May 17 saw the Royal Air Force’s “Red Arrows”, one of the world’s most famous display teams, awarded their Public Display Authority (PDA) for 2013 by Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton.
The team has been under intense training during an 8 week stint in Greece and Cyprus.
It is here that Sir Stephen Dalton and The Chief of the Air Staff and Air Officer Commanding 22 (Training) Group, Air Vice Marshal Mike Lloyd, both spent 2 days flying with the team observing the 2013 display no less than 5 times before awarding the team their PDA.
Image credit: RAF/Crown Copyright
On the RAF website Sir Stephen Dalton is quoted as saying after awarding the PDA
“The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, have designed a display of precision formation flying that encapsulates the agility and demonstrates the pure flying qualities required in the Royal Air Force. The Reds are an iconic symbol of the United Kingdom and their displays are vividly demonstrating excellence in precision, teamwork and dynamic flying.
“The commitment of the Squadron, the pilots, the organisation and all who support them, work extremely hard throughout the year to achieve this degree of excellence, on the ground and in the air. They promote the Royal Air Force in the most positive way and continue to strive to be the best of the best for which they are recognised worldwide.”
Air Vice Mike Marshal Lloyd was also quoted as saying “I am delighted that the Red Arrows have been awarded Public Display Authority for the 2013 season. They have completed an intense training period to work back up to the traditional 9 aircraft in close formation. This year, they are incorporating a few new formations, amongst which is the “Lancaster” in recognition of the 70th Anniversary of the Dambusters Raid. I know the Team is excited about the 49th display season.”
The British public will get their first view of the “Reds” at Duxford on May 26.
Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com
We took part to an Air-to-Air Refueling mission on board a Boeing KC-767 during Ex. Star Vega May 22, 2013Posted by David Cenciotti in : Military Aviation , add a comment
Star-Vega 2013 is the name of the largest Italian exercise scheduled in 2013.
Taking place between May 13 and 24, the Star-Vega is a joint ex. that sees the participation of all the Italian Air Force assets as well as units of the Navy, Army and a NATO E-3 AWACS from Geilenkirchen.
Five airbases are involved in the exercise: the Main Operating Bases of Decimomannu and Trapani, were the tactical planes are based; Pisa, from where the transport aircraft operate; Pratica di Mare, home of the tankers; and Amendola, the Italian UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) base.
The exercise’s scenario is based on the lessons learned during the most recent conflicts, and was designed to minimize the environmental (and financial) impact.
During the drills, The Aviationist was once again invited to take part to a refueling mission aboard one of the four KC-767A tankers of the 14° Stormo.
The KC-767 refueled several Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets belonging to the 4°, 36° and 37° Stormo, the three Wings of the Aeronautica Militare equipped with the European fighter plane.
The pictures, taken by The Aviationist’s contributor Alessandro Fucito, not only show the F-2000s plugging into the refueling basket of the Boeing tanker, but also the refueler’s remote vision system and the Typhoon pilots adveniristic helmet.
Image credit: The Aviationist / Alessandro Fucito
To be honest, this F-35 fighter jet High-AOA testing video has nothing to be impressed of May 21, 2013Posted by David Cenciotti in : F-35 , 2comments
I’ve seen the video released yesterday by Lockheed Martin at least a couple of time. Still, I struggle to find something to be impressed of.
The video was taken during a series of F-35A high angle of attack (AOA) testing that was recently completed.
According to LM: “The testing accomplished high AOA beyond both the positive and negative maximum command limits, including intentionally putting the aircraft out of control in several configurations. This included initially flying in the stealth clean wing configuration. It was followed by testing with external air-to-air pylons and missiles and then with open weapon bay doors. The F-35A began edge-of-the-envelope high AOA testing in the Fall 2012. For all testing, recovery from out of control flight has been 100 percent successful without the use of the spin recovery chute, which is carried to maximize safety.”
Some media outlets that received the release published interesting reviews about what they defined “shocking” or “most awesome” footage ever seen, allegedly showing the aircraft’s superior maneuverability.
Image: U.S. Air Force
Few weeks ago, Bill Flynn, Lockheed test pilot responsible for flight envelope expansion activities for the F-35, told Flight Global that all three variants of the Joint Strike Fighter will have better kinematic performance than any fourth-generation fighter plane with combat payload, including the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.
Such claims were strongly disputed by a Eurofighter Typhoon industry test pilot, who debunked all Flynn’s “theories” about the alleged superior F-35 performance.
The F-35 maneuverability shown in the video seems far to be special. Have you ever seen what a Su-27, a Mig-29 a Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, with the latter highly facilitated by thrust vectoring engines, can do?
Even the SAAB Draken was capable to perform a “Cobra” some 40 years ago…
Related articlesDrones , 1 comment so far
European news outlets reported last week that the German Euro Hawk Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) program will be terminated due to the prohibitive cost of modifying the platform to conform to collision avoidance requirements. If the reports are true, Euro Hawk will join a similar project which had the poor luck to be canceled not due to cost over-runs, performance, or technical issues, but due to Air Traffic Control limitations.
The XQM-93 UAV, code-named Compass Dwell, was conceived by the Air Force in the late 1960′s to fulfill a role extremely similar to the current tasking of Euro Hawk. Compass Dwell was intended to provide 28 hour endurance at an altitude of 40,000 and deliver persistence surveillance of Warsaw Pact air defense systems. Euro Hawk is believed to be tasked to provide surveillance of Eastern European military assets.
Image credit: USAF via Designation-Systems.com
Two variants of the project were built, both using a converted Schweizer sailplane. The XQM-93 airframe was built by Ling Temco Vought and mated to a turboprop power plant. The other model, built by Martin Marietta and designated Model 845, featured a turbocharged piston engine. Both airframes flew successfully in 1972, with the Model 845 achieving a flight time of 27 hours and 54 minutes. The UAVs were intended to target Soviet air defense radars and provide standoff jamming during wartime.
Compass Dwell was intended to operate high above commercial air traffic, but would still need to climb and descend through those altitudes during each mission. European air traffic controlling agencies refused to allow the XQM-93 to operate in their airspace, and the program was canceled in 1973.
The termination of these two programs demonstrates the unique challenge posed to operators of UAV systems. Despite the inherent performance benefits in unmanned systems, the limitation of sensors and need to safely de-conflict airspace remain just as much hurdles in 2013 as they did four decades ago.
Michael Glynn for TheAviationist.com
North Korean missile testing goes on May 20, 2013Posted by Jacek Siminski in : North Korea , add a comment
As reported by various media outlets, on May 19 and 20 the North Koreans launched four short range (120 km) missiles. Two launches were fired on Saturday morning, another one in the afternoon, and the last one was reported on Sunday afternoon.
Image Credit: baohay.vn
According to the Yonhap News agency, the last one was a short range guided missile launched from North Korean east coast that fell into the Sea of Japan. The analysts wonder whether it was a modernized anti-ship missile launched from a coast launching pad or tactical KN-02 missile.
Some analysts speculate the last firing activity may only be a part of an attempt to calm down the Western intelligence before a proper attack that may happen anytime soon.
Even though the media attention is not focused on NK anymore, things still happen there, requiring a close watch.
Jacek Siminski for The Aviationist