Category Archives: Military History

USAF ANNIVERSARY SHOW A SPECTACLE

 

 

A series of spectacular flypasts and  displays ensured the USAF’s 70th anniversary was celebrated in style at a sold out Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford last weekend.

The airshow, which took place over three days (July 14-16), attracted a record crowd of 160,000 people who enjoyed  flying demonstrations by some of the world’s leading pilots.

Among the aerial highlights were the USAF Thunderbirds, with its F-16 Fighting Falcons. The team was joined on the friday by nine Red Arrows’ Hawks for a colourful joint flypast to launch the airshow.

Joining the Thunderbirds to celebrate the USAF anniversary were several warbirds including a B-17 and P-51D Mustang, plus a F-22 Raptor and a dramatic flypast by a number of UK and European based USAF aircraft.

On the Sunday, visitors were treated to a surprise flypast by a stealth B-2 Spirit bomber that was taking part in an epic 23-hour transatlantic ‘Global Power’ training flight from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. The aircraft was escorted by two F-15 fighters.

In total, 246 aircraft took part in the Air Tattoo from 32 air arms representing 26 nations.

 

 

 

5,000 FLYING HOURS FOR THIRD GENERATION NAVAL OFFICER

 

 

A third generation Fleet Air Arm and former Helston school boy Lt Cdr Tim Hayden, recently celebrated achieving his 5,000 rotary flying hours milestone.  Tim has had an esteemed career in the Royal Navy since joining in 1995.  His flying career has seen active service in support of operations in Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo and more recently Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis.

In 2000 he received a Queens Commendation for Valuable Service for his part in rescuing survivors from the stricken ferry Express Semina in the Adriatic.   He later served with 771 Naval Air Squadron, providing an invaluable search and rescue service to the south west region.

Tim qualified as a helicopter instructor in 2003, and has instructed student pilots through all phases of rotary flying training, from first learning to hover in a Squirrel HT1, to night deck landings at sea in a Sea King and Merlin 2.

He has also instructed Afghan pilots at Boscombe Down in the Mi-17 Hip in support of Operation Herrick.  Tim’s current role is based at RNAS Culdrose, where he is tasked with ensuring the standards and practices of Fleet Air Arm helicopter pilots and instructors, both ashore and afloat.

 

Caption:

Left to right –  Senior Pilot of 705 NAS hands Lt Cdr Tim Hayden his certificate.

French Air force to fly at the Warbirds Over Wanaka Airshow

The French Air force is the first international air force to confirm it intends to be at the Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow next Easter.  The French crew will be bringing a CASA military transport aircraft to Wanaka for the third airshow in a row.  The aircraft and crew are stationed at the Tontouta military base in New Caledonia, in the South Pacific.  Major Laurent Monfort says the visit is dependent on operational issues nearer the time but at this stage they are looking forward to coming back to Wanaka.

Warbirds Over Wanaka General Manager, Ed Taylor, says they’re delighted the French are coming back.  “They are such a great bunch of guys to deal with and are a real hit with the public. We are expecting a strong military presence in 2018 as part of our 30th Anniversary celebrations.  That will be headed up by what’s hoped to be a big turnout from our very own RNZAF including a number of their larger aircraft and the new Black Falcons display team.  We have also extended invitations to a number of other air forces around the world to join us in 2018 and we expect to hear back from them later in the year,” says Ed.

The 30th anniversary Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow is being held on March 30th, March 31st and April 1stwww.warbirdsoverwanaka.com

Photo by Gavin Conroy, supplied by the Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow team.

BDAC celebrate five years at Old Sarum

This week marks five years since Boscombe Down Aviation Collection opened to the public at Old Sarum Airfield, near Salisbury, Wiltshire.  Since then the museum has welcomed just over 30,000 visitors and the engineering team have completed over 45,000 hours work on restoration projects such as Hawker Hunter F.6A XF375 and SEPECAT Jaguar GR.1 XX734. www.boscombedownaviationcollection.co.uk

 

Photo caption:

Sea Harrier FA.2 XZ457 being unloaded as the museum opened at Old Sarum in July 2012. (Photo by Gerry Smyth).

 

 

 

Me 262 rejoins Cosford’s German aircraft collection

 

One of the most advanced fighter aircraft of World War Two, the Messerschmitt Me 262, has been transported by road to its new home at the RAF Museum Cosford.  This particular aircraft, Messerschmitt Me 262A-2a Schwalbe can already be seen by members of the public within one of the museum’s display hangars.

The 262 is returning to Cosford after 14 years on display at the RAF Museum London.  Prior to the move the aircraft was dismantled by Museum Technicians and Apprentices.

Ian Thirsk, Head of Collections at the RAF Museum said: “The first Messerschmitt Me 262’s entered service in the autumn of 1944, as the first turbojet fighter to do so it heralded a new era in aerial warfare and represented a step change in technology.  Today very few original examples survive so we are delighted to present this significant aircraft to our visitors at Cosford.”

 The aircraft moves come as the museum prepares for the RAF’s centenary celebrations in 2018 that will see the museum transform its London site with a series of new permanent exhibitions opening in the summer of 2018. The multi-million pound development programme will see investments in new exhibitions, improved education and volunteering opportunities, and landscaping that will emphasise the site’s importance as a heritage airfield.

The museum is open daily from 10am until 5pm and entry is free.  For further information, please visit the Museum’s website www.rafmuseum.org/cosford

 

Leonardo signs over €100M worth of contracts to maintain German and Spanish Typhoon fleet avionics

Leonardo has signed contracts worth more than 100 million Euros with Airbus to provide avionics maintenance for both German and Spanish Eurofighter Typhoon fleets.

