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28 mars 2014 5 28 /03 /mars /2014 13:50
UK to lead major military exercise off coast of Scotland

Flight deck operations on HMS Illustrious during Exercise Joint Warrior (library image) [Picture: Petty Officer (Photographer) Ray Jones, Crown copyright]

 

27 March 2014 Ministry of Defence

 

Multinational forces will be training off Scotland this weekend as part of Europe's largest military exercise.

 

 

Exercise Joint Warrior will be hosted in the UK and will incorporate all 3 UK armed services: the Royal Navy, the British Army and the Royal Air Force (RAF).

The exercise, which began on 25 March, will engage more than 35 warships, 25 different types of aircraft, and a total of nearly 13,000 personnel from the various participating nations, which include the USA, Turkey, Germany, Belgium, France, Holland and Denmark.

Ships, submarines, aircraft and ground troops from the UK, US and other allies will be taking part, battling each other at sea, in the air and on land in an area which stretches from the Irish Sea, north to Cape Wrath and east to the Moray Firth.

Exercise Joint Warrior represents a valuable opportunity to demonstrate the range of capabilities available for contingency operations and provides excellent training which tests the high readiness capabilities of the armed forces.

Dr Andrew Murrison, Minister for International Security Strategy, said:

Exercise Joint Warrior is an initiative dating back over 30 years and continues to provide realistic training platforms for our armed forces, testing the vast capabilities of the 3 services.

This exercise sees us working with our international allies, including the US, Netherlands, France, Turkey, Norway and Nato, and will be the largest live, tactically-focused exercise held in Europe this year.

HMS Bulwark's landing dock
Royal Marines from 42 Commando prepare to launch an amphibious assault from HMS Bulwark's landing dock (library image) [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Nicky Wilson, Crown copyright]

The Royal Navy has 12 ships taking part in the exercise, including amphibious vessels, destroyers, frigates and mine countermeasures vessels.

The crews involved will use the exercise to prepare for their imminent deployments to the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Middle East, where they will carry out activities including deterring adversaries, conducting maritime security operations, reassuring allies and providing humanitarian disaster relief.

Nearly 1,300 commandos from 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines, including force elements from 24 Commando Engineer Regiment and 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, will be embedded across the ships, enabling them to undertake a large-scale amphibious assault on a beach in Cumbria.

The RAF will provide fast jet aircraft in the form of Hawks, Tornados and Typhoons, and will simulate enemy aircraft and missiles as well as providing conventional air warfare capability. In addition to this, RAF surveillance aircraft will supply the Royal Navy with a detailed picture of enemy movements and positions.

The British Army will be represented on the exercise by members of 16 Air Assault Brigade, who will be joined by RAF, Army and Commando Helicopter Forces, with Apache, Chinook, Sea King, Lynx, Merlin and Puma helicopters providing critical attack support and reconnaissance capabilities.

Logistic support to air assets will be provided by the Tactical Supply Wing of the RAF.

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27 mars 2014 4 27 /03 /mars /2014 13:50
A400M - RAF visit Airbus DS in Seville


 

27 March 2014 Miss Rebecca Jepps - Royal Air Force

 

The RAF has paid an exclusive behind the scenes visit to Airbus Defence and Space in Seville, Spain to see the progress being made on A400M, otherwise known as ATLAS.

 

The next generation military transport aircraft will bring a unique capability to the RAF as it combines the intercontinental range of the C-17 with the ability to do tactical rough landings of the C-130 Hercules.

A400M

 

Air Officer Commanding 2 Group, Air Vice Marshal Sean ReynoldsCBE DFC RAF said:

 

"It was a privilege to visit Airbus Defence and Space in Seville to see at first hand the progress that is being made with the A400M programme. As part of bringing the aircraft into RAF service, our people including aircrew, engineers and support crew are currently preparing at the International Training Centre to operate the aircraft. ATLAS will bring a unique capability to the RAF’s Air Mobility fleet, with combined strategic and tactical capabilities ensuring that it will be a key capability in the decades to come. ATLAS will be based at RAF Brize Norton, which has an exciting future as it prepares to operate the RAF’s newest aircraft."

Tony Flynn, 45, ex-RAF pilot and Experimental Test pilot

 

Tony Flynn, 45, ex-RAF pilot and Experimental Test pilot is busy putting the aircraft through its paces:

 

“For a pilot, A400M is fantastic to fly. You have the latest generation of fly by wire so it’s easy to fly. It’s supposed to be that way so pilots can focus on the mission. We’ve had lots of pilots from customer nations together with the test pilots fly the aeroplane and everybody is impressed by its handling qualities.”

 

The A400M programme was borne from the combined needs of European and International partners, and is an opportunity for the French Air Force (FAF) and the RAF to work together for mutual benefit following the Defence and Security Cooperation Treaty.

Flt Lt Chris Aston (left) and Lt Col Ben Pallard on the A400M Simulator at Airbus Defence & Space in Seville.

 

Flight Lieutenant Chris Aston, 34, a former C130 Hercules pilot, and FAF pilot Lieutenant Colonel Ben Paillard, 36, a previous exchange officer with 47 Sqn, are both learning to fly the aircraft in a state of the art simulator. Chris said:

 

“It’s been good to get different ideas in the way we operate. The main aim is for interoperability; to make sure, for example, that a British aircraft could fly to a French airfield, pick up a French load and fly it somewhere and they wouldn’t see any difference in the way we operate.”

 

Ahead of its arrival at RAF Brize Norton, planned later this year, RAF loadmasters and avionics technicians are also learning to operate the aircraft. Engineer, Corporal Lloyd Hill, 32, is currently training to be an instructor:

Corporal Lloyd Hill

 

 

“I saw A400M fly at RIAT and really liked it and applied for the programme, I didn’t expect to get it! There are a lot of modern systems on the aircraft and I’m excited to see it up close and see what it can do. The next phase of training will be on the Final Assembly Line (FAL) and training on handling the aircraft.”

Final Assembly Line at Airbus Defence and Space at Seville, Spain

 

Currently undergoing construction on the FAL is ‘MSN 015’, which will be the first ATLAS in RAF Service. ATLAS is at the forefront of modern technology with its software, wings and the aircrew simulator being British manufactured. The cutting edge aircraft will bring an enhanced capability to the RAF. ATLAS can carry 116 Armed Forces personnel, including paratroopers, a Chinook helicopter, heavy outside cargo and modern heavy military armoured vehicles. It can fly faster and further than the C130 Hercules and will be used in peace, crisis or conflict.

 

Photographs: SAC Ben Tritta / SAC Helen Farrer

Airbus Defence and Space in Seville.

Tony Flynn, 45, ex-RAF pilot and Experimental Test pilot.

Flt Lt Chris Aston (left) and Lt Col Ben Pallard on the A400M Simulator at Airbus Defence & Space in Seville.

Corporal Lloyd Hill.

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27 mars 2014 4 27 /03 /mars /2014 08:50
TriStar retires after 30 years' service

216 Squadron personnel with a TriStar aircraft at RAF Brize Norton [Picture: Squadron Leader Dylan Eklund, Crown copyright]

 

25 March 2014 Ministry of Defence and Defence Equipment and Support

 

The Lockheed TriStar has flown its last operational mission with the Royal Air Force.

