3 RC-135S, 2 RC135U and 17 RC135V/W - in the Reconnaissance Role. The Boeing RC-135 is a family of large reconnaissance aircraft used by the United States Air Force to support theater and national level intelligence consumers with near real-time on-scene collection, analysis and dissemination capabilities. Based on the C-135 Stratolifter airframe, various types of RC-135s have been in service since 1961. Many variants have been modified numerous times, resulting in a large variety of designations, configurations, and program names. There are 16 different variants of the RC135 and has been in service for the past 30+ years. The RC-135U Combat Sent is designed to collect technical intelligence on adversary radar emitter systems. Combat Sent data is collected to develop new or upgraded radar warning receivers, jammers, decoys, anti-radiation missiles, and training simulators. Distinctly identified by the antennae arrays on the nose, tail, and wing tips, three RC-135C aircraft were converted to RC-135U (63-9792, 64-14847, & 64-14849) in the early 1970s and 63-9792 was converted to Rivet Joint, late 1978, and all aircraft are based at based at Offutt AFB, Nebraska. Minimum crew requirements are 2 pilots, 2 navigators, 3 systems engineers, 10 electronic warfare officers, and 6 area specialists. Assigned to the 55th Operations Group and stationed at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, the unit have been operating the RC135 since 1994. The Units mission goal is to maintain, operate, and support OC/RC/TC/EC/WC-135 aircraft providing worldwide reconnaissance and treaty support to the National Command Authorities, warfighters, and international treaty members. Squadron personnel fly world-wide reconnaissance and treaty missions on demand, often on extremely short notice. The 45th Reconnaissance Squadron provides data for the National Command Authorities, theater CINCs, and international treaty members.
Aircraft - Rockwell B-1 Lancer
Serial - 85-0064/DY (C/N 24)
Operator - United States Air Force (USAF) Squadron - 28th BS
Date and Location - 31/07 RAF Mildenhall (EGUN)
The Rockwell B-1 Lancer is a four-engine variable-sweep wing strategic bomber used by the United States Air Force. First envisioned in the 1960s as a supersonic bomber with sufficient range and payload to replace the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, it developed primarily into a low-level penetrator with long range and supersonic speed capability at high altitude. The B-1 has a blended wing body configuration, with variable-sweep wing, four turbofan engines, and triangular fin control surfaces. The wings can sweep from 15 degrees to 67.5 degrees (full forward to full sweep). Forward-swept wing settings are used for takeoff, landings and high-altitude maximum cruise. Aft-swept wing settings are used in high subsonic and supersonic flight. Powered by 4 × General Electric F101-GE-102 augmented turbofans, the aircraft has a maximum speed of Mach 1.25 (721 knots/830 mph) and a range of some 6,478 nautical miles. In the 1990s, the B-1B was converted to conventional bombing use. It first served in combat during Operation Desert Fox in 1998 and again during the NATO action in Kosovo the following year. The B-1B has supported U.S. and NATO military forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. The 28th Bomb Squadron (28 BS) is part of the 7th Bomb Wing based at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. The unit provides a strategic bombing capability. The 28 BS is the largest bomb squadron in the Air Force and flies to the mission capability of providing all the B-1 initial qualification, requalification, and instructor upgrade training for Air Combat Command. The unit, based at Dyess AFB since 1994, have been opertating the type since 1988 (Stationed initially at McConnell AFB, Kansas after reactivation in 1987) and trains more than 200 active duty crew members a year. The B-1B, nicknamed the B-ONE, is expected to continue to serve into the 2020's.