The company has said that these contracts will cover all repairs estimated to arise in the next five years. The service covers all equipment, directly or indirectly, where Leonardo is the design authority. This includes the majority of the Typhoon’s avionic suite including the radar, IRST sensor and defensive aids suite.

The five year contracts will see Leonardo supporting the Spanish Ejército del Aire and German Luftwaffe Typhoon jets in partnership with Airbus and Eurofighter. The contracts with Germany and Spain follow the establishment of arrangements tailored to Typhoon partner nations Italy and the UK.

More USAF aircraft added to RIAT line-up

Visitors to this summer’s Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford in the Cotswolds will be able to view one of the biggest gatherings of US military aircraft at a UK airshow in recent years.  In addition to the USAF display team the Thunderbirds, a B-1 and B-52 bomber and a state-of-the-art F-22 fighter already revealed, the Americans have announced that many more exciting aircraft will be arriving at the base as the airshow prepares to stage the biggest celebration of the USAF’s 70th anniversary in Europe.

The airshow, which takes place on July 14-16, will also feature two CV-22B Ospreys – one of which will be in the flying programme and the other on display in the static park. Also confirmed for the static park will be two F-16C fighter jets from Spangdahlem in Germany; an MC-130J Commando II tactical transport and tanker aircraft, based at Mildenhall and a C-17A Globemaster from Charleston, South Carolina.

Vulcan XL426 Gets a New Hangar Home at Southend Airport

The Vulcan Restoration Trust (VRT) have  announce that Vulcan XL426 will be moving to a new home under cover at London Southend Airport.  XL426, owned by the VRT, will relocate to the airport’s Hangar 6 for an initial five-year period with the first part of the move to a temporary holding location already under way until the hangar is ready.

Since the beginning of May VRT volunteers, assisted by London Southend Airport, have been busy preparing the Hangar 6 for XL426’s arrival. Tasks have included upgrading of the hangar’s electrical services, replacement of ceiling tiles, bring the hangar doors back into operation and an extensive amount of cleaning and tidying. The hangar, together with the adjacent Hangar 5, measures some 4,000 square metres and will also provide space for VRT’s ground equipment and spares.

VRT and London Southend Airport have been in negotiations since early 2017 over a new site and agreement to relocate XL426 to Hangar 6 was reached at the end of April. The move is necessary due to extra car parking space being needed for the increasing numbers of passengers using Southend Airport. This included the area of XL426’s former parking pan, meaning a new site had to be found for the Vulcan.

VRT Trustee Richard Clarkson said: “This is fantastic outcome for XL426 and the VRT. Getting XL426 under cover is something we have dreamed about for many years and it is now a reality. London Southend Airport has been incredibly positive and helpful throughout the whole process, and we can’t thank them enough for the support they have provided and will continue to provide. A roof over XL426’s head opens up many opportunities for us, both in terms of engineering and increased public access to the Vulcan.”

Glyn Jones, CEO Stobart Aviation said : “The Vulcan is a key part of the history of London Southend Airport and incredibly popular with visitors so we have been very pleased to work with the Trust to provide it with a new home that helps their objective of creating an even better visitor experience, at the same time as helping us grow as an airport”.

London Southend Airport is assisting VRT practically and financially with XL426’s move so that the costs, and the ongoing hangar cost of running the hangar, remain affordable. VRT has, however, launched a campaign to raise funds for it to improve its engineering facilities in the hangar and to make it a high quality environment in which the public can visit XL426. Details of how to contribute to the fund can be found on the VRT’s website: www.avrovulcan.com.

The public’s first chance to see XL426 in its new home will be on Fathers’ Day, Sunday June 18th, when VRT will hold one of its popular Visit the Vulcan Days. Further Visit the Vulcan Days are planned for Sunday August 20th and Sunday September 24th.

Italian Tornado for Cosford show

The flying display line-up for the RAF Cosford Air Show received another exciting  boost this week, with the news that the Italian Air Force will be sending a Tornado to perform on Sunday 11th June.

It is hoped that the jet used for the flying display will be adorned in a special paint scheme, unveiled earlier this year in Italy, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the 311° Gruppo.

The Italian Air Force will also be sending a C-27J Spartan, a tactical transport aircraft, for static display at the show.

The RAF Cosford Air Show is an advanced ticket only event, for more details see www.cosfordairshow.co.uk

Boeing KC-46A Tanker Joins Flight Test Programme

Boeing now has six aircraft in its KC-46 tanker test programme, expanding its ability to complete ground and flight-test activities as it progresses toward first deliveries to the US Air Force.

The newest KC-46 aerial refueling aircraft, the second low-rate initial production plane, completed its first flight April 29. Its test activities will help ensure the KC-46 can safely operate through electromagnetic fields produced by radars, radio towers and other systems.

“Adding another tanker will help us to become even more efficient and significantly improve our ability to complete test points going forward,” said Jeanette Croppi, Boeing KC-46A tanker test team director. “We are also re-configuring one of our 767-2C aircraft into a tanker, which means we soon will have four KC-46 tankers in test.”

“This first flight is another important step for the KC-46 programme toward verifying the aircraft’s operational capabilities,” said Col. John Newberry, Air Force KC-46 System program manager. “Adding this aircraft brings key capabilities to the test fleet and helps move us closer to delivering operational aircraft to the warfighter.”

To date, the program’s test aircraft have completed 1,600 flight hours and more than 1,200 ‘contacts’ during refueling flights with F-16, F/A-18, AV-8B, C-17, A-10 and KC-10 aircraft.

The KC-46 is derived from Boeing’s commercial 767 airframe. The company expects to build 179 tankers in its Everett factory.

The KC-46A is a multirole tanker that can refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients.