07/01 - 13/01
Apologies for these being late - I had had quite possibly the most hellish week ive ever had!
Aircraft - - SABCA F-16 BM Fighting Falcon
Serial- FB-18 C/N 6J-18
Operator - - Belgian Air Component (BAC)Squadron - 10W/31ste Smaldeel/31e Escadrille
Date and Location - - 08/01 - Beauvechain Air Base (EBBE)
The Belgian Air Force currently have some 59 F16's (59 x AM and 10 x BM) on strength in the Multirole Fighter Role. The F16 is a multirole jet fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics for the United States Air Force (USAF). Designed as an air superiority day fighter, it evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft. Over 4,500 aircraft have been built since production was approved in 1976. Although no longer being purchased by the U.S. Air Force, improved versions are still being built for export customers. The F-16A (single seat) and F-16B (two seat) were initial production variants of the Type. These variants include the Block 1, 5, 10 and 20 versions. Block 15 was the first major change to the F-16 with larger horizontal stabilizers. It is the most numerous F-16 variant with around 475 produced. With its commitments to NATO, Belgium has assigned its F-16s to NATO purposes. Two squadrons with a total of 16 aircraft have been designated for use by the Rapid Reaction Forces. The former Air Force became the Air Component (COMOPSAIR) of the Belgian Armed Forces. COMOPSAIR consists of the 2nd Tactical Wing in Florennes Air Base and the 10th Tactical Wing in Kleine Brogel Air Base, both flying F-16s in four squadrons. Out of the 160 F-16s originally bought by Belgium, only 105 were upgraded; with further reductions to 72 aircraft in 2005; and planned to 60 by 2015. Deliveries to the Belgian Air Force began in January 1979 and was one of the first four international customers for the F-16 Fighting Falcon. All of the Aircraft have been upgraded to MLU standard. In March 2011, Belgium deployed 6 F-16 Fighters to Araxos in Greece, in support of operation: Odyssey Dawn, to support the NATO operations over Libya. the aircraft were already at the base as part of a joint exercise and were transferred to NATO command. As of June 2011, the aircraft have flown over 1000 hours over Libya and attacked various military instalations and targets, without causing any collateral damage to the civilian population. Beauvechain Air Base is a Belgian Air Component military airfield in Belgium, located 2 miles (3.2 km) south of Beauvechain (Walloon Brabant Province); 20 miles (32 km) east-southeast of Brussels It is home to the 1st Wing, operating A109BA helicopters, and the Basic Flying Training School, operating SIAI Marchetti SF.260 trainer aircraft.
Aircraft - Agusta Westland A109BA 'SPARTAN'
Serial - H24 (C/N 0324)
Operator - Belgian Air Component (BAC) Squadron - 1 Heli Wing - Used by 17 Sqn MRH Griffon, 18 Sqn MRH Arès-Leonidas and 15 Sqn OCTU
Date and Location - 08/01 - Beauvechain Air Base (EBBE)
The BAC currently have 27 (12 A109 and 15 A109 BA) of the type in service in the Light Attack Helicopter Role. The AW109 is a light-weight, twin-engine, eight-seat multi-purpose helicopter built by the Anglo-Italian manufacturer AgustaWestland. First flown as the Agusta A109 in 1971, the craft has proven itself in light transport, medevac, search-and-rescue, and military roles. The A109 entered service with the Belgian Armed Forces in 1988 with the Belgian Army before they were transferred to the Air Force in 2004. The former Army units were transferred to the COMOPSAIR, with the Agusta A109BA attack helicopter training and scout helicopter placed in the Heli Wing. The A109BA helicopters can be used in a diversity of roles: observation, anti-tank, tactical support, armed reconnaissance, medevac or transport helicopter although at the moment each helicopter has a fixed role to simplify maintenance and cost. The 1 Helo Wing is made up of 3 Units (17 Sqn MRH Griffon, 18 Sqn MRH Arès-Leonidas and 15 Sqn OCTU) all of which pool the aircraft for operations and sorties. 15 Sqn OCTU (Operation Conversion and Training Unit) is responsible for the tactical part of the A109 conversion and training. All the helicopters are "property" of the Wing Heli Maintenance Group which for historical reasons has gained the unusual numerical designation of 255 Maintenance Group. The Aircraft, one of two painted in this rather lovely scheme, are the aircraft used by the BAC A109 Display Team. For a number of years this demo is flown by pilots of both the 17th and 18th squadron Multi-role Helicopters. The Agusta helicopter was always presented in the standard kaki camouflage in which they fly operationally. The scheme is in celebration of the types 20th anniversary within the Belgian Air Force. Both sides are adorned with a stylised logo of both squadrons operating the type (being the 17th and 18th squadrons at Beauvechain/Bevekom AFB). The design was realised by Johan Wolfs and Peter Verheyen, thoroughly executed by the Beauvechain paintshop.