On 24 March, 2 TriStars of 216 Squadron based at RAF Brize Norton flew an air-to-air refuelling mission over the North Sea before one of them conducted flypasts at airfields associated with its history.

During its service, the TriStar, fondly known as ‘Timmy’ by its crews, has formed the backbone of long range air transport and air-to-air refuelling, participating in nearly every British conflict since it was brought into service.

The fleet of 9 aircraft were acquired as a direct result of the Falklands conflict and the need to provide support to forces in the South Atlantic and to bolster the air-to-air refuelling fleet.

In more recent times TriStars have provided air-to-air refuelling for fast jet aircraft operating over Afghanistan and Libya, and provided a vital airbridge, transporting troops and cargo to Iraq and Afghanistan.

An RAF Typhoon is refuelled by a TriStar over the North Sea
An RAF Typhoon is refuelled by a TriStar over the North Sea [Picture: Squadron Leader Dylan Eklund, Crown copyright]

Over a period of 8 years, 216 Squadron has flown to Afghanistan 1,642 times, carrying 250,000 passengers each way and travelling a total distance equivalent to flying around the world 640 times.

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

TriStar has served the RAF for 30 years and today is an opportunity to celebrate its long and distinguished career.

Providing vital support, TriStar has carried over 250,000 troops as well as battle-winning supplies to our personnel wherever they are in the world. It also carried out vital air-to-air refuelling of our front line combat aircraft at home and on deployed operations.

Its replacement, Voyager, is testament to our commitment to provide state-of-the-art transport and refuelling capability for our armed forces. Capable of carrying more, for longer, it has already begun flights to Afghanistan and will also refuel our front line combat aircraft for decades to come.

The Royal Air Force's new Voyager aircraft
The Royal Air Force's new Voyager aircraft [Picture: Steve Lympany, Crown copyright]

Speaking on the last operational mission of the TriStar, Officer Commanding 216 Squadron, Wing Commander Peter Morgan, said:

For us this is a very sad occasion. We’ve been very proud of the TriStar over the past 30 years where it’s been involved in nearly every operation in both the air transport and air-to-air refuelling roles.

Pretty much everyone in the military has been in a TriStar and after 30 years all the aircraft are still in service; it has an impeccable safety record and is working to the very end of its career.

The TriStar’s duties have been taken over by the Voyager which now provides state-of-the-art air-to-air refuelling in support of the Quick Reaction Force that protects UK and Falkland Islands air space 365-days-a-year.

The remaining 4 TriStar aircraft will leave RAF Brize Norton for the final time today, 25 March, to travel to Bruntingthorpe Airfield in Leicestershire for disposal.

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26 mars 2014 3 26 /03 /mars /2014 13:20
MBDA conducts Brimstone live fire trials from MQ-9 Reaper

A Dual Mode Brimstone missile intercepting a 70mph target. Photo Big Safari 2014.

 

26 March 2014 airforce-technology.com

 

MBDA has successfully conducted live-firing of its Dual Mode Brimstone air-to-surface missile from the MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) at the US Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California, US.

 

The trials were undertaken on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defence by the Royal Air Force's Air Warfare Centre Unmanned Air Systems Test and Evaluation Squadron, Defence Equipment & Support Weapons Operating Centre, US Air Force's BIG SAFARI Organisation, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and MBDA.

 

During the trials, the Dual Mode BRIMSTONE missile scored nine direct hits against a range of targets, including very high speed and manoeuvring vehicles during the trials.

 

Engagements were conducted against static, accelerating, weaving, fast and very fast vehicle targets, of which two more challenging scenarios were against trucks travelling at 70mph in a crossing target scenario.

 

The trials met all of the RAF's primary and secondary objectives, demonstrating the integration functionality implemented, safe carriage, safe release, system targeting and end game performance, while gathering data to support optimisation and clearance activities.

 

The testing started with captive carry of avionics and environmental data gathering missiles, followed by a series of live operational missile and inert telemetry missile firings, from realistic 'middle of the envelope' profiles, typically 20,000ft release altitude and 7km-12km plan range.

 

The tracking and designation of targets were conducted in a mixture of auto-track and manual-track modes, the latter in some situations to demonstrate how the integrated semi-active laser (SAL) and active MMW radar seeker worked in tandem, even while tracking and designating targets manually over SATCOM.

 

The testing, along with ongoing and contracted RAF trials against maritime fast inshore attack craft, further broadens the missile's ability to deliver a true multi-role and multi-platform land/maritime attack capability for fast jets, RPA, multi-mission and maritime patrol aircraft, rotary wing platforms and surface platforms.

 

Brimstone already demonstrated its ability to engage high off-boresight, targets travelling at up to 70mph, while operating from Tornado GR4 aircarft in October 2013.

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25 mars 2014 2 25 /03 /mars /2014 17:50
Remotely piloted aircraft report

An RAF Reaper remotely piloted air system over Afghanistan (library image) [Picture: Petty Officer Airman (Photographer) Tam McDonald, UK MoD]

 

25 March 2014 Ministry of Defence and Defence Equipment and Support

 

A Defence Select Committee report published today says remotely piloted aircraft are an important military capability for the future.


 

The rapid development of remotely piloted air systems by the UK armed forces over the past decade has contributed greatly to the effectiveness of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, says the report.

And that the provision of enhanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance that these air systems provide to troops on the ground has undoubtedly saved lives and prevented casualties.

The report also sets out that the ‘increasingly contentious debate’ in the UK in recent years surrounding remotely piloted air systems, commonly called ‘drones’, was mainly due to a lack of information or misunderstanding about their use.

 

Armed Forces Minister Mark Francois said:

With so much argument surrounding the UK’s use of remotely piloted air systems, it is very welcome to see the independent [House of] Commons Defence Committee recognise publicly their value and effectiveness, and that operations comply fully with international law.

I am particularly pleased to note the committee’s recognition of the highly skilled personnel who operate this equipment, supporting and protecting our ground troops, our allies and Afghan civilians on a daily basis.

I hope this very positive report helps to dispel some of the frustrating myths often propagated, and reassure people that remotely piloted air systems bring life-saving benefit to our armed forces, and to those we are working to protect, every day.

A pilot from 13 Squadron remotely controls a Reaper aircraft
A pilot from 13 Squadron remotely controls a Reaper aircraft from RAF Waddington (library image) [Picture: Crown copyright]

The committee visited the personnel of 13 Squadron, based at RAF Waddington, responsible for operating the RAF’s Reaper aircraft. They found that personnel were keen for the public to understand better what it is they do and to dispel myths that have grown up about Reaper operations in particular.

Chairman of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, James Arbuthnot, said:

It is very clear that UK aircrews are experienced professional personnel with a clear purpose and keen understanding of the rules of engagement which govern their operations.

These are no video-gaming ‘warrior geeks’ as some would portray them. Despite being remote from the battlespace they exhibit a strong sense of connection to the life and death decisions they are sometimes required to take.

