18/11 - 25/11
Aircraft - Airbus A400M 'Atlas'
Serial - F-WWMZ (C/N 006)
Operator - Airbus Industries Squadron - Airbus Military (Flight Testing)
Date and Location - 22/11 - RAF Lossiemouth (EGQS)
The Airbus A400M Atlas, is a multi-national four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft currently in the Flight Testing stages of its Development. Designed by Airbus Military as a tactical airlifter with strategic capabilities, the aircraft's maiden flight took place on 11 December 2009 in Seville, Spain. The A400M currently has orders totalled at some 174 aircraft from eight nations and it is expected that the first aircraft will be delivered in the second quarter of 2013. The UK is due to recieve 22 aircraft to replace some of the RAF's older C130 Airframes but also augment the remaining types in the Transport Role. The Aircraft are due to be delivered from 2015 onwards. The A400M will be able to operate in various configurations including cargo transport, troop transport, Medical evacuation, aerial refuelling and electronic surveillance. The aircraft features a fly-by-wire flight control system with sidestick controllers and flight envelope protection and like other Airbus aircraft will have a full glass cockpit and as such will represent a technological leap compared to the older C-130s and C-160s that many countries now operate. The types Cargo capacity is expected to double over existing aircraft, both in payload and volume, and range is increased substantially as well. The cargo box is 17.71 m long excluding ramp, 4.00 m wide, and 3.85 m high (or 4.00 m aft of the wing). The A400M has a removable refuelling probe mounted above the cockpit to allow the aircraft to receive fuel from drogue equipped tankers. The aircraft can also act as a tanker when fitted with two wing mounted hose and drogue under-wing refuelling pods or a centre-line Hose and Drum unit. With a crew of 3 or 4 (2 pilots, 3rd optional, 1 loadmaster), the aircraft has a cargo capacity of 37,000 kg (81,600 lb), 116 fully equipped troops / paratroops or up to 66 stretchers accompanied by 25 medical personnel.
Aircraft - BAe Systems Hawk T2 (x4)
ZK011/B (C/N RT002/1240)
ZK016 (C/N RT007/1245)
ZK024/O (C/N 1253/RT015)
ZK025/P (C/N 1254/RT016)
Operator - Royal Air Force (RAF) Squadron - IV Squadron
Date and Location - 21/11 - RAF Lossiemouth (EGQS)
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.
Aircraft - Lockheed L-1011-500 TriStar C.2
Serial - ZE705 (C/N 193Y-1188)
Operator - Royal Air Force (RAF) Squadron - 216 Squadron
Date and Location - 18/11 - Newcastle International Airport (EGNT)
The aircraft is one of 7 the RAF currently have in service split between the Tranposrt and Aerial Refuelling Role. 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 KC1's that the RAF have in service are conversion of former British Airways TriStar 500s. They have been converted for tanker/cargo/transport role. The aircraft have seen service in many conflicts including both Gulf Wars, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Libya. Two were deployed to King Khalid International Airport, near Riyadh in Saudi Arabia during the 1991 Gulf War as tankers, with the rest used for transport between the Persian Gulf and United Kingdom. The two aircraft deployed received nose art naming them Pinky and Perky. During the 1999 Kosovo War, TriStars deployed to Ancona in Italy, again as tankers, with four aircraft involved. TriStars joined VC10s in the air-to-air refuelling role for Operation Veritas (Afghanistan), during which they provided aerial-refuelling for US Navy aircraft. The RAF deployed four TriStars during Operation Telic in the skies of Iraq, to an as-yet-undisclosed location. TriStar's supported the British air strikes on Libya on 19–20 March 2011 as part of the coalition operations to enforce UN Resolution 1973. The TriStar was expected to remain in service with the RAF until the end of this decade, when it was scheduled to be replaced by the Voyager under the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) programme. 216 Sqn was reformed in November, 1984 at RAF Brize Norton to operate the TriStar. The C.2 variant of the aircraft are former Pan Am TriStar 500's. Operated as passenger aircraft, they have capability for carrying cargo and also Aeromed. The RAF have two aircarft in this fit.