Aircraft - Lockheed C-130H-30 Hercules
Serial - G-273 (C/N 382-5273)
Operator - Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) - Koninklijke Luchtmacht (KLu) Squadron - 336th Transport Squadron
Date and Location - 08/01 - RAF Waddington (EGXW/WTN)
One of 4 of the type in service with the KLu, the Aircraft are based at Eindhoven airport with the 336th Transport Squadron. The H version is the basic airlifter variant of the type. The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by Lockheed, now Lockheed Martin. Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation, and cargo transport aircraft. The versatile airframe has found uses in a variety of other roles, including as a gunship (AC-130), for airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refueling, maritime patrol and aerial firefighting. It is now the main tactical airlifter for many military forces worldwide. Over 40 models and variants of the Hercules serve with more than 60 nations. The C-130 entered service with U.S. in the 1950s, followed by Australia and others. During its years of service, the Hercules family has participated in countless military, civilian and humanitarian aid operations. The family has the longest continuous production run of any military aircraft in history. In 2007, the C-130 became the fifth aircraft—after the English Electric Canberra, Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, Tupolev Tu-95, and Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker—to mark 50 years of continuous use with its original primary customer, in this case, the United States Air Force. The C-130 is also the only military aircraft to remain in continuous production for 50 years with its original customer, as the updated C-130J Super Hercules. 2 of the type are in fact ex-US Navy EC-130Q's converted to C-130H by Marshall Aerospace at Cambridge. The aircraft were convereted to the same standard as the 2 H variants in service. The only noticable difference is the length of the 2 variants fuselages, with the C-130H-30 being somewhat longer that the H. The Unit was established on 1 September 1961 to take over the transport tasks of 321 squadron of the Royal Netherlands Navy in Netherlands New Guinea operatying 6 C47 Dakotas, three of which ware taken over from 321 squadron and the other three were acquired from the United States Air Force. The Uniy have been operating the C130 since 23/10/2007 and fly under the Units Motto of 'Sudore Ac Pulvere' (which translates to 'In sweat and dust'). Expanding the fleet of C-130 Hercules aircraft in the inventory from two to four prompted the RNlAF to restructure 334 Squadron into two separate squadrons. This led to the resurrection of 336 Squadron on 23 October 2007. 336 Squadron are responsible for the tactical air lift role, while 334 Squadron will operate in the Tanker, VIP transport and in-country transport roles.
Aircraft - EMB121AA Xingu
Serial - 082/YG (C/N 121082)
Operator - French Air Force (Armée de l'Air (ALA)) Squadron - EAT00.319 'Capitaine Dartigues'
Date and Location - 08/01 - RAF Waddington (EGXW/WTN)
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 ALA currently have 23 of the type in service in the Training Aircraft role. Bearing a likeness to the Bandeirante, the pressurised EMBRAER EMB-121 Xingu featured a reduced-span version of the EMB-110P wing, a fuselage of circular cross-section similar to that of the Brasilia, and followed the same general configuration with twin turboprop engines and retractable tricycle landing gear, but differed by having a cantilever T-tail. Before production ceased in August 1987, Embraer had produced 106 EMB 121 aircraft, 51 of which were exported to countries outside Brazil. Currently, the French Air Arms are the largest operator of the type! In service since 1982 with the French Air Force and the French Navy, the EMB 121 Xingu is operated by the Military Air Transport school based in Avord to train transport and patrol aircraft crews from France and certain participating countries. They serve also as liaison aircraft within the French Navy. EAT00.319 are based at Avord Air Base (Base Aérienne 702 Capitaine Georges Madon - named after Captain Georges Madon) in Central France. Avord was the first training center for fighter pilots, almost a century ago and is now home of the School of Aviation Transport, with the mission goal to train military transport pilots on behalf of the French Ministry of Defence. 1983 saw the replacement of the "Flamingo" by the Embraer E121 "Xingu" celebratted 200,000 flight hours in the Air Force in 2001.