The committee was satisfied that a robust system is in place to review every time one of the UK’s remotely piloted aircraft discharges their weapons. However, the report recognised the desire of some organisations and the public to see a further of disclosure of information from the Ministry of Defence.

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22 mars 2014 6 22 /03 /mars /2014 12:50
Airbus A330MRTT : l’incident du Voyager britannique sans doute lié à une action involontaire du CDB

 

20.03.2014 Romain Guillot journal-aviation.com

 

Le bureau d’enquêtes sur les accidents défense britannique (MAA - Military Aviation Authority) a publié un rapport factuel sur l’incident survenu en croisière sur l’un des Airbus A330 MRTT de la Royal Air Force le 9 février dernier alors qu’il survolait l’espace aérien turque en direction de l’Afghanistan.

 

La perte de contrôle momentanée de l’appareil, qui avait chuté de 4400 pieds en 27 secondes, avec un vario négatif atteignant les 15000 pieds/minute, avait contraint les autorités britanniques à clouer l’intégralité de la flotte de Voyager (6 appareils) durant une dizaine de jours.

 

Selon le rapport de la MAA, les enregistrements du FDR n’ont pas montré de défaillance système pouvant entrainer une tendance à faire piquer l’appareil.

 

Par ailleurs, le Commandant de Bord, seul dans le poste au moment de l’incident, aurait involontairement et indirectement manœuvré son side-stick vers l’avant en avançant son siège, le déplacement de l’accoudoir gauche poussant un appareil photo qui lui même est entré en contact avec la commande de vol.

 

L’intégralité du rapport intermédiaire est consultable en cliquant sur ce lien.
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21 mars 2014 5 21 /03 /mars /2014 17:50
Workshop trilatéral

 

 

21/03/2014 Armée de l'air

 

Une nouvelle rencontre trilatérale réunissant des représentants des armées de l'air américaine, française et britannique s'est déroulée du 10 au 13 mars 2014, à Londres.

 

Le thème de cette cinquième édition, qui a réuni une trentaine d'officiers supérieurs, était celui de la préparation opérationnelle. Cet exercice, qualifié de Workshop, est le fruit d'une initiative stratégique trilatérale initiée en 2010 par les chefs d'état-major de la Royal Air Force, de l'US Air Force et de l'armée de l'air française (RAF-USAF-FAF).

 

Ce partenariat de haut niveau part du principe que les trois forces aériennes sont susceptibles d'intervenir ensemble, sous faible préavis, dans une crise future. Dans la perspective d'un tel scenario, une coopération soutenue entre les trois capitales doit permettre de renforcer la capacité à mettre en œuvre une réponse opérationnelle commune et en totale synergie.

 

Durant ces trois jours, les officiers ont partagé les difficultés rencontrées au niveau national dans l'entraînement de leurs unités et les solutions mises en œuvre pour faire face aux enjeux logistiques, technologiques, budgétaires, interarmées et interalliés. Une équipe tri-nationale était chargée d'animer les discussions et de proposer des voies d'optimisation en matière d'exercices communs dans le futur.

 

La délégation française était conduite par le général Philippe Montocchio, chef d'état-major du centre national des opérations aériennes de Lyon Mont-Verdun.

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3 mars 2014 1 03 /03 /mars /2014 08:50
A400M Release to Service

 

March 2, 2014 by Think Defence

 

The A400M is approaching its release to service date for the RAF, a few years away but things are slotting into place.


 

The MoD have recently advertised a contract opportunity for the;

Provision of Release to Service (RTS) A400M- Delta Capability

All A400M’s start off at a common base standard and then nation specific modifications and additions are applied. The word Delta is significant in this context, the difference between the two.

Provision of Aircraft Test, Evaluation and Acceptance services for the A400M Atlas Project Team to develop certification, qualification and Release to Service of the UK capability requirement additional to the A400M common standard aircraft.

The requirement is for the production of the additional evidence to expand the contents of the A400M Release to Service (RTS) and update associated documentation to cover UK specific operation of the aircraft, cargo and loads.
Examples of Sub tasks potentially required as part of the service include but are not limited to:

Application of an appropriate Test and Evaluation Process;

Collation of theoretical, analytical and trials evidence in a format suitable for submission to the RTS Authority;

Definition of test packages that will best exploit limited aircraft availability;

Production of Ground and/or Flight Test Proposals;

Production of Ground and/or Flight Trials Instructions;

Analysis of associated risks and production of Safety Assessment Reports to support Ground and/or Flight Trials;

Conduct of Ground and/or Flight Trials;

Reporting of Ground and/or Flight Trials;

Provision of information in a suitable format to update the Aircrew Manual, Flight Reference Cards and Operational Data Manual;

Production of structured arguments based on review and analysis of existing information to justify submissions to the RTS, Safety Case and other documentation.

The estimated cost for this is £30m to £50m

Let me say that again, £30m to £50m

This is for a factory fresh aircraft, an aircraft in which the UK is a development partner and this activity will be repeated by the other customers no doubt.

I never cease to be amazed at the cost of this type of activity and in this case, the obvious fact that the MoD cannot perform the task itself.

There has been talk of harmonising military aircraft release to service procedures across Europe but nothing  seems to have much happened.

The UK seems to be pricing itself out of generating military capability.

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20 février 2014 4 20 /02 /février /2014 11:50
 A400M Atlas – A 'Spotters' Guide

by Royal Air Force

 

The next generation of Tactical Air Transport capability for the RAF is the Airbus A400M 'Atlas'.

 

The A400M Atlas isn’t a C-17 and (although the visuals are closer) nor is it C-130 - but then it isn’t supposed to be! Atlas is designed and scheduled to replace the C-130J in the tactical air transport and special forces’ support roles and to complement Voyager and C-17 in providing air mobility to the Future Forces.

 

With the future forces likely to be reliant on bulky, heavy protected mobility vehicles and humanitarian operations looking to deliver relief more quickly to more remote or desolate regions, the Atlas requirement was: ‘to deliver what youcan’t get into a Hercules into landing zones that a C-17 can’t get into’.

 

Delving into a little technical detail, this article is a gallop through some of key design areas that are needed to meet the challenge

 

The Business End. As with all air mobility aircraft, one of the most important features of A400M Atlas is the cargo bay. The A400M is capable of carrying up to 37 tonnes of payload with the cargo hold dimensions optimised for carriage of heavy vehicles, helicopters or cargo pallets along the central cargo area and troops seated at either side. For combat operations, Atlas can carry protected vehicles with side armour and top-mounted guns fitted allowing a deploying force to arrive ready to fight. In the humanitarian role, it can deploy a mobile crane or an excavator and large dump truck for clearing earthquake sites.

A400M Atlas Cargo Bay

 

 

Treading Softly. Each Atlas main landing gear unit consists of three independent struts with twin wheel and brake assemblies and is designed to operate in rugged terrain and to evenly distribute ground loads into the fuselage structure. Braking is provided through 12 multi-disc carbon brakes units which are at the heart of the aircraft’s impressive short-field performance.

A400M Atlas Undercarriage

 

A Level Playing Field? Atlas will often find itself operating from austere or unprepared surfaces and with rudimentary loading vehicles. In these circumstances, the air loadmaster, can manipulate the landing gear to make the aircraft ‘kneel’ and ‘roll’ in order to make load transfers easier and faster. Symmetrical kneeling of the main landing gear legs is used to adjust the height and longitudinal inclination of the cargo hold floor. Asymmetrical rolling can be used to compensate for differences in shock absorber compression, or when the aircraftis parked on uneven ground.

 

On British Wings. The wings for all 174 Atlas aircraft will be made in Filton near Bristol and benefit from the UK’s position as a global leader in wing design and technology. Advanced 3D computational fluid dynamics has been used to optimise the wing shape, resulting in a low drag design which permits a high cruise speed of Mach 0.72, without compromising low speed performance and handling. But it is not just the shape of the wing which is ‘special’. The wing forms part of about 30% of the Atlas structure which is made of composite materials. This includes the wings’ 19m (62ft) skin panels which are the largest ever produced and, for the first time in history, a main spar which is made from composites. The extensive use of composite material enables Atlas to be much lighter and enhances the aircraft’s performance both in terms of range and payload.

 

The Driving Force. One of the key elements of the Atlas’s versatility is its all-new, specifically designed three-shaft turboprop engine with iconic scimitar-shaped, eight-bladed propellers. At 11,000 shp, the ‘TP400’ is the most powerful turboprop in production. It allows a wide range of speeds and flight levels and offers extremely efficient fuel consumption. Four of these turboprops allow Atlas to operate at altitudes as high as 37,000 ft at speeds up to Mach 0.72. At the other end of the ‘envelope’, the A400M can safely operate at 110 kt at low level to drop equipment and supplies.

A400M Atlas Powertrain

 

Down Between the Engines? One of the most notable differences between Atlas and other turboprop aircraft is that the two propellers on each wing turn in opposite directions (towards each other). This ‘Down Between the Engines’ counter-rotation produces a more symmetrical airflow over the wing, which improves lift, aircraft handling and stability. As well as allowing a reduction in the structural weight of the wing, the arrangement reduces the adverse yaw in case of an engine failure and gives a 4% increase in the lift at low speed and reduces the level of vibrations and therefore the noise inside the aircraft.

Down between the engines

 

 

A Fully-Loaded Flight Deck! The Atlas cockpit comes fully loaded with pilot’s ‘toys’. It features Head-up-Dispays(HUD) which provide the pilots with all primary flight information together with eight large interchangeable LCD head-down displays. There is also an Enhanced Vision System (EVS) based on Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR) technology which, in low visibility conditions can project an image of the environment in front of the aircraft onto the HUD.

A400M Atlas Flight Deck

 

RP Defense note : thank you to Think Defence for the information !!

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14 février 2014 5 14 /02 /février /2014 08:50
L’opération Jéricho*

 

11/02/2014 Bernard Edinger - Armée de Terre

 

 Le 18 février 1944, la Royal Air Force britannique attaque la prison d’Amiens, dans une action combinée avec le réseau de renseignements et d’action « Sosies » de la France combattante, pour libérer des résistants.  Le réseau Sosies a été créé par les frères Ponchardier, Pierre, pilote de l’aéronavale, et Dominique, étudiant en mathématiques. Sérieusement blessé comme caporal en 1940, Dominique terminera la guerre lieutenant-colonel, à titre temporaire.

 

Début 1944, Sosies a subi de lourdes pertes en Picardie avec des agents fusillés et d’autres capturés, promis au poteau d’exécution. Dominique Ponchardier demande l’aide de la RAF. Les Britanniques acceptent d’autant plus volontiers, que l’action cadre avec l’opération « Fortitude », visant à  faire croire que le Débarquement allié se fera en baie de Somme.

Une vingtaine de résistants et trois camions attendent près de la prison quand, à midi le 18 février, dix-neuf bombardiers Mosquito pilotés par des Britanniques, des Australiens et des Néo-Zélandais, frappent les murs de la prison, ouvrant plusieurs brèches. Dans l’enceinte, il y a environ 500 prisonniers de droit commun et plus de 200 résistants. 

Trente-sept Allemands et deux miliciens collaborationnistes sont tués, mais également 102 prisonniers français. Environ 260 autres s’évadent ; parmi eux 79 résistants.

Côté anglais, le lieutenant-colonel Charles Pickard, patron de l’opération aérienne et son navigateur, le capitaine John Broadley sont tués, ainsi que deux autres aviateurs.

Photos : Ordre de la Libération et Philippe Pauchet in La résistance dans la Somme, AERI, à paraître.

*Ce nom, donné postérieurement à l’opération, fait référence à l’épisode biblique où le peuple d’Israël fit sonner les trompettes devant Jéricho, provoquant la chute des murs de la ville.

 

Voir le film

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31 janvier 2014 5 31 /01 /janvier /2014 13:20
RAF Typhoons participate in Exercise Red Flag 2014

A Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon at Nellis AFB in 2013. Photo Jamie Hunter.

 

31 January 2014 airforce-technology.com

 

The UK Royal Air Force's (RAF) Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 fighter aircraft are participating in air-to-air combat training exercise, code-named Red Flag 14-1, currently underway at Nellis Air Force Base (AFB) in Nevada, US.

 

Involving participation from the US and allied nations' combat air forces, the three-week exercise offers valuable training to pilots in planning and executing a wide variety of combat missions.

 

The UK also deployed Tornado GR-4 fighters and an E-3D Sentry airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft for the exercise, which is also joined by approximately 150 aircraft from the US, Australian, Belgian, Danish and the Royal Saudi Air Forces.

 

Operating in the swing role, Typhoon FGR4s are conducting both air-to-air and air-ground profiles in single sorties, while the Tornado GR4s are performing low-level strike role.

 

Eurofighter chief executive officer Alberto Gutierrez said, ''We wish the RAF great success with the exercise and we look forward to actively supporting them as we continue to work together to further grow the capabilities of what is already recognised to be a highly agile, potent and reliable aircraft.''

"The three-week exercise offers valuable training to pilots in planning and executing a wide variety of combat missions."

 

Other participating aircraft include US F-15, F-16, B-52H, E-3C, HH-60, EA-18G, Australian F-18s and E-7, Belgian F-16AM and C-130, Danish F-16AM and Saudi's F-15Ss.

 

Held four times annually, Red Flag is a US Pacific Air Forces Command (PACAF)-led large force employment exercise designed to train pilots and other flight crew members from the US, Nato and other allied countries for real air combat situations.

 

Divided into two teams, namely Blue Forces and Red Forces, the participants perform counter air, precision strike and offensive air support in packages of up to 100 aircraft during each exercise.

 

Red Flag 14-1 is scheduled to conclude on 15 February 2014.

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16 janvier 2014 4 16 /01 /janvier /2014 17:35
Air chief praises progress during first Afghanistan visit

Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan [Picture: Corporal Ross Fernie RLC, Crown copyright]

 

16 January 2014 Ministry of Defence

 

Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford spent 2 days meeting personnel at Camp Bastion and Kandahar Airfield.

 

 

The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), the head of the Royal Air Force, praised the armed forces during his visit which included meeting the Tornado detachment at 904 Expeditionary Air Wing in Kandahar, currently manned by the ‘Dambusters’, No 617 Squadron.

He also visited Task Force Helmand at Camp Bastion, the unit responsible for the UK’s combat operations across Helmand province, as well as 903 Expeditionary Air Wing, which runs the camp’s busy airfield.

During his visit he spoke about the UK’s mission in 2014:

This year will be another year of hard work, another year of commitment, another year of being in harm’s way; we will need to maintain our focus and effort right through to the end of combat operations.

I continue to be hugely impressed by the contribution being made by all elements of the Royal Air Force to Op Herrick, from the RAF Regiment providing vital force protection on the ground in Helmand to the Reaper and C-130 crews providing support to the ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces) and ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) across the whole of Afghanistan.

CAS was able to see the Royal Air Force’s new Voyager transport aircraft, which has now started flying routinely into Afghanistan to support the airbridge to and from the UK.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford greets a soldier at Camp Bastion
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford, meeting soldiers and airmen at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan [Picture: Corporal Ross Fernie RLC, Crown copyright]

Voyager is a state-of-the-art passenger aircraft and air-to-air refueller with the reliability and capacity of a modern airliner.

During his visit to the Tornado detachment at 904 Expeditionary Air Wing in Kandahar, CAS met Royal Air Force personnel of all ranks.

He said:

The Tornado is the mainstay of the Royal Air Force’s air combat force and has been a fundamental part of air operations across Afghanistan. It has provided close air support to both ANSF and ISAF alike since its first deployment to Afghanistan.

CAS also visited the Joint Aviation Group at Bastion, where pilots from all 3 services fly the UK’s helicopters on operations in Afghanistan.

He said:

The Royal Navy’s Commando Helicopter Force, the Apaches and Lynx of the Army Air Corps, and of course the Royal Air Force’s Chinook and Merlin forces have committed themselves fully over many years in Afghanistan.

The Rotary Wing Force and the medical emergency response teams have day-in day-out provided life-saving care which has directly saved many hundreds of Afghan and ISAF lives.

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16 janvier 2014 4 16 /01 /janvier /2014 13:50
Armed Forces Minister views UK unmanned aerial systems

Mark Francois speaks to Royal Navy Commander Bow Wheaton about his experience of the Scan Eagle unmanned aerial system

 

15 January 2014 Ministry of Defence

 

Mark Francois toured RAF Waddington today to view the full scope of the UK's unmanned aerial systems capability.

 

Mr Francois spoke to operators of Navy, Army and RAF unmanned aerial systems (UAS), including Scan Eagle, Desert Hawk and Reaper.

He also viewed the inside of a Reaper control cabin and was shown how a highly-trained and highly-qualified team control the aircraft, with pilots, sensor operators and analysts all working together to make decisions in real-time.

Mr Francois’ visit was part of a wider drive by MOD to dispel some of the myths around the use of unmanned aerial systems, demonstrate the vital role they play in supporting personnel on operations in Afghanistan, and confirm the utility of such systems for the future.

Mr Francois said:

Our remotely-piloted systems provide life-saving intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance on operations as well as giving us the ability to strike precisely at those who pose a risk to our personnel and the people they are trying to protect.

I was delighted to meet with and listen to the talented personnel who operate this capability. They deserve great credit for the work they do in saving the lives of our ground troops, our Afghan and international colleagues, and Afghan civilians.

Mark Francois takes a close look at the Black Hornet nano unmanned aerial system
Armed Forces Minister Mark Francois takes a close look at the Black Hornet nano unmanned aerial system [Pictures: Corporal Bibby RAF, Crown copyright]

Ground troops who have served in Afghanistan were also present at RAF Waddington to describe how UAS assets had provided them with life-saving support at vital times.

Air Vice-Marshal Philip Osborn, Joint Forces Command Capability Director, said:

The UK’s unmanned aerial systems provide UK and allied forces with persistent surveillance of enemy positions without putting their lives at unnecessary risk. In today’s operational environment they are still used predominantly in surveillance and reconnaissance roles.

When precision strike capability is required by ground commanders, this is always in accordance with international humanitarian law and governed by the same strict rules of engagement as those governing manned aircraft.

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7 janvier 2014 2 07 /01 /janvier /2014 08:50
Air Vice-Marshal Sue Gray [Picture: Andrew Linnett, Crown copyright]

Air Vice-Marshal Sue Gray [Picture: Andrew Linnett, Crown copyright]

 

30 December 2013 Ministry of Defence and Defence Equipment and Support

 

Sue Gray has become the second female Air Vice-Marshal in the Royal Air Force this year.

 

She has been promoted to the 2-star officer rank and appointed Director of Combat Air at Defence Equipment and Support. Having twice served her country on the front line she will now be responsible for the procurement and maintenance of all combat aircraft, training aircraft and remotely-piloted air systems for the armed forces.

Air Vice-Marshal Gray joined the RAF in 1985 and was commissioned into the engineer branch. During her career she has deployed to Iraq twice, during the First Gulf War in 1991, and again on Operation Telic in 2003 when she was Chief Engineer for the Joint Helicopter Force.

She is the second woman in the RAF to be promoted to Air Vice-Marshal after Elaine West was appointed Director of Projects and Programme Delivery at the Defence Infrastructure Organisation in August.

Air Vice-Marshal Gray said:

It is an immense privilege to have served my country for the last 28 years in the RAF and I am delighted to continue to do this in my new role as Director of Combat Air.

I look forward to the challenges of ensuring the UK stays at the cutting-edge of combat air power, delivering world class fast jet, training aircraft and remotely-piloted air systems to our armed forces.

Defence Minister Anna Soubry said:

I am delighted that the armed forces continue to demonstrate there are no glass ceilings for female personnel and that they recognise and promote the best people, irrespective of gender.

The vast majority of roles in the armed forces are open to women and I hope they draw strength from these appointments and take full advantage of the opportunities available to them.

Head of RAF Personnel, Air Marshal Baz North, said:

Sue Gray’s promotion to the rank of Air Vice-Marshal is thoroughly well-deserved; I wish her every success in her challenging role within Defence Equipment and Support.

Her promotion, along with that of her colleague, Air Vice-Marshal Elaine West, announced earlier this year, is a tangible demonstration that the RAF provides rewarding careers for our diverse population of professional military personnel and that we realise the potential in our best and brightest people.

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20 décembre 2013 5 20 /12 /décembre /2013 13:45
RAF evacuates Britons from South Sudan

A Royal Air Force C-17 Globemaster aircraft at RAF Brize Norton (library image) [Picture: Senior Aircraftman Neil Chapman, Crown copyright]

 

19 December 2013 Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Ministry of Defence

 

RAF aircrew made a daring precision landing at an airfield in South Sudan to rescue British citizens fleeing turmoil in the African state.

The pilot of a giant C-17 Globemaster aircraft safely touched down earlier today (Thursday) despite a crashed civilian airliner obstructing the runway.

At just after 3am the 266 tonne transport took off from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) who are co-ordinating the evacuation of UK nationals and others.