Aircraft - Sikorsky HH-60J Jayhawk
Serial - 6023 (C/N 70-1705)
Operator - United States Coast Guard (USCG) Squadron - Mobile Unit
Date and Location - 19/11 - St Petersburg, Florida, USA
The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the U.S. military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission (with jurisdiction in both domestic and international waters) and a federal regulatory agency mission as part of its mission set. It operates under the Department of Homeland Security during peacetime, and can be transferred to the Department of the Navy by the President at any time, or by Congress during time of war. The Coast Guard motto is Semper Paratus (Latin for "Always Ready" or "Always Prepared"). The USCG currently operate approximately 204 fixed and rotary wing aircraft from 24 Coast Guard Air Stations throughout the continental U.S, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. U.S. Coast Guard aviators receive Primary (fixed-wing) and Advanced (fixed or rotary-wing) flight training with their Navy and Marine counterparts at NAS Whiting Field, FL, and NAS Corpus Christi, TX and are considered Naval Aviators. The HH-60J is a variant of the hugely succesful Sikorsky S-70 and is a a multi-mission, twin-engine, medium-range helicopter operated by the United States Coast Guard for search and rescue, law enforcement, military readiness and marine environmental protection missions. The HH-60J is designed to fly a crew of four up to 300 mi (483 km) offshore, hoist up to 6 additional people on board while remaining on-scene for up to 45 minutes and return to base while maintaining an adequate fuel reserve. Normal cruising speed of the HH-60J is 135 to 140 kn (155 to 161 mph) and the aircraft is capable of reaching 180 kn (207 mph) for short durations. The HH60J can fly at 140 kn (161 mph) for six to seven hours. The USCG began converting its HH-60Js to MH-60Ts in January 2007 and all 42 aircraft are scheduled to be upgraded by 2015. As each airframe upgrade is completed, the affected HH-60J will be re-designated to MH-60T.
Aircraft - Lockheed VC130H Hercules
Serial - 485 (C/N 5233)
Operator - Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) Squadron - 1 Wing – 1Sqn/Royal Flight
Date and Location - 23/11 BAE Systems Warton
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). 485 is operated by 1 Wing – 1Sqn/Royal Flight which comes under Wing 1 based at Hafar Al-Batin8th. The RSAF recently sold 6 C-130E have to Turkey with 3 other examples have been scrapped for spare parts. The C130 in various forms is used by some 63 Nations in different roles. First flown in 23 August 1954, 2004 saw the Aircraft mark 50 Years of continuous service and some 2350 aircraft opearted around the world! The VC130H is basically a retro fitted H variant of the type for VIP duties. 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.
Aircraft - McDonnell Douglas C-9B 'Skytrain II'
Serial - 161530/530 (C/N 47700)
Operator - United States Navy (USN) Squadron - VR-56 'Islanders'
Date and Location - 19/11- Prestwick International Airport (EGPK)
The USN currently have 15 C-9Bs in service in the VIP/Transport Role. The Unit operates five McDonnell Douglas C-9B "Skytrain II" aircraft from their home base at NAS Oceana. VR-56 provides around-the world logistical support to all branches of our Armed Forces. VR-56 has also been the head of an Executive Transport mission which carries the Secretary of the Navy, the Chief of Naval Operations, and many U.S. Congressional personnel and other VIPs throughout the world. Each aircraft is normally manned with a crew of six and is capable of carrying 90 passengers or 27,000 pounds of cargo or a combination of both. Since establishment, VR-56 has compiled in excess of 110,000 accident free hours, flown more than 40 million miles, carried over 1.2 million passengers and 30 thousand tons of cargo. VR-56 is composed of active duty and selected reserve personnel and provides around-the-clock worldwide logistics support for the Navy and Marine regular and reserve forces. 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. In common with other convertible passenger/cargo versions, the C-9Bs differ from standard airline aircraft in having a large cargo door on the port side of the forward fuselage, along with other necessary cargo-handling features. All other details are essentially the same as airline models. It is the second military version of the DC9 used by the US, the Air Force having previously selected essentially the same model as their C-9A Nightingale aeromedical airlift transport which has been in service for more than five years. Due to the specialized nature of the Air Force operations and the resultant name for its aircraft, a different name was selected for the Navy version--one of the exceptions to normal military aircraft-naming practice in which all versions of the same basic design carry the same name, even though used by different services. The Skytrain II name carries on the traditions of the famed DC-3 of WW II, the original Skytrain.
