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13 novembre 2015 5 13 /11 /novembre /2015 08:30
The Long Arm: The "International" Squadron has Broken 3 Records


10.11.2015 Talya Yariv | Translation: Ohad Zeltzer Zubida & Ofri Aharon


During the "Red-Flag" training exercise in August, the "International" Squadron operating Boeing 707 aircraft broke multiple records. One of them is the farthest direct flight in the history of the IAF. "The record demonstrates the squadron's range of capabilities"


Farther, longer and stronger: The "International" Squadron aircrews, operating the Boeing 707, broke three records, led by the longest flight in IAF history, that was executed as a part of the transportation operation to and from the "Red-Flag" training exercise that took place in August in Nevada, USA.

The transportation operation to the exercise was a complicated mission that posed an opportunity to practice one of the air force's strategic missions: reaching every point on the globe.

"The records demonstrate the squadron's abilities", exclaims Lt. Col. Itamar, the squadron commander. "They show the range of possibilities the squadron can achieve when needed. They make the aircrews better, raise our confidence in our abilities and expand the range of our skills".


"Breaking a record is a show of capability"

The transportation operation from the USA to Israel at the end of the exercise was carefully planned, as were the stops made on the way. In the first leg of the journey, a malfunction was identified in one of the Boeing 707 aircraft and grounded it for a night for repairs, while the rest of the aircraft continued their journey to Israel.

In order to stick to the original plan, the operation's commanders decided that at the moment the jet will be flight-ready, it would be refueled with a larger quantity than usual and fly directly to Israel.

The approximately 6,000 mile flight was the record breaker and is the farthest flight ever conducted in the history of the IAF.

"There is no squadron that executed such a long flight with no stopovers", said Lt. Col. Itamar. "I see the breaking of the record as a demonstration of ability. The IAF knows that today, it has an aircraft that can takeoff in the heart of the United States and land in Israel and vice versa, this is an important achievement. The 707 landed in Nevatim Airbase without much fuel to spare, but safely and efficiently as we expected".


The Amount of Jets Refueled: Greater than Ever

Another record broken by the "International" Squadron during the "Red-Flag" training exercise was the amount of fuel administered by way of aerial refueling from the Boeing 707s to the F-15s and F-15Is during the transportation operation and the exercise. By the end of the exercise, the squadron reached an unprecedented amount of fuel administered to the fighter jets.

"The amount of fighter jets that passed through the transportation operation, meaning we refueled, was about 50% greater than we ever refueled in any other operation. The amount of fuel that we used during the two weeks of the exercise was equivalent to the amount of fuel the IAF uses every six months", he explained. "Because of the amount of jet fighters, we enlarged the amount of Boeing 707s. Until today, the largest amounts of Boeing 707s that have crossed the Atlantic Ocean simultaneously were three, but now, it's five".

The squadron's main mission which Aerial Refueling mission, is a complicated and unique mission, in which a "controlled collision" situation is conducted. Throughout the training, dozens of "collisions" of this kind were executed.

"In any other division, a collision between two planes would be considered an 'accident'. For us - it's a mission", explains Lt. Col. Itamar. "Like any other IAF mission we complete, we also emphasize lessons for personal improvement. We checked the operation while flying to the United States and made improvements the following morning. This explains why the transportation operation on the way back to Israel was even more professional".

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12 janvier 2015 1 12 /01 /janvier /2015 20:20
Exercise Red Flag 1 (Fighter) Squadron crosses the Atlantic


12 janv. 2015 Royal Air Force

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8 janvier 2015 4 08 /01 /janvier /2015 17:20
Heading to Exercise Red Flag, a four-ship of RAF Typhoon FGR4 muli-role fighters

Heading to Exercise Red Flag, a four-ship of RAF Typhoon FGR4 muli-role fighters


8 janv. 2015  Royal Air Force


Typhoon FGR4's from 1 (Fighter) Squadron based at RAF Lossiemouth Scotland as they see land below in the shape of the united States of America. The Typhoons will participate in Exercise Red Flag the largest and most complex air war fighting exercise in the World.

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7 janvier 2015 3 07 /01 /janvier /2015 12:20
Typhoon FGR4 air to air refuel EX Red Flag

7 janv. 2015 Royal Air Force


The deployment by 1(F) Squadron across the Atlantic continues. The 6000 mile journey to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada would not be possible without the support of a pair of Voyager air-refuelling tanker aircraft.#RAFRedFlag

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26 mars 2014 3 26 /03 /mars /2014 08:20
Cyber Operations Become Part of the Red-Flag Game Plan

U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michael Lyons, Joint Tactical Communications Office communications operator, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, looks through information on a workstation inside the Combined Air and Space Operations Center-Nellis during Red Flag 14-1 Feb. 5, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.