Aircraft - SAAB JAS39C Gripen
39249/249 (C/N 39-249) - Operated by F21
39252/252 (C/N 39-252) - Operated by F21
39254/254 (C/N 39-254) - Operated by F17
39255/255 (C/N 39-255) - Operated by F17
39264/264 (C/N 39-264) - Operated by F17
39269/269 (C/N 39-269) - Operated by F17
39278/278 (C/N 39-278) - Operated by F17
39282/282 (C/N 39-282) - Operated by F17
39284/284 (C/N 39-284) - Operated by F17
Operator - Swedish Air Force (Flygvapnet) Squadron - Various - F17/F21
Date and Location - 12/01 - RAF Mildenhall (EGUN/MHZ)
The Flygvapnet currently have some 134 (54 x A, 12 x B, 56 x C and 12 x D - 12 C And 2 D Gripens are leased to the Czech Republic and 14 C/D Gripens are sold to Hungary on lease-purchase contract) of the type in service in the Multi-Role Fighter/Training Roles. The Saab JAS 39 Gripen (Griffin) is a lightweight single-engine multirole fighter manufactured by the Swedish aerospace company Saab. It was designed to replace the Saab 35 Draken and 37 Viggen in the Swedish Air Force (Flygvapnet). The Gripen has a delta wing and canard configuration with relaxed stability design and fly-by-wire technology. It is powered by the Volvo-Flygmotor RM12 engine, a derivative of the General Electric F404, and has a top speed of Mach 2. Comparatively small relative to similar fighters, the Gripen has eight hardpoints that allow it to carry various armaments and equipment. It is also fitted with a single 27 mm Mauser BK-27 cannon. The Swedish Air Force placed a total order for 204 Gripens in three batches, with The first delivery occuring on 8 June 1993, when 39102 was handed over to the Flygvapnet during a ceremony at Linköping AB. The JAS 39 entered service with the F7 Wing (F7 Skaraborgs Flygflottilj) on 1 November 1997 with the C Variant having a flyaway cost at under US$30 million! On 29 March 2011, it was announced that eight Gripens would be deployed to support the UN-mandated no-fly zone over Libya. Sweden's role to the no-fly zone did not involve conducting ground-attack sorties. On 8 June 2011, the Swedish government announced an agreement to extend the deployment of the five Gripens. As of 24 October 2011, Gripens have flown more than 650 combat missions, almost 2,000 flight hours and delivered approximately 2000 reconnaissance reports to NATO. As of 24 October 2011, Gripens have flown more than 650 combat missions, almost 2,000 flight hours and delivered approximately 2000 reconnaissance reports to NATO. Accompanying the fighters was a C-130 Hercules for mid-air refueling. The Swedish government announced that a fourth batch of the modified E/F variant would be ordered by Saab. A total of 40-60 aircraft is expected to be bought. The new variant is planned to be in service by 2023. The Swedish armed forces reports that 60 Gripens is the minimun to defend Swedish Airspace and numbers up to 80 are more realistic. The Swedish Air Force was created on July 1, 1926 when the aircraft units of the Army and Navy were merged. The Aircraft from F21 (Norrbotten Air Force Wing - Norrbottens flygflottilj) are based at Luleå Air Base. It is one of the three remaining wings in Sweden and currently has two squadrons of multirole aircraft. F 21 in the north and F 17 (Blekinge Air Force Wing - Blekinge Flygflottilj are based at Ronneby) in the south are the two wings remaining to have operational squadrons.
Thanks for looking and Enjoy!Aircraft - Boeing RC-135W (717-158) 'Rivet Joint'
Serial - 62-4130/OF (C/N 18470)
Operator - United States Air Force (USAF) Squadron - 38thRS/55thWG
Date and Location - 11/01 - RAF Mildenhall (EGUN/MHZ)
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-135V/W is the USAF's standard airborne SIGINT platform. Its sensor suite allows the mission crew to detect, identify and geolocate signals throughout the electromagnetic spectrum. The mission crew can then forward gathered information in a variety of formats to a wide range of consumers via Rivet Joint's extensive communications suite. The crew consists of the cockpit crew, electronic warfare officers, intelligence operators, and airborne systems maintenance personnel. All Rivet Joint airframe and mission systems modifications are performed by L-3 Communications in Greenville, Texas, under the oversight of the Air Force Materiel Command. All RC-135s are assigned to Air Combat Command. The RC-135 is permanently based at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska., and operated by the 55th Wing, using various forward deployment locations worldwide. Under the "BIG SAFARI" program name, RC-135Vs were upgraded from the RC-135C "Big Team" configuration, itself a mission modified RC-135B (the first version delivered). RC-135Ws were originally delivered as C-135B transports, and most were modified from RC-135Ms. For many years, the RC-135V/W could be identified by the four large disc-capped MUCELS antennae forward, four somewhat smaller blade antennae aft and myriad of smaller underside antennae. Baseline 8 Rivet Joints (in the 2000s) introduced the first major change to the external RC-135V/W configuration replacing the MUCELS antennae with plain blade antenna. The configuration of smaller underside antennae was also changed significantly. operated by the 55th Wing at Offut AFB. The 55 WG mission is to provide worldwide reconnaissance, real-time intelligence, command and control, information warfare and combat support to U.S. leaders and commanders. One of the wing's units, the 55th Operations Group, operates 46 aircraft, including 13 models of seven different types.