Aircraft - Gulfstream Aerospace GIII
Serial - N992NA (C/N 309)
Operator - National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Squadron - AieMoss Programme (?)
Date and Location - 19/11- Prestwick International Airport (EGPK)
NASA Johnson Space Center’s Gulfstream III (N992NA) is used to transport astronauts returning from Kazakhstan to Houston, Texas after completing missions aboard the International Space Station. In 2011-2012, the aircraft was extensively modified to accommodate the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s P-band Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) instrument in a pod below the fuselage. The interior was also modified to include equipment racks and crew stations for the UAVSAR and Platform Precision Autopilot (PPA) operators. The P-band UAVSAR instrument is used to study North American root-zone soil moisture as part of the Airborne Microwave Observatory of Subcanopy and Subsurface (AirMOSS) project. AirMOSS is part of the NASA Earth Venture-1 (EV-1) program. The GIII was built by Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation in Savannah, Georgia in 1981 as model number G-1159A, serial number 309. During the 1980s, it was primarily flown as a corporate jet. In 1989, it began service with NASA as N1NA, flying missions in support of NASA Headquarters and Langley Research Center, Virginia. In 2006, the aircraft was transferred to Johnson Space Center and reregistered as N2NA, serving as a mission management aircraft. After one year’s service at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, California as N803NA during 2008-2009, the aircraft was returned to Johnson Space Center in late 2009 and reregistered as N992NA. It is currently stationed at Ellington Field, Houston, Texas. Design of the Gulfstream III started with an effort to synthesize a completely new wing employing NASA supercritical airfoil sections and winglets. Optimization studies considering weight, drag, fuel volume, cost, and performance indicated that a substantial portion of the new wing benefit could be secured with modifications to the existing wing.
Aircraft - Panavia Tornado GR4 'Shiny Two II'
Serial - ZA398 (C/N 199/DSo65/3097)
Operator - Royal Air Force (RAF) Squadron - II (AC) Squadron
Date and Location - 23/11 Bwlch Exit
Further Information -
Operated by 2 Squadron based at RAF Marham in the Reconnaissance Role. 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 19 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. This aircraft, nicknamed 'Shiny II' has been painted in the stunning scheme to commemorate the unites 100th Anniversary on the 1st May. No. II Squadron holds claim to being "the oldest heavier-than-air flying machine squadron in the world".
Thats all for this week!Aircraft - Tupolev TU154M (NATO Code name - Careless)
Serial - OM-BYO (C/N 89A803)
Operator - Slovakian Government Squadron - Air Transport Section for Government Diplomatic Missions (Odbor leteckej prepravy Uradu pro zastupovani diplomatickych misii pri MV) ATSGDM
Date and Location - 22/11 - Eindhoven Airport (EHEH)
The Tupolev Tu-154 is a three-engine medium-range narrow-body airliner designed in the mid 1960s and manufactured by Tupolev. The Tu-154M is the most highly upgraded version, which first flew in 1982 and entered mass production in 1984. It uses more fuel-efficient Soloviev D-30KU-154 turbofans. Together with significant aerodynamic refinement, this led to much lower fuel consumption and therefore longer range, as well as lower operating costs. With a cruising speed of 975 kilometres per hour (606 mph), the Tu-154 is one of the fastest civilian aircraft in operation and has a range of 5,280 kilometres (3,280 mi). Capable of operating from unpaved and gravel airfields, it was widely used in extreme Arctic conditions of Russia's northern and eastern regions where other airliners were unable to operate and where service facilities were very basic. With a service life of 45,000 hours (18,000 cycles) but capable of 80,000 hours with upgrades, it is expected to continue operations until 2016, although noise regulations have seen services to western Europe and other areas restricted. The Government Transport unit is popularly referred to as the Slovak Government Flying Service but in 2006 the unit was renamed Odbor leteckej prepravy Uradu pro zastupovani diplomatickych misii pri MV - Air Transport Section for Government Diplomatic Missions. All aircraft, 2 x TU154M and 2 x YAK 40 aircrafts, carry civilian markings. If current Force plans are continued the Unit will become part of the Slovakian Air Force but will continue to be based in Brataslavia.
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