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26 novembre 2013 2 26 /11 /novembre /2013 17:50
Upgraded RAF Puma takes to the skies

Puma Mk2 helicopters at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire [Picture: Senior Aircraftman James Goff, Crown copyright]

 

26 November 2013 Ministry of Defence and Defence Equipment and Support

 

The RAF has begun training on the Puma Mk2 helicopter following a multi-million pound upgrade programme.

Crews from the RAF’s 33 and 230 Squadrons are carrying out training flights on the upgraded aircraft from their base at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire.

The £260 million upgrade means that the helicopters benefit from new engines which give them 35% more power and improved fuel efficiency to allow them to fly faster and twice as far as the Puma Mk1. They also have highly advanced digitised glass cockpits and upgraded liquid-crystal display instruments.

The Puma Mk2 can fit into a C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft, which means that it can be transported anywhere in the world and, crucially, can be ready to deploy in support of both combat and humanitarian missions in just 4 hours.

The aircraft, with improved ballistic protection, is capable of carrying up to 16 fully-equipped troops. Twin cargo doors and low rotor downwash make it ideal for transporting personnel and equipment in and out of confined urban environments.

Puma helicopter deploys personnel
Assets and personnel are deployed from RAF Benson to the Stanford Training Area in a newly-upgraded Puma helicopter [Picture: Senior Aircraftman Tommy Axford, Crown copyright]

The Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne, said:

With its greater range, endurance and payload the Puma Mk2 helicopter will give the Royal Air Force significantly enhanced, agile capability in support of combat and humanitarian operations in even the most austere conditions.

In 2012 we committed to spending £12.1 billion to ensure our helicopter capability remains up to date. The delivery of the Puma Mk2 will further strengthen our world class helicopter fleet, which recently saw the introduction of the upgraded Merlin Mk2 and upgraded Chinook Mk4s.

Outperforming expectations

Puma Force Commander, Group Captain Nigel Colman, said:

The Puma is a remarkable aircraft and its ability to operate in urban and harsh conditions will see it play a key role in any future deployments. Needless to say the Puma Force are really enjoying getting to grips with the aircraft and are reporting that it is outperforming expectations.

Seven of the RAF’s fleet of 24 Puma Mk2s have so far been delivered to RAF Benson and the remainder will be handed over during the next 2 years ahead of the helicopters entering service in 2015.

A Puma Mk2 helicopter takes off
A Puma Mk2 helicopter takes off from RAF Benson [Picture: Corporal Phil Major RAF, Crown copyright]

Almost a third of the upgrade carried out by Eurocopter UK has taken place in the UK, with companies in Oxford, Oldham, Redditch, Gloucester, Boscombe Down, Basildon, Surrey, Marlow, Cheltenham and Reading contributing to the work. The remainder has taken place in Eurocopter UK’s plants in France and Romania.

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25 novembre 2013 1 25 /11 /novembre /2013 17:50
Une triplette d’espions américains au service de sa Majesté

 

22 novembre 2013 Aerobuzz.fr

 

Deux ans après avoir mis au rencard ses vénérables quadrimoteurs « Nimrod R1 » spécialisés dans le renseignement aéroporté, Londres met en service son premier avion espion « RC 135 Rivet joint ». Un avion au nom aussi énigmatique que ses missions, et qui a le mauvais gout d’être de conception 100% américaine. Shocking or not shocking ? Telle est la question. !

 

N’en déplaise à Mr Snowden, grand pourfendeur des Big Brother en tous genres, le business du renseignement se porte plutôt bien. Dernier épisode en date, l’arrivée le 12 novembre dernier sur la base anglaise de Waddington du premier des trois RC-135 commandés par sa très gracieuse majesté au terme d’un contrat de 1 Md$ au moins désigné « Airseeker » .

 

Cet appareil fraichement arrivé dans la Royal Air force n’est pourtant pas vraiment de première jeunesse. C’est un lointain dérivé du ravitailleur KC-135, lui même dérivé du Boeing 707… en 1964 ! Mais ne vous y trompez pas, malgré son âge supérieur à celui de votre serviteur, la cellule, la voilure et les moteurs ont totalement été revisités aux USA pour donner à ce joyeux papy des airs, trente années supplémentaires de service au moins !

 

Extérieurement l’appareil se différencie d’un ravitailleur KC-135 par ses nombreuses antennes, ses « joues » sur les côtés du fuselage et son nez allongé façon Pinocchio.

Apparue à la fin des années 60 aux USA, la famille des avions de renseignement « Rivet joint » était initialement destinée à surveiller les forces armées de l’union soviétique et de ses pays satellites. Ses missions d’espionnage classées « Top Secret », de 10 et 20 heures, étaient poliment appelées SIGINT « Signal Intelligence ». Ennuyeuses parfois, passionnantes souvent et généralement dangereuses, elles sont toujours payantes au bout du compte ! La preuve ? Depuis la fin de la guerre froide, les USA n’ont cessé de moderniser leurs 14 appareils de ce type au gré des évolutions des systèmes électroniques et des systèmes d’arme.

 

Dans un monde multipolaire plein d’incertitudes, l’information est la clé du pouvoir ou de la survie. Il s’agit donc de connaître, par exemple, l’état de préparation des forces du pays surveillé, la structure de ses réseaux de commandement, les fréquences de ses moyens de défense, ou encore les types de matériels en service. Les espions ont un jargon pour cela : ils parlent de reconstitution de l’ordre de bataille électronique. Avec ces données, les stratèges peuvent notamment déterminer les failles dans les systèmes de défense adverses ou encore mettre au point des contremesures efficaces pour leurs avions de combat. Des données stratégiques indispensables pour tout chef militaire qui se respecte.

 

Pour ce faire, le RC 135 est bourré de récepteurs en tous genres pour intercepter, démoduler, localiser, analyser et enregistrer les signaux radio et radar à 400 KM aux alentours. Il dispose de deux antennes HF (10KHz-30MHZ), une filaire de plusieurs centaines de mètres qu’il déploie pendant son vol, et une fixe sur la dérive. A cela s’ajoutent des antennes V/UHF tout le long du fuselage au dessus et en dessous, ainsi qu’une antenne satellite près de la base de la dérive. Les joues abritent des antennes et des récepteurs ELINT spécialisés dans le traitement des signaux radars. Ainsi équipé l’appareil peut écouter tous les signaux entre 0 et 40 GHZ. En clair et sans décodeur : oui ! Même votre téléphone portable ne peut échapper aux grandes oreilles du RC-135 !

 

A bord de l’appareil en plus des pilotes, se trouve une quinzaine d’opérateurs aux fonctions variées, attablés derrière leurs consoles multifonctions. Certains gèrent le système, mais la grande majorité est composée d’opérateurs linguistes, chargés d’écouter et de traduire les conversations dans plusieurs langues alors que d’autres sont des « pros » des signaux radars. Pour compléter la distribution, un ou deux analystes consolident les données collectées et dressent ainsi le tableau des forces en présence. Véritables atouts dans la manche des militaires, ces avions sont plus souples d’emploi que les satellites et plus performants que les drones. Ils peuvent détecter les menaces les mieux dissimulées et alerter en temps réel les avions radar Awacs ou les forces alliées présentes dans le secteur.

 

Est-t-il utile de préciser qu’à ce prix (1Md$ pour trois avions), Boeing a installé des toilettes et une cuisine équipée ? En revanche aucune hôtesse n’est prévue dans le service. Avec cette commande, la RAF dispose des mêmes avions espions que l’oncle Sam. Mieux : les avions de la Royal Air Force seront remis à niveau tous les deux ans avec les moyens les plus modernes pour garantir leur crédibilité technique. Pendant ce temps, les équipages anglais seront formés aux côtés de leurs homologues américains issus de la NSA et de l’US Air Force. On se dirige là vers une parfaite interopérabilité en matière de renseignement. Mais à quel prix ? Londres, qui est membre du réseau d’espionnage américain mondial Echelon, dénoncé par Mr Snowden, renonce de fait à son indépendance en matière de développement de moyens de renseignement nationaux au profit d’une énième dépendance technique et militaire envers Washington.

 

Quant à la France, elle ne dispose plus de cette capacité de renseignement stratégique depuis le retrait du bon vieux DC8 Sarigue et du fiasco lié à son remplacement. La France compte sur deux vénérables Transall Gabriel et son bon vieux système D. Mais jusqu’à quand cela suffira t-il ?

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21 novembre 2013 4 21 /11 /novembre /2013 08:50
USAF Comments Rivet Joint Delivery to UK

November 19, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: US Air Force; issued Nov. 19, 2013)

 

First Rivet Joint Delivered to the Royal Air Force

 

RAF WADDINGTON, England --- The first of three RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft was officially delivered to the U.K. during a special ceremony at Royal Air Force Waddington, England, Nov. 12.

 

The historic occasion is the culmination of a 2010 agreement between the Department of Defense and the U.K. Ministry of Defense for the RAF to purchase three RJs.

 

This first aircraft is scheduled to enter service with the 51st Squadron after it reaches full operational capability in late 2014.

 

"This is a fantastic day for 51st Squadron and marks the start of a new era in our long and illustrious history," said RAF Wing Commander Tom Talbot, the 51st Squadron commander.

 

As the sole provider of Rivet Joint initial qualification training, the 55th Wing has trained more than 140 aircrew and ground maintenance personnel from the RAF since the programs initiation in 2010.

 

"Following three years of training and preparation with our U.S. Air Force brethren, the Rivet Joint brings with it a step change in airborne signals intelligence capability for the U.K.," Talbot said.

 

Upon graduation, RAF aircrews are allowed to fly on U.S. Rivet Joints as part of a co-manning agreement. They flew their first operational mission June 21, 2011, and since then RAF crews have flown more than more than 1,800 sorties and achieved in excess of 32,000 flying hours with the 55th Wing.

 

"Everyone is aware of the special relationship our two countries have and it's been an absolute honor for the wing to have RAF Airmen here training with us," said Col. Gregory Guillot, the 55th Wing commander. "The end result is an increase in our ISR capabilities and we are looking forward to continuing this relationship for years to come."

 

Known as project AIRSEEKER, the U.K.'s procurement of three Rivet Joints will provide the U.K. with world class airborne signals intelligence capability. Once in service, the aircraft will provide real time on-scene intelligence, collection, surveillance and analysis to coalition forces in the air and on the ground.

 

"I am delighted that the first RJ aircraft has been delivered to the U.K., an important milestone in the procurement pathway for the future AIRSEEKER signals intelligence capability for U.K. Defence," said RAF Air Vice-Marshal Peter Ewen, the director air support at Defence Equipment & Support, who are responsible for the procurement of the aircraft.

 

"A testament to the ongoing and highly effective U.K. and U.S. co-operation in the procurement program, support and RAF aircrew training, this first of three aircraft, will form a vital component of the nation's future ISTAR capabilities," he added.

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19 novembre 2013 2 19 /11 /novembre /2013 13:50
Brimstone missile picture MBDA

Brimstone missile picture MBDA

 

19 November 2013 airforce-technology.com

 

MBDA has received a multi-million pound contract from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) for the supply of an additional batch of Brimstone air-to-surface missiles.

 

Announced at the ongoing 2013 Dubai Air Show, the £35m contract is designed to guarantee Brimstone supply for the next five years in order to help sustain the Royal Air Force's (RAF) stockpile.

 

The missiles are scheduled to be manufactured and assembled by MBDA at its facilities in Bedfordshire and Bolton, UK, securing 20 specialist jobs.

 

UK Defence Equipment, Support and Technology minister Philip Dunne said the missiles have continued to prove their effectiveness on operations, and are key to protecting the UK forces in Afghanistan.

 

''This contract will ensure our Brimstone missiles are fully primed for use with the RAF for years to come,'' Dunne said.

 

MoD Defence Equipment and Support organisation Weapons Operating Centre Engineering head air commodore Mike Quigley said: ''Brimstone plays a vital part in our modern and sophisticated arsenal of precision strike weapons and securing this contract means a consistent delivery of weapons to the RAF as and when they are needed.''

 

The dual mode Brimstone is a long-range, anti-armour missile, designed to attack and destroy a wide range of static and mobile targets, such as tanks and armoured vehicles in difficult urban environments with minimum collateral damage.

 

Equipped with a millimetric wave radar and laser seeker combined with a small warhead for enhanced accuracy, the missile entered operational service as an urgent operational requirement (UOR) onboard RAF Tornado GR4 fighters in Afghanistan, in 2008.

 

Extensively used during Operation Ellamy in Libya, the missile is also expected to be integrated onto the RAF's Typhoon and the future F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF) aircraft.

photo UK MoD

photo UK MoD

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14 novembre 2013 4 14 /11 /novembre /2013 12:50
12 (Bomber) Squadron Tornado GR4 - photo UK MoD

12 (Bomber) Squadron Tornado GR4 - photo UK MoD

 

13/11/2013 Par Guillaume Steuer – Air & Cosmos

 

Comme sa voisine outre-Manche, la Royal Air Force n'échappe pas à une restructuration du format de son aviation de combat. "Deux escadrons de Tornado GR4 seront dissous l'an prochain", expliquait aujourd'hui l'Air Commodore Dave Waddington, commandant de la flotte de Tornado britannique. Cette annonce a été faite lors de la conférence "International Fighter" organisée à Londres par IQPC.

 

"Le 12(B) Squadron est rentré d'Afghanistan et sera dissous en mars prochain", a précisé l'aviateur. "Le 617 Squadron est actuellement déployé sur ce théâtre et sera lui aussi dissous courant 2014, après son retour prévu cet hiver", a-t-il ajouté. Au final, seuls trois escadrons de première ligne resteront opérationnels sur Tornado GR4 ; ceux-ci seront stationnés sur la base de RAF Marham. Il s'agit des II(AC)Sqn, IX(B)Sqn et 31 Squadron.

 

Cette réduction de format devrait se poursuivre au-delà de 2015, dans des proportions qui seront déterminées par la future revue stratégique de défense et de sécurité (SDSR). D'ici là, "nous pouvons encore faire évoluer les capacités du Typhoon" dans le domaine de l'air-sol, a insisté le militaire britannique. Il a aussi souligné que Londres "ne disposerait pas d'un grand nombre de F-35" et que le principal défi à venir pour la RAF sera "d'intégrer cette petite flotte le plus efficacement possible avec les avions de combat de quatrième génération comme le Typhoon".

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13 novembre 2013 3 13 /11 /novembre /2013 08:50
First Rivet Joint aircraft delivered to the UK

Boeing RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft arrives at RAF Waddington [Picture: Senior Aircraftman Blake Carruthers, Crown copyright]

 

12 November 2013 Ministry of Defence and Defence Equipment and Support

 

The first of 3 Rivet Joint signals intelligence aircraft has been delivered to MOD ahead of its entry into service with the RAF in 2014.


 

The aircraft will form part of project Airseeker, which will provide the UK with a world class capability able to provide real-time on-scene intelligence, surveillance and analysis for forces in the air and on the ground.

The Boeing RC-135V/W Rivet Joint system has a proven track record, having been used by the United States Air Force (USAF) for many years. Since 2011, the RAF’s 51 Squadron have been training and operating alongside their USAF colleagues in preparation for the UK aircraft entering service in late 2014.

UK crews have already achieved in excess of 32,000 flying hours and 1,800 sorties as part of the US 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing.

MOD has purchased 3 aircraft from the US which will each be configured to support UK operations. The first aircraft has successfully completed its flight trials in Greenville, Texas, ahead of schedule, allowing it to be delivered to the UK early.

Air Vice-Marshal Peter Ewen, Director Air Support at Defence Equipment and Support, who are responsible for the procurement of Rivet Joint, said:

I am delighted that the first Rivet Joint aircraft has been delivered to the UK, an important milestone in the procurement pathway for the future Airseeker signals intelligence capability for UK Defence.

A testament to the ongoing and highly effective UK/US co-operation in the procurement programme, support and RAF aircrew training, this first of 3 aircraft will form a vital component of the nation’s future ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance) capabilities.

Air Vice-Marshal Phil Osborn, Director of Capability at Joint Forces Command, said:

I know that the RAF and Defence are looking forward to operating this key capability and building on the unique history of 51 Squadron.

We plan to have our Airseeker programme – comprising all 3 Rivet Joint aircraft with their highly skilled aircrew, ground crew and analysts – fully operational by mid-2017.

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12 novembre 2013 2 12 /11 /novembre /2013 18:50
Typhoon Flight Simulators Improve Weapon System Training

 

 

November 10, 2013. David Pugliese - Defence Watch

 

News release from BAE:

 

Up to the minute weapon system simulation software is being loaded onto the Typhoon flight simulators at RAF Leuchars, allowing pilots to experience ‘flight missions’ even before the aircraft arrive at the base.

 

At the heart of this improved training environment is an accurate, fully qualified simulation of the Typhoon weapon system, developed by a team of our engineers based our facility in Warton, Lancashire.

 

Thanks to its flexible and scalable design, the simulation can be plugged into a wide range of training systems from desktop devices to full dome cockpits.

 

Two simulators are in use at RAF Leuchars and each is loaded with the latest standard of software to provide concurrent training for the RAF’s Typhoon pilots.

 

With the upgrades formally accepted by the RAF, Air Commodore Keith Bethell, Head of the DE&S Fast Air Support Team said: “I am very encouraged by the capability being developed by BAE Systems which has now been delivered into service at RAF Leuchars. I am hopeful that this capability will be a significant contributor to the development and sustainment of our military capability in the coming years.”

 

Alan Murdoch, who led our efforts to deliver this enhanced training capability said: “Typhoon continues to evolve over time and with that comes a constant flow of new capability. The development work we are doing in simulation is key to unlocking these enhancements by getting new capability into the hands of the customer when it is needed. Our innovative approach to simulation offers real benefits to current and future customers.”

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11 novembre 2013 1 11 /11 /novembre /2013 12:50
Joint Warrior : les temps forts (Video)

 

05.11.2013 Par Armée de l'Air officiel

 

Revivez en vidéo les moments forts de l'exercice Joint Warrior qui s'est déroulé dans le courant du mois d'octobre au Royaume-Uni.

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9 novembre 2013 6 09 /11 /novembre /2013 12:50
Coopération franco-britannique : Rencontre au sommet à Balard

 

08/11/2013 Actus Air

 

Le premier comité stratégique franco-britannique « Board to Board » s’est déroulé le 7 novembre sur la cité de l’air et base aérienne 117 de Balard, à Paris.

 

Cette réunion a été co-présidée par le général Denis Mercier, chef d’état-major de l’armée de l’air (CEMAA) et son homologue de la Royal Air Force, l’AirChief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford.

 

À cette occasion, le CEMAA et le CAS (Chief of Air Staff) ont signé la Combined Vision and Strategy for Royal Air Force and Armée de l’air Engagement (CVS). Ce document s’articule autour de quatre axes stratégiques :

    capacité opérationnelle

    développement futur

    influence collective

    développement d’une culture commune.

 

La CVS s’inscrit dans la dynamique du traité de Lancaster House. Elle témoigne d’une volonté de converger vers une plus grande visibilité de cette coopération bilatérale.

Signature de la Combined Vision and Strategy for Royal Air Force and Armée de l’air Engagement

 

Fort des axes stratégiques développés, l’objectif du niveau partagé d’ambition (Combined Level of Ambition – CLOA) est l’identification de l’état final recherché en 2020 dans les cinq capacités socles de l’armée de l’air :

    C2 (commandement et conduite)

    ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance – Renseignement, surveillance et reconnaissance)

    projection stratégique

    force de combat et d'appui

    éducation et entrainement.

 

La rencontre entre le CEMAA et le CAS démontre l’intérêt qu’ils portent à entretenir les liens forts d’amitiés qui unissent les aviateurs des deux nations.

Coopération franco-britannique : Rencontre au sommet à BalardCoopération franco-britannique : Rencontre au sommet à Balard
Coopération franco-britannique : Rencontre au sommet à Balard
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18 octobre 2013 5 18 /10 /octobre /2013 16:50
 discours des chefs d’état major français et britannique clôturant le DV Day - photo Armée de l'air

discours des chefs d’état major français et britannique clôturant le DV Day - photo Armée de l'air

 

18/10/2013 Armée de l'Air

 

Du 7 au 17 octobre 2013, la France et le Royaume-Uni participent avec sept autres nations (Allemagne, Australie, Canada, Danemark, États-Unis, Italie, Norvège) à un exercice centré sur des manœuvres aéromaritimes, dans lesquelles une quarantaine d’aéronefs et une quinzaine de bâtiments sont engagés.

 

Mardi 15 octobre, une journée « Distinguished Visitors (DV) day » était organisée. À cette occasion, le général Denis Mercier, chef d’état major de l’armée de l’air et son homologue britannique, Sir Andrew Pulford, se sont rendus à Leeming. À leur arrivée, ils ont assisté à une démonstration dynamique. Le scénario comprenait le bombardement de la base aérienne par des Hawk T1, représentant les forces adverses. Ensuite, était mis en scène l’incendie d’un véhicule. La sécurisation du lieu et l’extraction des passagers pour évacuation vers l’infirmerie ont été nécessaires pour mener à bien la mission de sauvetage. Enfin, une équipe cynophile britannique a intercepté un individu ayant pénétré sur le camp sans autorisation.

 

Pour clôturer cette journée, c’est en présence de nombreux journalistes et d’une délégation militaire franco-britannique que les deux chefs d’état-major ont exprimé leur satisfaction quant à la qualité du travail accompli et le professionnalisme dont chacun a su faire preuve.

 

Après deux semaines d’entraînement opérationnel rassemblant neuf nations alliées et un dispositif des plus conséquents pour l’année 2013, Joint Warrior 13-2 s’achève pour les 112 militaires français déployés, du 7 au 17 octobre, sur la base de Leeming. Outre les aéronefs de l’armée de l’air (4 Mirage 2000N, 4 Mirage 2000-5, 1 C135 FR et 1 Super Puma), participaient également la frégate anti sous-marine « La Motte Piquet » et un avion de patrouille maritime Atlantique 2 de la marine nationale.

 

Durant ces dix jours d’exercice, beaucoup d’enjeux, d’objectifs d’entraînement étaient à atteindre. Une structure C2 (Command & Control) conjointe a été mise en œuvre afin de conduire et exécuter les différentes missions. En tenant compte du respect des règles nationales respectives, le GTSICAéro de la base aérienne 105 d’Evreux a déployé de nombreux systèmes d’information et de communications. Le rythme de travail a été dense. Les équipages des Mirage 2000N ont effectué plus de 80 sorties et ont ainsi totalisé près de 200 heures de vol, réalisant leurs missions dans un environnement souvent complexe. Par ailleurs, l’exercice aura permis à l’ensemble du détachement français d’évoluer dans des conditions très proches de la réalité et ce, quel que soit le niveau de commandement (tactique, opératif, stratégique). En effet, l’intégralité du personnel déployé a été entraîné à la conduite des opérations en milieu hostile.

 

Bénéficiant de l’impulsion donnée par le Traité de Lancaster House, Joint Warrior 13-2 a largement mis à contribution l’armée de l’air et la marine nationale. Cette édition aura permis de développer l’interopérabilité des structures de commandement, des procédures, et des matériels des deux armées.