Aircraft - Boeing OC135B 'Open Skies'
Serial - 61-2670/OF (C/N 18346)
Operator - United States Air Force (USAF) Squadron - 45th RS
Date and Location - 31/07 - RAF Mildenhall (EGUN)
The OC-135B Open Skies United States Air Force observation aircraft supports the Treaty on Open Skies. The aircraft, a modified WC-135B, flies unarmed observation flights over participating parties of the treaty. Three OC-135B aircraft were modified by the Aeronautical Systems Center's 4950th Test Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. The first operationally capable OC-135B was assigned to the 24th Reconnaissance Squadron at Offutt AFB in October 1993. It is now fitted with a basic set of navigational and sensor equipment, and placed in inviolate storage at the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base near Tucson, Arizona. Two fully operational OC-135B aircraft were delivered in 1996 with the full complement of treaty allowed sensors, which includes an infrared line scanner, synthetic aperture radar and video scanning sensors. The interior seats 35 people, including the cockpit crew, aircraft maintenance crew, foreign country representatives and crew members from the U.S. Department of Defense's Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). The OC-135B modifications center around four cameras installed in the rear of the aircraft. Since its primary mission is to take pictures, most of the installed equipment and systems provide direct support to the cameras and the camera operator. Other modifications to the aircraft also included installing an auxiliary power unit, crew luggage compartment, sensor operator console, flight following console and upgraded avionics. The aircraft are assigned to Air Combat Command at the 55th Wing, 45th Reconnaissance Squadron, Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska, for operations, training and maintenance. When tasked, ACC's role is to transport a DTRA observation team to an Open Skies point of entry airport, and conduct the observation flight, then return the team to the continental United States.
Aircraft - Boeing Vertol CH-47D Chinook HC2
Serial - ZA679/AG (C/N MA010/M7014)
Operator - Royal Air Focre (RAF) Squadron - 7 Squadron
Date and Location - 02/08 - Salisbury Plain Training Area (SPTA)
The aircraft is one of 46 Chinooks (32 HC2s, 6 HC2As and 8 HC3s) in service in the Heavy Lift (Helicopter) Role with a further 16 currently on order to supplement the fleet. In 2006, the retirement dates for the HC2 and HC2A fleets were scheduled for 2015 and 2025 respectively, however if planned upgrades were made both types could expect to be flying until 2040. The RAF operate the largest fleet of Chinooks after the USA and have seen extensive service in the Falklands, peace-keeping commitments in the Balkans and action in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as well as Humanitarian work. The Boeing Chinook is a tandem rotor helicopter operated by the Royal Air Force. A series of variants based on the United States Army's Boeing CH-47 Chinook, the RAF Chinook fleet is the largest outside the United States. The Chinook HC2 aircraft, normally based at RAF Odiham, provides heavy-lift support and transport across all branches of the British armed forces, and is supported by the smaller, medium-lift helicopters such as the AgustaWestland Merlin HC3 and the Westland Puma HC1, based at RAF Benson. In 2006, the retirement dates for the HC2 and HC2A fleets were scheduled for 2015 and 2025 respectively, but if planned upgrades are made both types could expect to be flying until 2040. In March 1967 an order was placed for fifteen Chinook HC1s, standing for Helicopter, Cargo Mark 1, for the Royal Air Force to replace the Bristol Belvedere. The order was cancelled in a review of defence spending in November 1967, however UK Chinook procurement ambitions were revived in 1978 with an announced requirement for a new heavy-lift helicopter to replace the Westland Wessex. Thirty Chinooks were ordered at a price of US$200 million. The RAF returned their original HC1s to Boeing for upgrading to CH-47D standard, the first of which returned to the UK in 1993. Three additional HC2 Chinooks were ordered with delivery beginning in 1995. Another six were ordered in 1995 under the Chinook HC2A designation; the main difference between these and the standard HC2 was the strengthening of the front fuselage to allow the fitting of an aerial refueling probe in future.
Aircraft - BAE Systems Hawk T2
Serial - ZK028(C/N RT018/1256)
Operator - Royal Air Force (RAF) Squadron - 4 Squadron
Date and Location - 01/08 - Over Anglesly
The BAE Systems Hawk is a British single-engine, advanced jet trainer aircraft. It first flew in 1974 as the Hawker Siddeley Hawk. The Hawk is used by the Royal Air Force, and other air forces, as either a trainer or a low-cost combat aircraft. The Hawk is still in production with over 900 Hawks sold to 18 customers around the world. 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. A £450 million contract was signed in October 2006 for the production of 28 Hawk 128s. The MoD had originally announced its intention to order 20 aircraft with options for 24 more.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 week!