March 15, 2014 by Tamir Eshel - defense-update.com


While the aircrews soared over the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR) duking it out with the aggressor fighters, intelligence and cyber specialists fought off “enemy” cyber attacks at the Combined Air Operations Center-Nellis. For the first time in Red Flag’s nearly 40-year history, the 24th Air Force played a significant role as the Cyber Mission Force (CMF), at the Air Combat Command-sponsored Red Flag exercise.


When Red Flag 14-2 started three weeks later, information aggressors were also hard at work. “The integrated cyber domain is key to providing a realistic full-spectrum opposing force training environment for our war fighters,” said Quinn Carman, 57th Information Aggressor Squadron technical lead and team chief.

“”This is an asymmetric capability that we’re scratching at the surface to employ” Brig. Gen. Robert J. Skinner, XO AFCYBER “

“In any modern conflict, our forces are going to face an enemy which will use cyber both directly and indirectly to deny, degrade and disrupt. The 57th IAS is able to bring threat-representative cyber capabilities to the Red Flag Exercise as a part of a complete and integrated Aggressor Opposing Force.


Royal Australian air force Flight Sgt. Sean Bedford (left) and U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Frederick analyze air missile defense systems inside the Combined Air and Space Operations Center-Nellis during Red Flag 14-1, on Feb. 5, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Space duty technicians direct air missile ballistic warnings and provide communication to combat search and rescue teams. Beford is an Australian Space Operations Centre space duty technician and Frederick is a 603rd Air and Space Operations Center space duty technician. Photo: USAF, Brett Clashman

Royal Australian air force Flight Sgt. Sean Bedford (left) and U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Frederick analyze air missile defense systems inside the Combined Air and Space Operations Center-Nellis during Red Flag 14-1, on Feb. 5, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Space duty technicians direct air missile ballistic warnings and provide communication to combat search and rescue teams. Beford is an Australian Space Operations Centre space duty technician and Frederick is a 603rd Air and Space Operations Center space duty technician. Photo: USAF, Brett Clashman


“The warfare centre fundamentally changed how Red Flag is being carried out this year in an effort to fully integrate non-kinetic operations and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. “Developments happening with cyber and ISR are all in preparation for operations in a contested environment,” said Capt. Andrew Caulk, a spokesman for AFISRA. “We train like we fight.” Changes to the Red Flag construct, which now links scenarios across several days, allowed intelligence to be gathered in a more realistic world setting. This Red Flag was also the first time 24th AF has been fully integrated with the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency.

“This is an asymmetric capability that we’re scratching at the surface to employ,” said Brig. Gen. Robert J. Skinner, the AFCYBER deputy commander. “We are more engaged with Red Flag, allowing more opportunities to provide mission effects at the point of our choosing and at the drop of a hat for joint force commanders to use… We use Red Flag for advanced training to hone our skills, and we continue to learn great lessons to employ in the next one,” Skinner said. “You can see us taking advantage of operations to become better, faster and leaner.” RAAF No.77 Squadron Group Capt. Robert Chipman confirmed,”The immersion into the fog of war is just phenomenal in Red Flag, and that’s what really sets it apart from any other exercises we’ve participated in… You’re expected to be ready to perform in a complex air environment on day one.”

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7 octobre 2013 1 07 /10 /octobre /2013 16:55
Défense : la rigueur touche sévèrement l'armée de l'air

07/10/2013 Michel Cabirol – LaTribune.fr


En 2013, l'armée de l'air a dû limiter l'activité des équipages, a reconnu le chef d'état-major de l'armée de l'air. Du coup, elle restera insuffisante et sera en déficit de 20 % par rapport aux normes d'entraînement. Le général Mercier se dit inquiet.


Dur, dur actuellement dans l'armée de l'air. L'heure est à la rigueur. Et le chef d'état-major de l'armée de l'air, le général Denis Mercier, n'a pas le choix : il doit faire avec. En 2013, l'armée de l'air a ainsi dû limiter l'activité des équipages et prendre des mesures affectant le niveau de formation et d'entraînement telles que l'annulation de la participation à des exercices majeurs comme "Red Flag" aux Etats-Unis, par exemple, et à retirer de façon anticipée des équipages des unités de combat, a-t-il révélé aux sénateurs de la commission des affaires étrangères et des forces armées.


Et l'avenir à court terme n'est pas non plus réjouissant. Selon lui, "les perspectives 2014-2015 conduisent à maintenir le niveau d'activité de 2013, grâce à l'effort financier important consenti sur l'EPM (entretien programmé des matériels, ndlr) par la loi de programmation militaire (LPM) mais cette activité restera insuffisante (environ - 20 % par rapport aux normes d'entraînement)".