Joint Warrior 2013 DV DayJoint Warrior 2013 DV DayJoint Warrior 2013 DV Day
Joint Warrior 2013 DV DayJoint Warrior 2013 DV DayJoint Warrior 2013 DV Day
Joint Warrior 2013 DV DayJoint Warrior 2013 DV DayJoint Warrior 2013 DV Day
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11 octobre 2013 5 11 /10 /octobre /2013 07:50
un Mirage 2000N se présente au décollage derrière deux Hawk T1 de la RAF - N.Vissac  Armée de l'air

un Mirage 2000N se présente au décollage derrière deux Hawk T1 de la RAF - N.Vissac Armée de l'air

 

10/10/2013 Armée de l'air  - Opérations

 

Le 07 octobre 2013 a marqué le coup d’envoi de l’exercice Joint Warrior 13.2 dans le ciel britannique, concrétisant la coopération franco-britannique établie en 2010 par la signature du traité de Lancaster House. Pendant 10 jours, la France et le Royaume-Uni participent avec sept autres nations (Allemagne, Australie, Canada, Danemark, Etats-Unis, Italie, Norvège) à un exercice centré sur des manœuvres aéromaritimes, dans lesquelles une quarantaine d’aéronefs et une quinzaine de bâtiments sont engagés.

 

L’exercice  Joint Warrior 13.2 s’inscrit dans le cadre de la montée en puissance de la force expéditionnaire interalliée et interarmées (Combined Joint Expeditionary Force - CJEF). Pilier majeur de la coopération militaire franco-britannique, la CJEF doit permettre de disposer, d’ici 2016, d’une force franco-britannique interarmées ayant la capacité d’entrée en premier et rapidement activable. Cette force pourra être engagée dans le cadre bilatéral ou interallié (OTAN, UE, ONU).

 

Depuis 2011, les forces française et britannique conduisent chaque année un exercice majeur centré sur la CJEF. L’objectif est de valider successivement les concepts d’engagement de chacune des  trois composantes. Ainsi, après les exercices Flandres en 2011 et Corsican Lion en 2012, respectivement centrés sur les composantes terrestre et maritime, la composante aérienne est au cœur de l’exercice Joint Warrior 13.2.  Celui-ci constitue l’entraînement opérationnel tactique conjoint le plus important de l’année pour les armées de l’Air française et britannique. Joint Warrior 13.2 couvre l’ensemble du spectre des opérations aériennes de haute intensité, allant de la défense aérienne aux manœuvres d’attaque au sol ou à la mer.  Pour planifier et conduire ces missions aériennes combinées, l’accent est mis sur le  C2 (Command and Control), notamment avec la mise en œuvre d’un Joint Force Air Component Command conjoint (JFACC: centre de planification et de conduite des opérations aériennes). Par ailleurs, les moyens aériens opèrent depuis une DOB (Dispersed Operating Base- Base aérienne projetée) qui se trouve en zone soumise à la menace air-sol ennemie dans le scénario de l’exercice. Située à Leeming, cette DOB  constitue le lieu de stationnement des moyens aériens « chasse » français et britanniques et assure leur soutien.

 

Joint Warrior 13-2, 1 - briefing général

Joint Warrior 13-2, 1 - briefing général

Pour l’armée de l’Air française, les moyens engagés sont: quatre Mirage 2000N de l’escadron de chasse 2/4 «La Fayette» ainsi qu’un C135 du groupe de ravitaillement en vol 2/91 «Bretagne» de la base aérienne 125 d’Istres, un Super Puma de l’Escadron de Transport, d’Entraînement et de Calibration 65 de la base aérienne 107 de Villacoublay, déployés sur différentes bases britanniques et quatre Mirage 2000-5 de l’escadron de chasse 1/2 «Cigognes» engagés depuis la base aérienne 116 de Luxeuil.

Coopération franco-britannique: exercice Joint Warrior 13-2

Après avoir participé, au printemps dernier, à la première séquence essentiellement maritime de Joint Warrior, la Marine Nationale engage une frégate anti-sous-marine (la FASM «La Motte-Picquet»), un hélicoptère embarqué Lynx de la flotille 34F ainsi qu’un Atlantique 2 (avion de patrouille maritime). Il convient de noter qu’un des objectifs de la CJEF est d’être en mesure d’engager, d’ici 2020, un groupe aéronaval franco-britannique.

Coopération franco-britannique: exercice Joint Warrior 13-2Coopération franco-britannique: exercice Joint Warrior 13-2
Coopération franco-britannique: exercice Joint Warrior 13-2
Coopération franco-britannique: exercice Joint Warrior 13-2Coopération franco-britannique: exercice Joint Warrior 13-2
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25 septembre 2013 3 25 /09 /septembre /2013 11:50
UK MoD Responds to River Joint Paint Furore

September 24, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued Sept. 23, 2013)

 

Rivet Joint Aircraft

 

The Sunday Times reported that the RAF's new Rivet Joint 'spy planes' will be painted in US Air Force colours as part of a money-saving scheme MOD has agreed with the US. The paper also flags up concerns about the UK's 'reliance' on the US for such 'a sensitive capability'.

 

Rivet Joint provides the UK with a greatly advanced capability and it is nonsense to suggest that in joining with the US on this capability and adhering to a common standard the UK will be at a disadvantage. In fact, this close co-operation enhances our shared intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance capability.

 

MOD decided to configure our Rivet Joint aircraft to as close a common standard with the US Air Force as is possible; this has significant support cost benefits through the life of the aircraft.

 

Major servicing will be conducted in the US at a facility that has the appropriate protection to handle the security classification of the aircraft. Day-to-day maintenance will be done by RAF personnel in the UK supported by contractors provided as part of the US/UK cooperative agreement.

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 07:50
La Royal Air Force retire le VC10

23 septembre 2013 par Valerie Cheron  - Info-Aviation

 

La Royal Air Force britannique (RAF) a mis à la retraite son avion de transport et de ravitaillement VC10 après 47 ans de service.

 

Exploité par la RAF depuis 1996, le Vickers VC-10 était à l’origine un avion de ligne quadri-réacteur britannique. Son premier vol eut lieu le 29 juin 1962.

 

Les deux derniers Vickers VC10 K3 exploités par le Squadron 101 ont quitté la base de la RAF Brize Norton (Oxfordshire) le 20 septembre pour effectuer un défilé aérien d’adieu à travers le pays. L’avion sera officiellement retiré du service à la fin du mois.

 

Avec la retraite des VC10, le ravitaillement aérien et le transport de troupes/fret de la RAF seront assurés par le L-1011 TriStar de Lockheed (lui-même à la retraite en 2014) puis par le nouvel A330-200 Voyager d’Airbus Military. Le Royaume-Uni a reçu à ce jour six exemplaires sur les 14 avions Voyager commandés, qui seront exploité par le consortium AirTanker pour le compte du ministère de la Défense.

 

Fondé le 12 juillet 1917, le Squadron 101 était le dernier à opérer le VC10 après la dissolution du Squadron 10 en 2005. Ce dernier fut toutefois reformé en juillet 2011 pour devenir le premier opérateur du nouvel Airbus Voyager à la base RAF Brize Norton.

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18 septembre 2013 3 18 /09 /septembre /2013 12:50
RAF space monitoring station reaches milestone

50th anniversary group shot of RAF Fylingdales station personnel (Picture Senior Aircraftman Mark Parkinson, UK MoD)

 

17 September 2013 Ministry of Defence

 

RAF Fylingdales has reached 50 years of service in the fields of space surveillance and missile early warning operations.
 

The station in Yorkshire, famous during the Cold War for its golf-ball-shaped radar installations, is an integral part of the broader space surveillance network and ballistic missile early warning system. RAF Fylingdales, a joint enterprise between the US and UK governments, was first declared operational on 17 September 1963.

Employees past and present joined family members to witness the launch of a new visitor’s centre today, 17 September, aimed at documenting the work carried out throughout the Cold War and beyond.