However, after a 9-hour flight, covering nearly 3,500 miles, the aircrew faced an unexpected challenge when approaching the airport at the South Sudanese capital Juba.

Earlier, a civilian 737 airliner had slewed to a halt 2 thirds of the way down the runway after its nose wheel collapsed.

The crashed aircraft was in the process of being made safe by airport emergency services as the RAF C-17 made its approach.

A Royal Air Force C-17 Globemaster aircraft
A Royal Air Force C-17 Globemaster aircraft photographed during an international operation (library image) [Picture: Corporal Mark Webster, Crown copyright]

Officer Commanding 99 Squadron, Wing Commander Stuart Lindsell, said:

We practice short landings in training but getting down on a runway with a crashed aircraft taking up a large part of it would really concentrate the mind and is way outside what we would normally expect.

I think it’s fair to say that this C17 captain and his crew have had 1 of the toughest days anyone on this squadron has had since we were stood up 12 years ago.

It’s not just the aircrew but the RAF Regiment who provided protection on the ground, the movers who helped get the passengers on board, the medics and the engineers, all of them have all performed brilliantly and I’m extremely proud of them.

Wing Commander Lindsell, himself a C 17 pilot, said 99 Squadron were used to being on high alert but that the South Sudan mission had come at very short notice with the aircraft successfully completing its first flight within 24 hours of the order being issued.

A Royal Air Force C-17 Globemaster aircraft
A Royal Air Force C-17 Globemaster aircraft photographed at Evreux Airbase near Paris, France, before embarking French equipment and troops to deploy to Mali, Africa, earlier this year [Picture: Senior Aircraftman Dek Traylor, Crown copyright]

On board the RAF aircraft were medics, force protection and air movements personnel, and FCO officials whose job was to assist people wanting to leave the country.

The C-17 is designed to carry out high angle, steep approaches at relatively slow speeds, which allows it to operate into small airfields in austere conditions with short, narrow runways.

These capabilities, and its long range, make it ideal for humanitarian missions which it has proved in the past year delivering aid to Typhoon victims in the Philippines and transporting military equipment to Mali and the Central African Republic.

The aircraft picked up 182 passengers including Britons, Commonwealth and EU citizens, who were quickly loaded before the short onward flight to Entebbe in Uganda.

The RAF’s Chief of Staff for Operations, Air Vice-Marshal Sean Reynolds, said:

This again demonstrates the Royal Air Force’s ability to react swiftly and effectively to protect and assist British people worldwide.

Throughout 2013, wherever there has been an issue demanding a UK response, there has been an RAF aircraft.

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17 décembre 2013 2 17 /12 /décembre /2013 21:50
New Typhoon squadron announced

An RAF Typhoon jet accelerates and climbs rapidly during a training sortie (library image) [Picture: Senior Aircraftman Andrew Seaward, Crown copyright]

 

13 December 2013 Ministry of Defence

 

One of the oldest squadrons in the Royal Air Force is to be re-equipped with the latest Typhoon jets.


 

The move is part of a transformation of the RAF’s combat air capability which will see battle-proven Tornado GR4 aircraft replaced by advanced Typhoon and F-35B Lightning II fighters.

Number 2 (Army Co-operation) Squadron, based at RAF Marham, celebrated 100 years of service in 2012 and its personnel are currently training for their next tour of duty early next year flying Tornado jets in Afghanistan.

After that, the unit will begin the process of swapping its Tornados for Eurofighter Typhoons and transfer to its new base at RAF Lossiemouth.

The move was announced by the Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Mark Francois, who said the change was part of the planned realignment of the RAF’s long-serving Tornado Force, under which all GR4s will leave the service by 2019.

Tornado during operations in southern Afghanistan
An RAF Number 2 (Army Co-operation) Squadron Tornado during operations in southern Afghanistan (library image) [Picture: Corporal Neil Bryden RAF, Crown copyright]

Mr Francois said:

Number 2 (AC) Squadron has the distinction of being one of the oldest fixed-wing flying squadrons in the world, having formed in 1912.

Since being equipped with Tornado aircraft in 1989 it has served with distinction on operations in Libya, the Balkans and Iraq and will complete its final tour of duty in Afghanistan in early 2014.

I can announce that it will formally disband as a Tornado squadron on 31 March 2015 and will re-equip to form a new front line Typhoon squadron based at RAF Lossiemouth the next day on 1 April 2015.

I am sure that Number 2 (AC) Squadron’s valuable contribution to operations throughout its long and distinguished history will continue as it helps maintain the strong traditions of RAF Lossiemouth as a main operating base for the RAF into the future.

The newly-reformed Number 2 (AC) Squadron will be the fifth front line RAF Typhoon squadron.

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13 décembre 2013 5 13 /12 /décembre /2013 08:45
RAF flies second wave of vehicles to French peacekeepers

A member of the RAF Police and a French serviceman stand guard whilst the C-17 is unloaded at Bangui Airport [Picture: Corporal Neil Bryden RAF, Crown copyright]

 

12 December 2013 Ministry of Defence and Foreign & Commonwealth Office

 

The RAF has delivered more French armoured vehicles to the Central African Republic in support of France's peacekeeping operation.

 

The troop-carrying vehicles were loaded into the hold of a C-17 transport aircraft yesterday morning at an air base near Marseilles.

The unique abilities of the C-17 Globemaster, flown by 99 Squadron out of RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, make it the ideal aircraft for this type of strategic airlift.

Five armoured vehicles have already been delivered by the RAF to the French, who entered the Central African Republic following a UN resolution.

They are there to support an African Union peacekeeping force which will be transported into the country from neighbouring Burundi by the US Air Force.

RAF flies second wave of vehicles to French peacekeepers
RAF movements staff and French troops unload military equipment from the C-17 on its arrival at Bangui Airport in the Central African Republic [Picture: Corporal Neil Bryden RAF, Crown copyright]

The captain of the C-17, Squadron Leader David Blakemore, said:

It’s great to work so closely with the French, especially on such an important peacekeeping mission as this.

The RAF’s contribution to the French peacekeeping effort is part of the Lancaster House security co-operation treaty signed by Britain and France in 2010.

This resulted in the RAF providing assistance during France’s campaign earlier this year against Islamic rebels in Mali.

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12 décembre 2013 4 12 /12 /décembre /2013 17:45
Des C-17 américains en renfort en RCA

 

12.12.2013 Helen Chachaty - journal-aviation.com

 

Deux C-17 Globemaster III de l’US Air Force ainsi qu’une équipe réduite de commandement et de soutien sont actuellement déployés en Afrique pour soutenir l’armée française dans le cadre de l’opération Sangaris en Centrafrique.

 

Les deux avions de transport ont décollé ce jeudi d’Ouganda pour le Burundi, afin de transporter un bataillon d’infanterie légère burundais vers Bangui. Le Département américain de la Défense ajoute qu’une équipe logistique est présente au Burundi pour préparer les chargements de matériels, tandis qu’une autre se trouve à Bangui pour assurer un soutien sur place.

