Hosting the Testers

Naval Base Ventura County has the sound of afterburners again while they play host to two squadrons from NAWS China Lake. All images copyright of the author.

NAS Point Mugu used to be home to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Four (VX-4) and VX-5 until the Tomcat was retired in 1994. Since then, the only fighter jets have been visitors passing through. But for the past few weeks, and up until the third week of February, the base is housing VX-9 ‘Vampires’ and VX-31 ‘Dust Devils’ while their home base of Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake has the runway resurfaced.

The base is home to a number of squadrons and has a wide mix of aircraft. Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Thirty (VX-30) has a diverse fleet consisting of a variety of differently configured P-3 Orions, three S-3 Vikings and KC-130 and C-130 Hercules. All of the aircraft are used by the squadron on the Sea Test Range off the coast of California.

Also on the base are four Carrier Airborne Early Warning squadrons, which all operate the E-2C Hawkeye. The squadrons are: Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 112 (VAW-112), VAW-113, VAW-116 & VAW-117.

The Airborne Tactical Advantage Company (ATAC) provides the US Navy and US Marine Corps with dissimilar air combat training or red air. They use enemy tactics to train pilots for combat. They use the F-21 Kfir, Hawker Hunter and L-139.

Co-located within the base is the Channel Islands Air National Guard Base, where the 146th Airlift Wing of the California Air National Guard are housed with their C-130J Super Hercules.

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340 Squadron – 60 years by Ioannis Lekkas

This is a beautifully presented 60th anniversary photo album and has stunning photography and interesting captions about life in and around the F-16s of the Greek Air Force squadron.

The photo album book opens with a foreword by 340 Squadron’s Commanding Officer, Major Athanasios Antonakakis and a brief history of the squadron. The history includes photographs, fact-files and graphics of the former squadron aircraft; F-84G from 1953, F-84F from 1958 and A-7H/TA-7H from 1975.

Every detail about the night-strike F-16C/D, from the pilots and cockpit to the weapons and maintenance, are covered in great depth and the photographs beautifully illustrate the design and features of the fighter jet. There are quotes from famous fighter pilots in history, such as Gen. Adolf Galland, Luftwaffe and Brig. Gen. Robin Olds of the United States Air Force. Ioannis has a great eye for detail and this translates well with his stunning photography in this book.

The book is written and photographed by Ioannis Lekkas and published through his own company, Eagle Aviation. Additional photography is provided by Katsuhiko Tokunaga, Nikolaos Fazos and Georgios Lamprakis

The book is available to buy via the websites below.

www.eagleaviation.gr – Greece
www.discounthobbyzone.com – Internationally

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Midair Squadron’s Canberra PR9 (XH134) to display at Abingdon Air & Country Show

The iconic and celebrated Canberra XH134, the world’s only airworthy PR9, will join an array of aviation acts, including the Breitling Wingwalkers, Trig Team and a P40 Kittyhawk, at the Abingdon Air & Country Show on Sunday 4th May.

In her first scheduled airshow of the year, XH134 will perform a revised display, showcasing the exceptional PR9 capabilities, under the skilled piloting of Sqn Ldr Dave Piper and Flt Lt Mike Leckey. Incorporating a variety of impressive manoeuvres, visitors will be captivated by the power and noise of XH134.

Designed as the RAF’s first jet bomber, the Canberra had an exceptional career spanning 55 years of active service, before retiring from operations in July 2006. Following an extensive restoration by C2 Aviation, XH134 unveiled the striking new silver colour scheme of the Midair Squadron in September 2013, and will be flanked by two Hawker Hunters as the 2014 season progresses.

Aircraft owner, Michael Davis, explains, “The refined PR9 display showcases XH134 in all her glory. Demonstrating the sheer power and capabilities of the photo reconnaissance aircraft, it is a pleasure to introduce XH134 back to the display circuit.”

Speaking of the new air display, Sqn Ldr Dave Piper comments, “It is an honour to fly such an internationally recognised aircraft, in front of crowds who have supported her restoration from the outset.”

The annual Abingdon Air & Country show, located at Abingdon Airfield, is staged to raise money for the Thames Valley & Chiltern Air Ambulance Trust, donating over £45,000 since 2007. Over 9,000 visitors are expected this year.

www.midair-squadron.com/
www.abingdonairandcountry.co.uk/

Swiss Hornet to star at Yeovilton Air Day

RNAS Yeovilton Air Day 2014’s first confirmed international participant is the Swiss Air Force’s F/A-18C Hornet Solo Display. Among Europe’s premier fast jet performances, the display combines speed, raw power, sharp precision, staggering agility and the use of flares to stunning effect.

Commodore Jock Alexander OBE, Commanding Officer, RNAS Yeovilton said “We’re absolutely delighted to welcome the Hornet Solo Display this year, given our theme of Carrier Aviation and the Swiss Air Force’s 100th anniversary celebrations. The Swiss Air Force last took part at Air Day 2007, when its Patrouille Suisse team performed to great acclaim and I am sure the Hornet display will do the same. We hope to announce further international participation details in the coming months.”

While the multirole-capable F/A-18 Hornet is essentially a naval aircraft used by the US Navy and US Marine Corps, some 30 examples equipping three squadrons of the Swiss Air Force are used for land based operations. First flown in 1978, the widely-sold Hornet has an incredible top speed of 1,190 mph and is sure to be one of the stars of the show.

Tickets for Air Day can be ordered fromwww.royalnavy.mod.uk/yeovilton-airday at the discounted Earlybird rate with no booking fee until 31 January.

Editor’s Notes

• RNAS Yeovilton is one of the Royal Navy’s two principal air bases, and one of the busiest military airfields in the UK. It is home to more than 100 aircraft operated by both front-line squadrons and training units of the Commando Helicopter Force, Lynx Wildcat Maritime Force and the Army’s Aviation Reconnaissance Force as well as home to the legendary aircraft of the RN Historic Flight.

• Air Day 2014 will follow the naming ceremony of HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, the first of the UK’s 21st Century Aircraft Carriers. The carrier, a floating sovereign airfield, will enable the UK to project air power around the globe supporting tasks from humanitarian and disaster relief through to combat operations.

• The Royal Navy has been at the core of ‘Carrier Aviation’ since inception and at Air Day 2014 aircraft types, past and present, which operate from the sea will be on display. Over five hours of flying displays will include UK/Foreign military and civilian display teams as well as the resident squadrons performing spectacular role demonstrations. The ground displays will showcase modern Royal Navy assets and equipment that support embarked aviation Protecting our Nation’s Interests.

• Advance Ticket Prices: Adult £20, Child (5-15 yrs inc) £6, Child (Under 5) Free.

• On the Day Ticket Prices: Adult £25, Child (5-15 yrs inc) £12, Child (Under 5) Free.

• Further information atwww.royalnavy.mod.uk/yeovilton-airday

• Facebook:www.facebook.com/yeoviltonairday

• Twitter:www.twitter.com/yeoviltonairday

Swiss turn airshow into joint celebration

The Swiss Air Force has ensured the Red Arrows won’t be the only aerobatic display team celebrating an aviation landmark at this summer’s Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford on July 11-13.

It has announced plans to send their aerobatic display team, the Patrouille Suisse, in their 50th anniversary year, along with an F-18 Hornet and Super Puma helicopter to take part in the Air Tattoo’s flying display.

Air Tattoo organisers said that official celebrations marking the 50th display season of the Red Arrows would also include the Patrouille Suisse in order that their anniversary was also recognised.

Formed in 1964, the team fly six F-5E Tiger IIs painted in a bright colour scheme that incorporates the red and white of the Swiss national flag. The pilots, who are all volunteers from various frontline squadrons, are famed worldwide for performing precise formations at high speed.

Air Tattoo spokesman Richard Arquati said that as an international celebration of aviation, it was important that the Air Tattoo recognised important anniversaries being celebrated by

other participating air arms.

He said: “The Swiss have particular cause to celebrate this year. Not only is it the 50th anniversary of the Patrouille Suisse but it is also the 25th anniversary of their PC-7 aerobatic display team. On top of that, the Swiss Air Force will also be marking the 100th anniversary of military aviation in their country. Given all these anniversaries, we’re really pleased that the Swiss have agreed to support our airshow in such an incredible way.”

The Swiss Air Force have been regular visitors to the Air Tattoo since first attending the airshow at RAF Greenham Common in 1979 with the Patrouille Suisse. Then, the team flew six Hawker Hunter F-58s before switching to their current Northrop F-5E Tiger II jets in 1995. Accompanying the display team on their first visit was a Swiss Air Force de Havilland Venom FB.4, which was presented as a gift, to the Royal Air Force Museum.

This summer could be one of the last times the Patrouille Suisse perform in the UK after it was announced last year that the team would be disbanded in 2016 due to the withdrawal of the F-5 from Swiss Air Force service.

Specially-priced Super Earlybird tickets for next summer’s Air Tattoo, on July 11-13, are available until the end of January from airtattoo.com or by calling 0800 107 1940. All accompanied under-16s go free. Free parking.

Ops Board & Air shows 2014

If it’s a major military airshow or exercise being held around the world, here’s the place to find it with our new operations board, which will be updated every month. With sequestration affecting airshows in the US, we strongly advise you check before making travel plans!

Date Exercise/Event Location Remarks

February

Feb 3 – 21 ¦Iceland Fighter Meet ¦Iceland – Keflavik ¦www.nato.int

March

March 1 – 2 Centenary of Military Aviation Air Show 2014 Australia – RAAF Williamtown, Victoriawww.airforce.gov.au/airshows

March 3 – 14 Red Flag 14-2 USA – Nellis AFB, Nevadawww.nellis.af.mil

March 7 – 14 Exercise Tactical La Fayette Weeks France – Istres French Air Force Mirage 2000Ns

March 9 Tyabb Air Show 2014 Australia – Tyabb, Victoriawww.tyabbairshow.com.au

March 10 – Apr 4 TLP 2014-2 Spain – Albacetewww.tlp-info.org

March 15 Air Show USA – MCAS Yuma, Arizonawww.yumaairshow.com

March 15 Air Show USA – NAF El Centro, Californiawww.mwrtoday.com/elcentroairshow

March 15 – 16 Open House USA – Luke AFB, Arizonawww.luke.af.mil

March 21 – 22 Los Angeles County Air Show USA – Palmdale, Californiawww.lacountyairshow.com

March 22 – 23 Thunder Over The Empire USA – March ARB, California CANCELLED

March 22 – 23 MacDill AFB Open House USA – MacDill AFB, Floridawww.macdill.af.mil

Mar 25 – 30 FIDAE Chile – Santiago www.fidae.cl

Mar 29 – April 11 Exercise Green Shield France – Nancy Joint training with Royal Saudi Air Force

March 29 – 30 Wings Over South Texas USA – Brownsville, Texaswww.wost2014.com

March 29 – 30 Florida International Air Show USA – Punta Gorda, Floridawww.floridaairshow.com

Mar 31 – Apr 11 Exercise Frisian Flag Netherlands – Leeuwarden European air forces exercise

Mar 31 – Apr 11 Exercise Joint Warrior 14/1 UK – RAF Lossiemouth May include Fincastle 14 maritime competition

April

April 1 – 6 Sun ‘n’ Fun Fly-in USA – Lakeland, Floridawww.sun-n-fun.org

April 5 – 6 Columbus AFB Open House USA – Columbus AFB, Minnesota TBC –www.columbus.af.mil

April 8 – 11 Recce Meet France – Mont-de-Marsan Final exercise for French Air Force Mirage F1CR

April 12 – 13 Fort Smith Regional Air Show USA – Fort Smith, Arkansas CANCELLED

April 12 – 13 Thunder and Lightning over Arizona USA – Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizonawww.dm.af.mil

April 15 – 17 ABACE 2014 China – Shanghaiwww.abace.aero

April 18 – 20 Warbirds Over Wanaka Airshow New Zealand – Wanakawww.warbirdsoverwanaka.com

April 23 – 26 Marrakech Aero Expo & Air Show Morocco – Marrakechwww.aeroexpo-morocco.com

April 26 – 27 Fort Worth Air Power Expo 2014 USA – Fort Worth, Texaswww.airpowerexpo.com

April 26 – 27 Defenders of Liberty Air Show USA – Barksdale AFB, Louisianawww.barksdaleafbairshow.com

May 3 – 4 Shawfest USA – Shaw AFB, South Carolina CANCELLED

May 3 – 4 Spirit of St Louis Air Show USA – St Louis, Missouriwww.spirit-airshow.com

May 3 – 4 Travis AFB Open House USA – Travis AFB, California TBC –www.travis.af.mil

May 5 – 30 TLP 2014-3 Spain – Albacetewww.tlp-info.org

May 6 – 8 SOFEX Jordan – Amman-Marka ABwww.sofexjordan.com

May 10 – 11 Vero Beach Air Show USA – Vero Beach, Floridawww.veroairshow.com

May 10 -11 Joint Base McGuire Open House USA – McGuire AFB, New Jersey TBC –www.jointbasemdl.af.mil

May 12 – 22 Exercise JAWTEX Germany – TBA

May 16 – 18 MCAS Cherry Point Air Show USA – Cherry Point, North Carolinawww.cherrypointairshow.com

May 17 – 18 Thunder over the Valley USA – Youngstown ARB, Ohiowww.youngstown.afrc.af.mil

May 20 – 25 ILA 2014 Germany – Berlin-Schönefeldwww.ila-berlin.de

May 21 USNA Air Show USA – US Naval Academy, Maryland

May 23 USNA Graduation Flyover USA – US Naval Academy, Maryland

May 22 – 25 KADEX Kazakhstan – Astana AFB Public days 24/25

May 24 Llandudno Air Show UK – Llandudno, Waleswww.llandudno-air-show.org.uk

May 24 – 25 Bethpage Jones Beach Air Show USA –Jones Beach State Park, New Yorkwww.jonesbeachairshow.com

May 24 – 25 Cannon AFB Air Power Expo USA – Cannon AFB, New Mexico TBC –www.cannon.af.mil