The golf-ball-shaped radar installations at RAF Fylingdales in 1963
The golf-ball-shaped radar installations of the ballistic missile early warning system at RAF Fylingdales, 16 September 1963 (library image) [Picture: Crown copyright - IWM (HU 69120)]

Speaking at the ceremony, the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne, said:

Space matters to our defence and broader national security interests. RAF Fylingdales delivers some of our nation’s most important strategic missions, such as ballistic missile early warning and space surveillance.

The station helps the Ministry of Defence to understand the space environment and has successfully delivered 50 years of coalition operations with our most important ally, the United States of America. We should be proud of this achievement from both sides of the Atlantic.

Station Commander at RAF Fylingdales, Wing Commander Rayna Owens, said:

RAF Fylingdales is an excellent example of a small but exceptionally professional specialist RAF unit that delivers an output to defence and more broadly in the space domain. The importance of this mission endures and some would say is even more important in a world with uncertainty.

She added:

RAF Fylingdales is the epitome of the RAF’s vision for the ‘whole force concept’ with a broad range of personnel including serving Air Force and reservists, civil servants, defence fire, MOD Police, MOD Guard Service and contractors; they work closely as one team to deliver the operational mission.

Duncan Mackison, Serco’s Managing Director for Defence, said:

The past 50 years have witnessed huge technological advances and innovations, but, from the early days of the Cold War to today, what has remained constant is the dedication to maintaining the very highest standards of service.

Serco is incredibly proud to have been part of the Fylingdales family from the very beginning. This was our first-ever contract and we look forward to continuing to support the RAF for many years to come.

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18 septembre 2013 3 18 /09 /septembre /2013 07:30
Saudi-British Green Flag Exercise

September 17th, 2013 By UK Ministry of Defence - defencetalk.com

 

Aircraft, crews and supporting personnel from the Royal Saudi Air Force, (RSAF) have been operating alongside their allies from the Royal Air Force as Exercise Saudi-British Green Flag took place at RAF Coningsby.

 

RSAF Typhoons from the 10th Sqn, based at King Fahad Air Base, Taif were flown into the Lincolnshire base alongside Tornados from the 75th Sqn, King Abdul Aziz Air Base, Dhahran. No 3 (Fighter) Squadron supplied the RAF Typhoon element, alongside a composite Tornado GR4 force from RAF Marham. The ten day exercise saw the Saudi and RAF crews fly in a series of training flights of gradually increasing complexity, during which the crews gained a wider knowledge of how the other force works and also how to use the relative strengths of their aircraft to generate greater overall effects.

 

Group Captain Johnny Stringer, RAF Coningsby Station Commander said, “For Coningsby and for the RAF this is a hugely significant exercise, an opportunity to fly the same aircraft types with our RSAF friends, to share our tactical thinking on how we employ our platforms, and for us as a station to support a detachment at significant range from a fellow air force.

 

He continued, “At the end of the exercise we will get to the point where success for us, and I think I can speak for the RSAF as well, is that our pilots, navigators, engineers, fighter controllers – all of the people who the RSAF has brought across that we are hosting both at Coningsby and more broadly in the UK – not only understand and know each other a little bit better, but if we ever have to go and fly and fight alongside each other for real then we will have the confidence in each other that we are able to do that.

 

Brigadier-General Mohammed Al-Shahrani, the RSAF Detachment Commander said, “One very important objective we have is to make sure that our people, from aircrew, to engineers, to staff, to fighter control and all the other roles, work side by side with the RAF; to be ready if we ever need to operate together.

 

Gp Capt Stringer,” In terms of what the exercise looks like, you are obviously drawn to Coningsby because it’s where the Tornados and Typhoons are operating, but we also have embedded RSAF personnel with our GCI personnel up at RAF Boulmer, and elsewhere, and we have them supporting the exercise directing staff. You can see from that breadth that this is more than just flying some aircraft together — this is a significant engagement.

 

Cooperation and greater understanding of how each air force works was a very clear objective for the exercise. This was not just limited to the pilots; engineers and other support staff on both sides also benefited. One example of the variety of roles that air force personnel provided during the exercise is that of No 3 Mobile Catering Squadron. Personnel from the squadron deployed to Coningsby to provide catering facilities to exercise personnel. Sgt Maxine Booth, “We are a mobile catering squadron, so our job is to pitch up in a tent somewhere and supply food. The big difference this time is that where we are usually in another country taking a piece of the UK to our forces, this time we are in the UK hoping to bring part of Saudi Arabia here. It has been a massively rewarding experience, both personally and professionally. We have some Saudi chefs with us and it has been fascinating to observe and learn different cooking techniques, for example with something as basic as rice. On a personal level, we are spending time with the Saudi’s, we are working with them and eating with them, it is great to learn about their culture and their language.

 

From the Saudi perspective, two aspects of the deployment stand out as significant. The exercise is the first significant deployment of the Typhoon outside of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is also the first time that the MRTT aircraft, (called Voyager by the RAF) has been used to “trail” aircraft operationally by any air force, a source of great pride for the RSAF. (A trail is when air-to-air refuelling aircraft are used to allow swift deployment; in this case the Typhoons flew directly from Saudi Arabia to the UK, refuelling en-route)

 

Brig-Gen Shahrani, “It is the first time we have deployed Typhoons for a long period of time outside our Kingdom so that means we are reaching out our logistic support to about 3,000 miles; it is very important for us to test that. Also it is the first time that we have used the Airbus MRTT for trailing from Saudi Arabia to here, which has proven successful.

 

Several of the Saudi pilots and engineers have been to Coningsby before as they undertook their Typhoon training at the Lincolnshire base, Brig-Gen Shahrani being the first pilot to do so in 2008.

 

Gp Capt Stringer, “The Saudis have been our friends and allies for a long time, and on an individual level it is wonderful to see friends such as Brigadier-General Shahrani back here”, Brigadier-General Shahrani echoed Group Captain Stringer’s comments, “When you operate as allies, knowing the other person, being able to pick up the telephone and talk to someone you already know, is very valuable.”

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 07:50
Saudi-British Green Flag

September 17, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Royal Air Force News; published Sept. 16, 2013)

 

Aircraft, crews and supporting personnel from the Royal Saudi Air Force, (RSAF) have been operating alongside their allies from the Royal Air Force as Exercise Saudi-British Green Flag took place at RAF Coningsby.

 

RSAF Typhoons from the 10th Sqn, based at King Fahad Air Base, Taif were flown into the Lincolnshire base alongside Tornados from the 75th Sqn, King Abdul Aziz Air Base, Dhahran. No 3 (Fighter) Squadron supplied the RAF Typhoon element, alongside a composite Tornado GR4 force from RAF Marham. The ten day exercise saw the Saudi and RAF crews fly in a series of training flights of gradually increasing complexity, during which the crews gained a wider knowledge of how the other force works and also how to use the relative strengths of their aircraft to generate greater overall effects.

 

Group Captain Johnny Stringer, RAF Coningsby Station Commander said, “For Coningsby and for the RAF this is a hugely significant exercise, an opportunity to fly the same aircraft types with our RSAF friends, to share our tactical thinking on how we employ our platforms, and for us as a station to support a detachment at significant range from a fellow air force.

 

He continued, “At the end of the exercise we will get to the point where success for us, and I think I can speak for the RSAF as well, is that our pilots, navigators, engineers, fighter controllers - all of the people who the RSAF has brought across that we are hosting both at Coningsby and more broadly in the UK - not only understand and know each other a little bit better, but if we ever have to go and fly and fight alongside each other for real then we will have the confidence in each other that we are able to do that.

 

Brigadier-General Mohammed Al-Shahrani, the RSAF Detachment Commander said, “One very important objective we have is to make sure that our people, from aircrew, to engineers, to staff, to fighter control and all the other roles, work side by side with the RAF; to be ready if we ever need to operate together.