Le chef d'état-major de l'armée de l'air inquiet


Du coup, le général Mercier s'est dit inquiet. L'activité "ne pourrait être maintenue à ce niveau dans le temps sans dégradation considérable du niveau opérationnel. C'est pour moi une préoccupation majeure car le maintien de certaines compétences est dès à présent fragilisé".


Il compte faire "remonter l'activité aérienne au niveau requis après 2016" grâce notamment à la mise en place de l'entrainement différencié et un plan d'optimisation du Maintien en condition opérationnelle (MCO) élaboré par la SIMMAD (Structure Intégrée de maintien en condition opérationnelle des matériels aéronautiques de la défense) et la DGA (direction générale de l'armement).


Il manque plus de 1 milliard d'euros pour l'entretien des avions


Au rang des inquiétudes majeures du chef d'état-major, le MCO aéronautique, qui nécessite de disposer d'une dotation suffisante pour l'entretien programmé du matériel (EPM). "Cela n'a pas été le cas lors de la précédente LPM puisque la sous dotation de l'EPM a conduit à un déficit, sur la période 2009-2014, de plus de 1 milliard d'euros de crédits d'activité par rapport au besoin".


Dans ce cadre, il a rappelé que la "capacité opérationnelle repose sur le maintien en conditions de nos matériels aéronautiques qui nécessite un pilotage au plus près des forces et de leur activité réelle et une dotation suffisante en entretien programmé du matériel".


De nouvelles façons de travailler


Pour améliorer le MCO, l'armée de l'air, avec la SIMMAD, a réorganisé ses structures. Le chef d'état-major de l'armée de l'air a expliqué que "la SIMMAD, aux côtés des unités de soutien aéronautique et en lien avec les industriels et la DGA, a ainsi fait évoluer les marchés d'une logique de disponibilité vers une logique d'activité, en préservant la flexibilité exigée par les surprises opérationnelles et avec un souci constant de maitrise et de réduction des coûts. Le plus important est de disposer du nombre suffisant d'aéronefs disponibles lorsque nous en avons vraiment besoin".


Comment ? Grâce notamment à la mise en place de plateaux techniques. Cette "dynamique" a très rapidement porté ses fruits. L'identification des difficultés technico-logistiques et la définition en commun de solutions appropriées ont permis "d'aboutir à des résultats significatifs", selon le général Mercier. A Saint-Dizier, la qualité de l'activité des Rafale a été considérablement augmentée alors que la disponibilité en opération extérieure reste exceptionnelle. "Ces résultats démontrent la pertinence et la cohérence des choix qui ont été faits dans le domaine de la gouvernance du MCO, tant au niveau de la SIMMAD qu'à celui du soutien opérationnel sur les bases aériennes. Ces succès nous encouragent à poursuivre dans cette voie, mais il ne s'agit que d'une première étape, de nombreux efforts restent à faire".

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13 février 2013 3 13 /02 /février /2013 08:50


Photograph by Geoffrey Lee, Planefocus Ltd


Feb. 11, 2013 - By BRIAN EVERSTINE  - Defense News


JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. — Residents in Hampton Roads are more used to the winds from hurricanes, but for the past two weeks, the skies above Hampton have been churning due to Typhoons — the Eurofighter FGR4s, that is.


Eight Typhoons from the U.K. Royal Air Force’s XI Squadron joined the 1st Fighter Wing in a training exercise called Western Zephyr to familiarize pilots and maintainers from both countries on how to better integrate during a joint mission.


Distinguished by their prominent canards, Europe’s most advanced fighters have been training alongside a variety of F-16 Falcons, F-22 Raptors, T-38 Talons and Navy F/A-18 Hornets.


The pilots and ground crews will then participate in Red Flag at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., this month.


On one recent afternoon, three of the Typhoons flew alongside two Raptors to escort F-15E Strike Eagles from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., on an air interdiction training mission where they were up against an F-16 and a pair each of T-38s and F/A-18s from Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.


“The early impressions, across the board, the training we’re getting here is the best I’ve had on the Typhoon,” said XI Squadron Wing Commander Rich Wells, who flew from RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, England, to the southern Virginia base.

Bridging the gap

The pilots in the training on both sides say they are the envy of other fliers in their respective services, able to take their countries’ most vaunted aircraft side-by-side and against each other in training.


“It’s a pretty cool opportunity,” said Capt. Austin Skelley, an F-22 pilot with the 27th Fighter Squadron who helped plan the joint exercise, called Western Zephyr. “People are really excited and eager to fight with and against Typhoon.”