 

La France, par le biais du ministre de la Défense Jean-Yves Le Drian, a demandé aux États-Unis un soutien logistique aérien afin de pouvoir transporter des troupes africaines en RCA, dans le but de pouvoir les déployer afin de contenir les débordements et la violence sur place, selon un porte-parole du Pentagone.

 

Le ministère britannique de la Défense a en outre annoncé ce 12 décembre que le C-17 déployé par la Royal Air Force avait effectué sa seconde rotation, afin de livrer des véhicules blindés aux forces françaises stationnées à Bangui.

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9 décembre 2013 1 09 /12 /décembre /2013 12:45
Sangaris: un C17 britannique contribue au renforcement logistique

9 déc. 2013  FORCESFRANCAISES

 

Embarquement à Istres de matériels à destination de l'aéroport de M'Poko, en Centrafrique. Le 6 décembre, ce C17 britannique a acheminé principalement des véhicules blindés dans le cadre du renforcement logistique.

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9 décembre 2013 1 09 /12 /décembre /2013 11:45
UK support to international response in Central African Republic

 

6 December 2013 Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Ministry of Defence

 

Foreign Secretary announces UK air transport assistance to France for Central African Republic.

 

On 5th December, with strong UK support, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2127 authorising the deployment of the African-led International Support Mission to CAR (MISCA), and the deployment of French forces to give assistance. The Mission will contribute to the protection of civilians, the restoration of public order, and the stabilisation of CAR at a critical moment.

 

Foreign Secretary William Hague said:

 

    The UN Security Council made an important decision yesterday to authorise African Union and French troops to respond to the security and humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic.

 

    We are determined to play our part in helping to address the violence. We have therefore agreed with the Government of France that we will help move French equipment to CAR by means of a UK C-17 transport aircraft. Three separate flights will take place this month, with the first one due to land in CAR shortly.

 

    This comes on top of £10 million in UK aid announced on 30 November. Having already contributed £5 million in July, the United Kingdom is now one of the largest donors of humanitarian assistance to the people of CAR. We will continue to work alongside the International Red Cross and UN agencies to help thousands of people gain access to food, water, shelter, sanitation and healthcare to alleviate the desperate humanitarian suffering.

 

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7 décembre 2013 6 07 /12 /décembre /2013 12:50
Independent report praises [UK] MOD reform

 

5 December 2013 Ministry of Defence

 

Significant progress has been made to transform MOD into a more professional and responsible organisation, an independent report has said.

In a follow-up to his major independent review of MOD 2 years ago, Lord Levene has praised the department for embracing complex and radical change to improve both efficiency and financial management.

Lord Levene’s 2011 Defence Reform report made 53 recommendations on how to transform MOD into a leaner and more effective organisation that could better support the needs of the Armed Forces.

Since then, he has monitored the changes that have been made and, in his second stocktake, has praised the successful reforms that have taken place right across the department.

Lord Levene describes the elimination of the £38 billion budget deficit as a remarkable achievement and says there is now clear evidence that MOD is more business-like and finance-focused.

His report welcomes the imaginative ways in which the department has increased accountability and reduced bureaucracy by delegating responsibility to the heads of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.

The report acknowledges that better leadership, direction and prioritisation have led to a more strategic approach in MOD.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:

We have rightly focused our efforts on reshaping our Armed Forces to meet future threats and delivering better value for money for taxpayers. Lord Levene’s report is a welcome endorsement of the progress we have made in reforming Defence.

We are streamlining MOD, with a reduction of 33,000 civilian posts in total, to make it leaner and more strategic, better able to support the Armed Forces of the future.

Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nicholas Houghton, said:

Defence Reform has required some innovative changes to the structure and management of Defence. But the results of these changes will lead to a more agile force structure with capabilities better suited to the security challenges of the age.

The advent of Joint Forces Command and the greater delegation of authority to the 3 single services is fundamental to this change.

Jonathan Slater, Director General Transformation, said:

I am encouraged that Lord Levene recognises a real change of mindset within the department. We remain committed to continuing with this programme of reform to achieve real and sustained behavioural change.

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6 décembre 2013 5 06 /12 /décembre /2013 12:50
Royal Eagles

 

 

12/4/2013 Strategy Page

 

Two F-15C Eagles, deployed from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, perform a mock aerial interception on a KC-135 Stratotanker, deployed from RAF Mildenhall, England, while flying over Iceland Nov. 21, 2013. The 48th Air Expeditionary Group has been maintaining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization air surveillance and policing mission in Iceland since Oct. 28, 2013

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6 décembre 2013 5 06 /12 /décembre /2013 12:50
E-3D Sentry de la RAF ravitaillé en vol par un VC10 photo RAF

E-3D Sentry de la RAF ravitaillé en vol par un VC10 photo RAF

 

5 décembre 2013 par Pierre Sparaco – Aerobuzz.fr

 

Les deux derniers VC10 encore en état de vol viennent d’être retirés du service par la Royal Air Force. Le quadriréacteur anglais a enchainé deux carrières, la première civile sous les couleurs de BOAC, la seconde beaucoup plus longue sous les cocardes de la RAF. Le VC10 a permis aux Européens de conserver une présence symbolique dans le secteur prestigieux du long-courrier tout au long des années soixante, en attendant la création d’Airbus Industrie en 1970.

 

Les deux derniers VC10 ravitailleurs en vol ont été déclassés et définitivement mis au sol par la Royal Air Force. Conçu par Armstrong-Whitworth et né Vickers (de lointains prédécesseurs de la British Aircraft Corporation et de BAE Systems), le VC10 avait été retenu dès mai 1957 par la BOAC, British Overseas Airways Corporation, plus tard englobée dans British Airways.

Ensuite, la Royal Air Force l’a utilisé comme transporteur de troupes puis ravitailleur en vol, avant de le mettre à la retraite ces jours-ci. C’est un appareil qui aura ainsi été très présent dans plus d’un demi-siècle d’histoire des ailes britanniques, civiles puis militaires, mais produit à moins d’une centaine d’exemplaires. Il n’en a pas moins joué un rôle important en matière d’aviation civile.

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La ligne élégante du quadriréacteur VC10 de Vickers photo RAF

On l’a oublié, en effet, mais dans les années cinquante, les constructeurs américains jouissaient d’un confortable monopole sur le marché mondial des long-courriers, URSS mise à part. Boeing, Convair, Douglas, Lockheed, après avoir bénéficié de l’effort de guerre américain, avaient proposé des avions commerciaux performants en face desquels les Européens n’alignaient que des court/moyen-courriers comme la Caravelle et le Viscount. Aussi l’initiative d’Armstrong-Whitworth de développer un quadriréacteur à 150 places capable de franchir sans escale les étapes les plus longues fut-elle saluée comme un événement majeur, d’une grande audace.