 

Gp Capt Stringer,” In terms of what the exercise looks like, you are obviously drawn to Coningsby because it’s where the Tornados and Typhoons are operating, but we also have embedded RSAF personnel with our GCI personnel up at RAF Boulmer, and elsewhere, and we have them supporting the exercise directing staff. You can see from that breadth that this is more than just flying some aircraft together — this is a significant engagement.

 

Cooperation and greater understanding of how each air force works was a very clear objective for the exercise. This was not just limited to the pilots; engineers and other support staff on both sides also benefited. One example of the variety of roles that air force personnel provided during the exercise is that of No 3 Mobile Catering Squadron. Personnel from the squadron deployed to Coningsby to provide catering facilities to exercise personnel. Sgt Maxine Booth, “We are a mobile catering squadron, so our job is to pitch up in a tent somewhere and supply food. The big difference this time is that where we are usually in another country taking a piece of the UK to our forces, this time we are in the UK hoping to bring part of Saudi Arabia here. It has been a massively rewarding experience, both personally and professionally. We have some Saudi chefs with us and it has been fascinating to observe and learn different cooking techniques, for example with something as basic as rice. On a personal level, we are spending time with the Saudi’s, we are working with them and eating with them, it is great to learn about their culture and their language.

 

From the Saudi perspective, two aspects of the deployment stand out as significant. The exercise is the first significant deployment of the Typhoon outside of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is also the first time that the MRTT aircraft, (called Voyager by the RAF) has been used to "trail" aircraft operationally by any air force, a source of great pride for the RSAF. (A trail is when air-to-air refuelling aircraft are used to allow swift deployment; in this case the Typhoons flew directly from Saudi Arabia to the UK, refuelling en-route)

 

Brig-Gen Shahrani, “It is the first time we have deployed Typhoons for a long period of time outside our Kingdom so that means we are reaching out our logistic support to about 3,000 miles; it is very important for us to test that. Also it is the first time that we have used the Airbus MRTT for trailing from Saudi Arabia to here, which has proven successful.

 

Several of the Saudi pilots and engineers have been to Coningsby before as they undertook their Typhoon training at the Lincolnshire base, Brig-Gen Shahrani being the first pilot to do so in 2008.

 

Gp Capt Stringer, "The Saudis have been our friends and allies for a long time, and on an individual level it is wonderful to see friends such as Brigadier-General Shahrani back here", Brigadier-General Shahrani echoed Group Captain Stringer’s comments, "When you operate as allies, knowing the other person, being able to pick up the telephone and talk to someone you already know, is very valuable."

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10 septembre 2013 2 10 /09 /septembre /2013 06:50
Huge Surge In RAF Reaper UAV Weapons Launches

RAF Reaper UAV - Photo: Corporal Steve Follows RAF UK MoD

 

09/09/2013 by Paul Fiddian - Armed Forces International's Lead Reporter

 

Royal Air Force Reaper UAV weapons launches over Afghanistan have increased sevenfold since 2008, according to newly-published data

 

Published in early September 2013, the data confirms that, last year, the RAF's Reaper fleet was involved in 892 flights over Afghanistan. During 92 of these sorties, missiles were fired, meaning such events occurred during over 10 per cent of the flights total.

 

In contrast, a total of 296 RAF Reaper MALE (medium altitude long endurance) UAV missions were staged during 2008, of which circa five per cent involved weapons being fired.

 

Deployed against suspected militant forces located in Afghanistan, the RAF's Reapers can be equipped with AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles: a capability first revealed in June 2008. Under the United States' control, UAVs operating in Afghan skies have proved highly controversial. While having successfully engaged with intended targets, the same unmanned platforms have reportedly also killed dozens of innocent civilians.

 

RAF Reaper Weapons Launches

 

According to officials, five different UK Armed Forces UAVs are presently deployed in Afghanistan. Of these, the RAF's Reapers are the only UAVs able to carry and launch weapons.

 

The type, said one RAF representative, has: "played a vital role supporting military operations [and]...saved countless UK and allied forces lives by providing essential intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and precision weapons in support of coalition forces on group operations."

 

Previously known as the Predator B, the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper made its first flight in February 2001 and entered service on 1 May 2007. To date, 57 examples have been produced, each one costing in the region of $16.9 million.

 

RAF Reaper UAVs

 

Reaper MALE UAVs currently equip three nations - Italy, the US and the UK. The Royal Air Force's Reapers UAVs serve two squadrons: No. 39 Squadron and No. 13 Squadron.

 

Powered by a single Honeywell TPE331-10 turboprop engine generating 900 horsepower, the Reaper has a top speed of 300 miles per hour, a range of 1,150 miles and an endurance of 14 hours in its heaviest configuration. Reapers can fly at up to 50,000 feet but typically operate at around 25,000 feet and, equipped with seven weapons hardpoints, they can carry up to AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles.

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6 septembre 2013 5 06 /09 /septembre /2013 06:50
RAF Hawk T2 trainers photo UK MoD

RAF Hawk T2 trainers photo UK MoD

Sept. 5, 2013 by Craig Hoyle – FG

 

London - Early use of the Royal Air Force's BAE Systems Hawk T2 advanced jet trainer has dramatically boosted the quality of instruction being provided to UK students, programme officials say.

 

A first course of four ab initio pilots completed their training on the T2 with 4 Sqn at Valley in June 2013, before progressing to the RAF's 29 Sqn operational conversion unit (OCU) for the Eurofighter Typhoon at Coningsby in Lincolnshire.

 

"I think we've doubled the standard of the students," says Alasdair Shinner, station manager at the Anglesey base for Lockheed Martin/Babcock joint venture Ascent; the Ministry of Defence's training system partner for the Military Flying Training System (MFTS) programme. The T2 has the potential to deliver a "multi-role, combat-ready pilot" to the OCU, he adds, whereas the RAF's analogue cockpit Hawk T1s "weren't giving them relevant training for the aircraft that they were going to be flying".

 

Several additional courses are now under way, with these including RAF and Royal Navy students and 11 more UK qualified flying instructors (QFI). With only 50% of system capacity currently being used on a 28-aircraft fleet, potential options to increase the volume of training delivered include preparing additional RAF QFIs, increasing the number of instructors sourced from other air forces from a current one each from Australia, Canada and France, or approving Ascent-employed instructors to command some flights, officials say.

 

"Spare capacity is something that is being looked at, but there is no simple answer," says Gp Capt Simon Blake, from the RAF's 22 Group training organisation. "Lots of other air forces are coming here and seeing that we are filling the [training capability] gap," he notes.

 

Meanwhile, activities involving the RAF's Hawk T1-equipped 208 Sqn have been extended at Valley, with the service currently providing Phase IV lead-in fighter training for Royal Saudi Air Force pilots. Riyadh will take delivery of its first of 22 T2-equivalent Hawks from BAE in 2015, with Oman also having ordered eight of the new-generation type.

 

The remainder of the MFTS programme's fixed-wing equipment package should be determined by 2015, with a side-by-side-configuration type to deliver elementary training and a turboprop-powered basic trainer offering "jet-like performance" to be acquired as a replacement for the RAF's current Shorts Tucano T1s. Operations should commence from around 2018, says Ascent training director Simon Falla.

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29 août 2013 4 29 /08 /août /2013 16:30
Britain’s fire power

Strikes could be carried out by Tornado jets, armed with Storm Shadow cruise missiles, and helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious is already deployed in the Mediterranean as part of long-planned exercise Cougar 13

 

29 Aug 2013 telegraph.co.uk

 

With the possibility of intervention in Syria on the horizon, an arsenal of military might is available for use by defence chiefs.

 

The Royal Navy's Response Force

Britain’s fire power

The Royal Navy's Response Force Task Group is already deployed in the Mediterranean as part of long-planned exercise Cougar 13. The force includes helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious, type-23 frigates HMS Westminster and HMS Montrose, amphibious warship HMS Bulwark and six Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships.