The Typhoon is a unique airframe from the F-22 pilot’s perspective, offering advanced avionics, improved situational awareness and plenty of power in thrust and speed that pilots don’t encounter when going head-to-head against F-15s, F-16s and F/A-18s, Langley pilots said.


“The Typhoon offers the F-22 a unique capability that sort of bridges the gap between the fourth and fifth generation,” Skelley said.


For the pilots of the XI Squadron, the training is a chance for them to test their abilities against all of the U.S. jets.

“We’re pretty much the envy of all the Typhoon pilots back home at the moment,” Typhoon pilot Flight Lt. Alex Thorne said. “A lot of people are excited to see what the Typhoon can do, but are really excited to see what our jet can do alongside and against some of the platforms here.”

Red air

Planning for the operation began last spring. Pilots began arriving in mid-January, delayed by snow in Britain. Crews have been flying two to three flights per day since late January, beginning with basic orientation flights and essential flight formations, said Lt. Col. Geoffrey Lohmiller, the director of operations for the 27th Fighter Squadron.


The pilots moved on to practicing intercepts, close-in visual range maneuvers and basic fighter maneuvers.

Eventually, the Typhoons and Raptors began flying side-by-side, escorting F-15Es on strike missions outnumbered by red (enemy) aircraft, primarily the Navy F/A-18s from Oceana.


“It is more red air than we’re generally used to at home, and we’re taking it to the limit of what the jet can offer,” Thorne said. “And when we start to get comfortable, we take it a bit further.”


While U.S. pilots get opportunities to fly alongside allied pilots in various large-scale exercises, Western Zephyr is different because the pilots are flying side-by-side multiple times per day, for weeks on end, and debriefing together. This has led to crews becoming more familiar with each other more quickly and able to go over missions in more depth than before.


“When we’re able to operate from the same location and within quite small numbers, you are really able to share lessons and take time out to debrief in much greater detail than we’re able to back home,” Wells said.


RAF Typhoon flight and evaluation pilots have flown in the U.S. with Raptors, but now advanced F-22 training is making its way to the conventional war fighter.


“This is an opportunity to bring the Typhoon into that fold and take it to the next level of training and determine how we work together because the reality is there’s not enough fifth-generation fighters out there,” Lohmiller said.

Lessons learned in theater

While the fighters are the most advanced from their respective countries, they have different abilities and advantages. The agility of the F-22 is what first jumped out to Wells, he said.


“Raptor has vector thrust: Typhoon doesn’t,” he said. “What the aircraft can do, it’s incredible. The Typhoon just doesn’t do that.”


The Typhoon’s strength, however, is in both carrying weapons and deploying them. With its two Eurojet EJ200 turbojet engines producing 20,000 pounds of thrust each and the distinctive wing and canard layout, the jet is strong in both its air-to-ground and air-to-air formats no matter what it’s carrying. In its air-to-ground role, the jet flies with four beyond-visual-range missiles, a Lightning 3 designation pod, extra fuel tanks, 4,000-pound bombs and two short-range missiles. These can be aimed by the pilot looking in the direction of an adversary and targeting through a helmet-mounted system, Wells said.


“As we bolt things to the jet … it still flies like a Typhoon,” he said. “High and fast, and that’s where she loves to be. She loves being at 40,000 feet and supersonic. It’s brilliant in terms of performance and getting places.”


These characteristics contributed to the XI Squadron’s involvement in Operation Unified Protector, enforcing a no-fly zone and destroying targets in Libya during summer 2011, experiences the RAF pilots can share with the F-22 pilots who haven’t tested the Raptor in combat yet.


“One of the awesome things about being with these guys is learning some of those real-world lessons they’ve experienced recently,” Lohmiller said. “On a coalition level, we can learn lessons learned about missions that we did not participate in and get those lessons combatwise from these guys.”


On the ground, maintainers from the XI Squadron and Langley’s 27th Fighter Squadron have been able to shadow each other. More than 150 maintainers and support personnel from the RAF are at Langley working on the Typhoons and shadowing American maintainers to “practice and develop together,” said Squadron Leader Pieter Severein, XI Squadron maintenance commander.

Integrating on the ground

The RAF pilots will head to Nellis and begin orientation flights before the Feb. 25 launch of Red Flag.


“U.S. tankers are taking us there, which I hope really shows integration is really significant in what we’re doing,” Wells said.


Integration has taken place outside of operations as well. The U.K. crews have made it a point to thank the local pubs in the Hampton Roads area for their hospitality.


One of the first orders of business for Lohmiller was inviting the RAF crews to his house to introduce them to American football for the Super Bowl.


“Fighter pilots are fighter pilots,” he said. “We get along great.”

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