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Le Vickers VC10 a débuté sa carrière comme long courrier sous les couleurs de la compagnie britannique BOAC photo British Airways

Plus tard, chacun comprit que l’avionneur d’outre-Manche avait agi trop lentement : Boeing 707 et Douglas DC-8 bénéficiaient déjà des faveurs des grandes compagnies aériennes quand le VC10 fit son apparition. Il fut bien accueilli par les voyageurs au long cours, ses quatre Rolls-Royce Conway placés tout à l’arrière du fuselage assurant un confort inégalé dans la cabine, le niveau sonore étant exceptionnellement bas. Mais les coûts d’exploitation furent jugés trop élevés par les dirigeants de BOAC, lesquels n’eurent de cesse d’acheter, eux aussi, des 707. Du coup, le VC10 dut se contenter d’une petite carrière, sur fond de polémique politique centrée sur les aides financières étatiques indispensables à la survie du programme.

Une version à 172 places n’en fut pas moins étudiée puis un dérivé à 265 places, doté d’un étonnant fuselage bilobé, témoignant de l’esprit d’innovation qui animait le bureau d’études de Vickers. Mais, finalement, c’est la Royal Air Force qui assura la survie du programme, par de parcimonieuses commandes ou encore la militarisation d’appareils acquis sur le marché de seconde main. Ainsi naquit le VC10 C1K, silhouette familière de la célèbre base de Brize Norton.

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Le Vickers VC10 a fait une longue carrière de ravitailleur en vol au sein de la Royal Air Force photo RAF

Le VC10 a permis aux Européens de conserver une présence symbolique dans le secteur prestigieux du long-courrier et a ainsi sauvé l’honneur du Vieux Continent tout au long des années soixante, en attendant la création d’Airbus Industrie en 1970 et, quinze ans plus tard, l’apparition de l’A340. Entre autres titres de gloire, le VC10 fut le plus rapide de tous les quadriréacteurs (Concorde mis à part, bien entendu), ce qui lui vaut, encore aujourd’hui, de détenir le record de vitesse pour avions commerciaux, subsoniques, sur Londres-New York.

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5 décembre 2013 4 05 /12 /décembre /2013 08:50
F-35B Lightning II aircraft in formation (library image) [Picture: © 2013 Lockheed Martin Corporation]

F-35B Lightning II aircraft in formation (library image) [Picture: © 2013 Lockheed Martin Corporation]

 

 

4 December 2013  Ministry of Defence and Defence Equipment and Support

 

As training with the F-35 Lightning II steps up in Florida, a Royal Air Force pilot shares his impressions of the advanced stealth jet.

 

Flight Lieutenant Hugh Nichols completed his first sortie in the next-generation stealth fighter at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida in November.

The Lightning II aircraft, together with the Typhoon FGR4, will provide the RAF combat air component essential to UK defence.

Flight Lieutenant Hugh Nichols

Flight Lieutenant Hugh Nichols [Picture: Staff Sergeant Nicholas Egebrecht, United States Air Force]

Flight Lieutenant Nichols, the first RAF Number 1 Group pilot to fly the aircraft, said:

This is a notable step in the Lightning II story and one that marks a real shift in emphasis from development to employment.

We’re also just starting to train the first Number 1 Group engineers here at Eglin, which is another important milestone in the development of the UK aspect of the programme.

Lightning II’s advanced mission system sensors have done nothing but impress me so far and I have no doubt that this aircraft will deliver strategic, game-changing capabilities in future defence scenarios.

To be the first Number 1 Group operational pilot is both an honour and a privilege and I look forward to helping stand up Number 617 (The Dambusters) Squadron in 2016 and bringing the jet back to the UK in 2018.

An F-35B Lightning II at Eglin Air Force Base

An F-35B Lightning II on the tarmac at Eglin Air Force Base [Picture: © 2013 Lockheed Martin Corporation]

Three UK pilots and 13 engineers from the RAF and Royal Navy are learning to operate the aircraft at Eglin under a partnering agreement with the United States Marine Corps as part of Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 (VMFAT-501).

Another 12 engineers recently arrived at Eglin for 5 months of trade training at the Lightning Academic Training Centre prior to being posted to Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Beaufort in South Carolina and Edwards Air Force Base in California in mid-2014.

Lightning II will be the UK’s fifth-generation short take-off and vertical landing joint strike asset. The multi-role supersonic stealth aircraft is planned to achieve initial operating capability in a land-based role from RAF Marham in 2018 and, alongside the Royal Navy, aboard the future HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier in 2020.

F-35B Lightning II aircraft in flight

F-35B Lightning II aircraft in flight (library image) [Picture: © 2013 Lockheed Martin Corporation]

 

Flight Lieutenant Hugh Nichols

Flight Lieutenant Nichols, who is 35 and was born in Epsom, Surrey, joined the RAF in April 2000 and has flown Hawk and Harrier GR9 aircraft as well as flying the F-16CJ on exchange with the US Air Force.

He will go on to qualify as an F-35B instructor pilot and will remain on VMFAT-501 until the UK stands up its first squadron at MCAS Beaufort in 2016.

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2 décembre 2013 1 02 /12 /décembre /2013 17:50
F-35B Lightning II Impresses RAF Pilot as Training continues in USA

 

December 2nd, 2013 By UK Ministry of Defence - defencetalk.com

 

As training with the new F-35B Lightning II stealth aircraft continues in Florida, USA, a Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot has described how impressed he is with the ‘game-changing’ jet.

 

Flight Lieutenant Hugh Nichols completed his first sortie in the next-generation stealth fighter at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, United States earlier this month.

 

The Lightning II aircraft, together with the Typhoon FGR4, will provide the RAF combat air component essential to UK defence.

 

Flt Lt Nichols,the first RAF Number 1 Group pilot to fly the aircraft, said: “This is a notable step in the Lightning II story and one that marks a real shift in emphasis from development to employment.

 

“We’re also just starting to train the first No. 1 Group engineers here at Eglin, which is another important milestone in the development of the UK aspect of the programme.

 

“Lightning II’s advanced mission system sensors have done nothing but impress me so far and I have no doubt that this aircraft will deliver strategic, game-changing capabilities in future defence scenarios.

 

“To be the first No. 1 Group operational pilot is both an honour and a privilege and I look forward to helping stand up No. 617 (The Dambusters) Sqn in 2016 and bringing the jet back to the UK in 2018.”

 

Three UK pilots and 13 engineers from the RAF and Royal Navy are learning to operate the aircraft at Eglin under a partnering agreement with the United States Marine Corps, as part of Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron (VMFAT) 501.Another 12 engineers recently arrived at Eglin for five months of trade training at the Lightning Academic Training Centre prior to being posted to Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Beaufort, South Carolina, and Edwards Air Force Base, California, in mid-2014.

 

Lightning II will be the UK’s 5th generation short take-off and vertical landing Joint Strike Asset. The multi-role supersonic stealth aircraft is planned to achieve initial operating capability in a land-based role from RAF Marham in 2018 and, alongside the Royal Navy, aboard the future HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier in 2020.

 

Flt Lt Nichols, who is 35 and was born in Epsom, Surrey, joined the RAF in April 2000 and has flown the Hawk and Harrier GR9 aircraft, as well as flying the F-16CJ on exchange with the U.S. Air Force.

 

He will go on to qualify as an F35B Instructor Pilot and will remain on VMFAT-501 Sqn until the UK stands up its first squadron at MCAS Beaufort in 2016.

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