 

Frigates

Type 23 frigate HMS Lancaster – photo LA(Phot) Gary Weatherston, MOD 2012

Type 23 frigate HMS Lancaster – photo LA(Phot) Gary Weatherston, MOD 2012

Type-23, or Duke-class, frigates are said to be the core of the frontline fleet. Carrying 185 personnel, they are 133m long, have a range of 7,800 nautical miles and a top speed of 28 knots. They carry Sea Wolf surface-to-air missile systems, the main line of defence against attacking aircraft and missiles, as well as a Harpoon anti-ship missile system and guns.

 

Nuclear submarines

HMS Trafalgar, pictured during Tomahawk missile trials - photo US DoD

HMS Trafalgar, pictured during Tomahawk missile trials - photo US DoD

Trafalgar-class nuclear submarine HMS Tireless is also believed to be in the area, after being spotted at the weekend in Gibraltar. The Trafalgar-class is a class of nuclear-powered fleet submarines and form the backbone of the Royal Navy's nuclear-powered "hunter-killer" submarine force. HMS Torbay, Trenchant, Talent, and Triumph are fitted with the Sonar 2076 system, described by the Navy as the most advanced sonar in service with any navy in the world and carry Tomahawk cruise missiles.

 

Tomahawk cruise missile

HMS Astute Fires a Tomahawk Cruise Missile (TLAM) During Testing Near the USA photo UK MoD

HMS Astute Fires a Tomahawk Cruise Missile (TLAM) During Testing Near the USA photo UK MoD

The Tomahawk IV, known in the Navy as TLAM (Tomahawk land attack cruise missile), allows submarines to strike at ground targets hundreds of miles inland with "pinpoint accuracy".

 

The 5.5 metre-long cruise missile, which weighs 1,300kg and has a range of more than 1,000 miles, is fitted to all Trafalgar and Astute-class submarines. It has been in use with the Submarine Service since the late 1990s and has been used in the Kosovo conflict and, more recently, in campaigns against the Taliban and Saddam Hussein.

 

After it is fired from a boat's torpedo tubes and reaches the surface, a booster rocket propels the missile skywards and it heads for its target at around 550mph, delivering a 1,000lb explosive warhead.

 

Tornado jets armed with cruise missiles

RAF Tornado of 617 Squadron – Picture RAF MOD 2012

RAF Tornado of 617 Squadron – Picture RAF MOD 2012

Strikes could also be carried out by Tornado jets armed with Storm Shadow cruise missiles.

 

Previously used in areas such as Iraq, Kosovo, Afghanistan and, most recently, Libya, the Tornado GR4 is a two-seat, day or night, all-weather attack aircraft which can fire a variety of weapons.

 

Powered by two Rolls-Royce RB 199 Mk 103 turbofan engines, it can fly automatically at low level when poor weather prevents visual flight and is equipped with infrared and night vision so it can be used at night in all weather.

 

All Tornado GR4s can carry the air launched anti-radiation missile (Alarm), which homes on to the emitted radiation of enemy radar systems and it's own defences have been upgraded to include state-of-the-art Asraam short range air-to-air missile. It is also equipped with a 27mm Mauser cannon which can fire 1,700 rounds per minute.

 

The GR4 typically carries up to a maximum of five Paveway IV laser-guided bombs, or two Storm Shadow cruise missiles, but can be configured with various weapons, targeting pods and reconnaissance pods.

 

Storm Shadow missiles

Tornado GR4 - Storm Shadow

Tornado GR4 - Storm Shadow

The Storm Shadow is a long-range, air-launched and conventionally armed missile.

 

It allows the Tornado to make "precision strikes" in poor weather with a greatly increased stand-off range from the target area.

 

Equipped with a powerful warhead, it is designed to attack important hardened targets and infrastructure such as buried and protected command centres.

 

Mission data, including target details, is loaded into the missile's main computer before the aircraft leaves. Then, after it is fired, its wings deploy and the missile navigates its way to the target at low level.

 

On its final approach it climbs, discards its nose cone and uses an advanced infrared seeker to match the target area with stored imagery. This process is repeated as the missile dives onto the target, using higher-resolution imagery, to ensure the maximum accuracy.

 

Aircrafts

Typhoon Jet Taking Off from RAF Coningsby photo UK MoD

Typhoon Jet Taking Off from RAF Coningsby photo UK MoD

Britain has also deployed various aircraft to Cyprus to protect Sovereign Base Areas in the overseas territory.

 

Six RAF Typhoons have been sent to RAF Akrotiri in a "defensive counter air" role.

 

The RAF's four frontline Typhoon Squadrons are based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire and RAF Leuchars in Fife, and each squadron operates up to 15 aircraft.

 

Typhoons have two Eurojet EJ200 turbojets. They can reach a maximum speed of 1.8 Mach and an altitude of 55,000ft.

 

The jets sent to Cyprus are armed with advanced, medium range air-to-air missiles (Amraam), Asraam and a Mauser cannon for close combat.

 

Air-to-air missiles

Eurofighter test firing the AMRAAM air-to-air missile.

Eurofighter test firing the AMRAAM air-to-air missile.

The Amraam, which can be used in all weather, is launched from a range of 20 to 30 nautical miles then guided by its own navigation system, while receiving command-guidance updates from the launch aircraft . It is equipped with a radar proximity fuse which detonates the high-explosive fragmentation warhead at a pre-set distance from the target.

 

In short-range mode, it can be launched "active-off-the-rail" when the missile's radar detects the target immediately after launch.

 

ASRAAM AIM-132

ASRAAM AIM-132

The Asraam is a high-speed, highly manoeuvrable, heat-seeking air-to-air missile designed as a "fire-and-forget" weapon which can counter things like infrared countermeasures.

 

Typically, it is slaved to a target either visually or by the launch aircraft's onboard sensors. After its release, the missile accelerates to speeds faster than Mach 3 whilst being guided to the target using its infrared seeker. Detonation of the high-explosive fragmentation warhead is achieved by either a laser proximity fuse or an impact fuse.

 

Britain’s fire power

The Mauser BK-27 is a 27mm cannon fitted to Tornado jets for air-to-air or air-to-ground firing. The cannon is a single-barrel, high-performance breech-cylinder gun and can fire at a rate of 1000 or 1700 rounds per minute.

 

Airbones surveillance

 

RAF E-3D Sentry photo UK MoD

RAF E-3D Sentry photo UK MoD

The RAF operates seven E-3D Sentry aircraft in the airborne surveillance and command-and-control role.

 

Based at RAF Waddington, they are operated by Nos 8 and 23 Squadrons as the UK's contribution to the Nato Airborne Early Warning and Control Force.

 

The Sentry's roles are air and sea surveillance, airborne command and control, and weapons control, and it can also operate as an extensive communications platform.

 

It cruises at 30,000ft and 400 knots and its high-performance radar, housed in the black radome, can separate airborne and maritime targets from ground and sea clutter.

 

One Sentry flying at 30,000ft can scan at distances of over 300 nautical miles, can detect low-flying targets or maritime surface contacts within 215 nautical miles and can detect medium-level airborne targets at ranges beyond 280 nautical miles.

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29 août 2013 4 29 /08 /août /2013 15:50
6 RAF Typhoon interceptor fast jets are being deployed to Akrotiri in Cyprus this morning

29 August 2013 raf.mod.uk

 

As part of ongoing contingency planning, 6 RAF Typhoon interceptor fast jets are deploying this morning to Akrotiri in Cyprus.

 

This is a precautionary measure, specifically aimed at protecting UK interests and the defence of our Sovereign Base Areas at a time of heightened tension in the wider region. This is a movement of defensive assets operating in an air-to-air role only. They are not deploying to take part in any military action against Syria.

 

The Prime Minister has made clear no decision has been taken on the UK’s response to the situation in Syria and there will be a Commons vote before any direct military involvement.

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29 août 2013 4 29 /08 /août /2013 11:30
photo UK MoD

photo UK MoD

29 August 2013 Ministry of Defence

 

6 RAF Typhoon interceptor fast jets are being deployed to Akrotiri in Cyprus this morning.

 

As part of ongoing contingency planning, 6 RAF Typhoon interceptor fast jets are deploying this morning to Akrotiri in Cyprus.

 

This is a precautionary measure, specifically aimed at protecting UK interests and the defence of our Sovereign Base Areas at a time of heightened tension in the wider region. This is a movement of defensive assets operating in an air-to-air role only. They are not deploying to take part in any military action against Syria.

 

The Prime Minister has made clear no decision has been taken on the UK’s response to the situation in Syria and there will be a Commons vote before any direct military involvement.

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29 août 2013 4 29 /08 /août /2013 09:17
RAF Akrotiri base - photo UK MoD

RAF Akrotiri base - photo UK MoD

29 août 2013 à 07:36 Par RFI

 

Les préparatifs s'accélèrent en vue d'une attaque contre les infrastructures militaires du régime de Damas. Les frappes aériennes pourraient occuper une place importante dans le dispositif militaire et la base aérienne britannique d'Akrotiri, à Chypre, est idéalement située.

 

Les bases aériennes qui sont citées en premier, lorsqu'on évoque d'éventuelles frappes en Syrie, sont celles d'Incirlik et d'Izmir en Turquie, ainsi qu'une autre située en Jordanie. Mais des articles de la presse britannique ont fait également mention de la base aérienne britannique d'Akrotiri, située sur l'île de Chypre, à seulement 160 kilomètres de la Syrie.

 

Des pilotes d'un vol commercial auraient ainsi observé la présence d'avions de transport militaire C-130 sur la base, et le voisinage a relevé à son tour qu'une activité supérieure à la normale s'y déroule depuis trois jours.

 

Mais tous les spécialistes des questions de défense ne confirment pas qu'il s'agit là des signes avant-coureurs d'une opération militaire imminente. Ils font remarquer que la base d'Akrotiri sert surtout de point d'appui et de ravitaillement, notamment pour le rapatriement du matériel militaire d'Afghanistan.

 

Elle accueille également de nombreuses installations électroniques d'écoute. Il faut dire aussi que les autorités chypriotes ont déclaré qu'elles n'avaient reçu aucune information concernant une éventuelle utilisation de la base d'Akrotiri pour une attaque contre la Syrie.

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27 août 2013 2 27 /08 /août /2013 11:50
Syrie: préparatifs sur une base militaire anglaise à Chypre

27/08/2013 Par Le Figaro.fr


En cas de frappes occidentales en Syrie, la base britannique d'Akrotiri à Chypre serait idéalement placée. Or, selon le Guardian, les préparatifs s'accélèrent sur cet aéroport militaire situé sur la côte sud de l'île, à quelque 160 kilomètres de la Syrie.

Deux pilotes d'un vol commercial auraient ainsi observé la présence d'avions de transports C-130 ainsi que celle de plusieurs avions de chasse. Le voisinage confirme lui aussi qu'une activité supérieure à la normale a été observée lors des dernières 48 heures. Plusieurs responsables militaires américains et britanniques travaillent sur l'utilisation de la base en vue de frappes contre le régime de Bachar el-Assad, rapporte le Daily Telegraph.

Depuis l'indépendance de Chypre en 1960, la Grande-Bretagne a conservé deux sites militaires sur l'île. La base aérienne d'Akrotiri est le plus important des deux. Elle sert actuellement au soutien logistique des forces de l'Otan en Afghanistan et accueille de nombreuses installations électroniques d'écoutes. Elle a aussi été utilisée par les Britanniques dans les frappes contre le régime de Mouammar Kadhafi.

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23 août 2013 5 23 /08 /août /2013 16:50
Air Vice-Marshal Elaine West - photo UK MoD

Air Vice-Marshal Elaine West - photo UK MoD

23 August 2013 Ministry of Defence and Defence Infrastructure Organisation

 

Elaine West has become the first woman to be promoted to Air Vice-Marshal within the RAF.

 

Air Vice-Marshal West will take up the role of Director of Projects and Programme Delivery at the Defence Infrastructure Organisation. She will lead the way in programming and delivering multi-million-pound infrastructure projects to support military training, improve defence capability and oversee the draw down of Army units from Germany.

 

Prior to Air Vice-Marshal West’s promotion, the highest rank held by a regular serving female officer in the modern day RAF was Air Commodore. The highest ranking female officer in the Navy has been Commodore and the highest rank achieved by a woman in the Army has been Brigadier.

 

Air Vice-Marshal West said:

It is with enormous pride that I take up my new appointment. I am privileged to have served in the RAF and to have enjoyed so many challenging roles over the years.

To now be the first female military two-star is a truly unexpected bonus. I know so many inspirational women across all 3 Services who continue to make a substantial contribution to operations and our Armed Forces more widely.

This is a terrific opportunity and one that I’m looking forward to immensely.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:

We need the best and the brightest talent in senior positions as we transform Defence over the next few years as we build Future Force 2020, and that means selecting people from across Defence, irrespective of gender.

I am pleased that we are demonstrating in Defence that there are no ‘glass ceilings’ for female officers who have the necessary abilities to rise to the senior ranks.

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford, said:

Elaine West’s promotion to the rank of Air Vice-Marshal is thoroughly well-deserved and I wish her every success in her challenging role within the Defence Infrastructure Organisation.

The Royal Air Force is proud of its record as an equal opportunities employer – we were recognised most recently by the Times as one of the UK’s top 50 female employers – and it is fantastic to see more female officers reaching top positions within the Service.

The vast majority of roles in the Armed Forces are open to women and I would encourage everyone, regardless of gender, to take full advantage of the opportunities available to them within the military.

Air Vice-Marshal West joined the RAF in late 1978 and through her commitment and leadership has climbed through the ranks over her 34-year career. She has served her country in bases across the world and her appointment will now help to inspire generations of women to continue aiming high to reach the top ranks within the military.

The Armed Forces are committed to increasing the number of female personnel and to promoting diversity at all levels. The RAF has consistently received extensive recognition for its work on gender equality and promoting career opportunities for women.

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22 août 2013 4 22 /08 /août /2013 12:50
NAWCAD Team Helps British Crew Complete New Helo Tests

The upgraded CH-47 Chinook, outfitted with bright red skis, hovers over the airfield at Naval Air Station Patuxent River as it completes checks of a new digital automatic flight control system. The system gives the aircraft better low speed capabilities, allowing for safer maneuvering and increased control. (Courtesy photo by Fred Troilo)

 

Aug 21, 2013 ASDNews Source : Naval Air Systems Command

 

NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. — Royal Air Force (RAF) flight crews completed testing of their new MK6 tandem rotor helicopter with the help of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) here Aug. 10.

 

NAWCAD employees provided assistance to the RAF under a commercial service agreement with Boeing. NAS Patuxent River offers many unique testing areas such as sloped landing pads, maneuvering courses and heavy lift stations. Flying in these testing areas ensured the helicopter’s new digital automatic flight control system (AFCS) could operate successfully in a wide range of environments and scenarios, from operations in a desert theater to supply drops in the Arctic.

 

 “This is going to give us increased control in degraded visual environments, when operating in very difficult conditions such as in the dark or with dust and snow that prevent the pilot from seeing,” said RAF Flight Leader Chris Boddy. “This gives control to the aircraft so the pilot can monitor the profiles of the aircraft flying and not be overworked.”

 

 In addition to the digital AFCS, the upgraded version of Boeing’s CH-47 Chinook contains distinctive items such as the COBRA fire suppression system, the external rescue hoist and a rotor brake. The new frame structure of the MK6 allows for lower maintenance and vibration signatures for longer life.

 

 Several RAF teams visited NAS Patuxent River over the test period, allowing different crews to conduct tests and gain experience flying the aircraft.

 

“We really appreciate all the facilities we have been able to use on base and places in the local community as well,” Boddy said. “It’s been a good place to work and live.”

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