May 24 – 25 Duxford D-Day Anniversary Air Show UK – Duxford, Cambswww.iwm.org.uk/exhibitions/iwm-duxford/air-shows

May 31 – Jun 1 Deke Slayton Air Fest USA – La Crosse, Wisconsinwww.airfest.com

May 31 – Jun 1 Fort McMurray International Air Show Canada – Fort McMurray, Albertawww.airshowfortmac.com

May 31 – Jun 1 Fairchild AFB SkyFest 2014 USA – Fairchild AFB, Washingtonwww.fairchild.af.mil

June 1 Swedish Air Force Air Show Sweden – F 17 Ronneby, Blekingewww.forsvarsmakten.se

June 2 – 11 Mission Employment Phase USA – Nellis AFB, Nevadawww.nellis.af.mil

June 7 – 8 Wings Over Pittsburg USA – Coraopolis, Pennsylvaniawww.wingsoverpittsburgh.com

June 7 – 8 Westmoreland County Air Show USA – Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, Pennsylvaniawww.palmerairport.com

June 7 – 8 Rockford AirFest 2014 USA – Chicago Rockford Int Airport, Illinoiswww.rockfordairfest.com

June 8 RAF Cosford Air Show UK – RAF Cosfordwww.cosfordairshow.co.uk

June 8 Bob Jones Memorial Air Show UK – Welshpool www.welshpoolairshow.co.uk

June 13 – 15 Hamilton Airshow 2014 Canada – Hamilton, Ontariowww.airshow.warplane.com

June 14 Queen’s Birthday Flypast UK – London

June 14 – 15 The Great Tennessee Air Show USA – Smyrna, Tennessewww.greattennesseeairshow.com

June 14 – 15 Phalsbourg Airshow 2014 France – Phalsbourgwww.phalsbourg-heli-airshow.com/

June 14 – 15 OC Air Show USA – Ocean City, Marylandwww.ocairshow.com

June 14 – 15 The Great Tennessee Air Show USA – Smyrna Airport, Tennesseewww.greattennesseeairshow.com

June 16 – 27 NATO Tiger Meet Germany – Schleswig-Jagelwww.natotigers.org

June 20 – 21 Luchtmachdagen (RNLAF Open Days) Netherlands – Glize-Rijenwww.defensie.nl/luchtmachtdagen

June 21 – 22 Milwaukee Air and Water Show USA – Milwaukee, Wisconsinwww.milwaukeeairshow.com

June 21 – 22 Star Spangled Salute USA – Tinker AFB, Oklahoma TBC –www.tinker.af.mil

June 21 – 22 Meeting de l’Air France – Cazauxwww.sudouest.fr/2013/12/24/un-meeting-exceptionnel-1411323-2918.php

June 22 Danish Air Show Denmark – Karupwww.danishairshow.dk

June 28 – 29 Roma International Air Show Italy – Rome www.romaairshow.net

June 28 – 29 Dayton Air Show USA – Dayton, Ohiowww.daytonairshow.com

June 28 – 29 Hill AFB Open House USA – Hill AFB, Utahwww.hill.af.mil/warriorsoverthewasatch

June 28 – 29 Waterloo Air Show Canada – Kitchener, Ontariowww.waterlooairshow.com

June 28 – 29 Meeting Aérien des 60ans de l’ALAT France – Le Cannetwww.meeting-leluc.fr/

July 2 – 6 Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show USA – Battle Creek, Michiganwww.bcballoons.com

July 5 – 6 Waddington International Air Show UK – RAF Waddingtonwww.waddingtonairshow.co.uk

July 5 – 6 National Cherry Festival Air Show USA – Traverse City, Michigan TBC –www.cherryfestival.org/air-show

July 5 – 6 Meeting de l’Air: 80 ans de l’AdlA France – Nancywww.ba133.air.defense.gouv.fr/

July 11 – 13 South Shore Air Show USA – Fair Oaks, Indianawww.southshorecva.com/airshow

July 12 Pensacola Beach Air Show USA – Pensacola Beach, Floridawww.visitpensacolabeach.com/what/airshow.php

July 12 Yellowknife International Air Show Canada – Yellowknife, Northwest Territories,

July 12 – 13 Royal International Air Tattoo UK – RAF Fairfordwww.airtattoo.co.uk

July 12 – 13 Duxford Flying Legends UK – Duxford, Cambswww.iwm.org.uk/exhibitions/iwm-duxford/air-shows

July 14 – 20 Farnborough Air Show UK – Farnborough Airportwww.farnborough.com Public days 18 – 20

July 19 – 20 Defenders of Freedom Air Show USA – Offutt AFB, Nebraskawww.offuttairshow.com

July 19 – 20 Cold Lake Airshow Canada – CFB Cold Lake, Alberta

July 25 – 27 Sunderland International Airshow UK – Sunderland, Tyne & Wearwww.sunderland.gov.uk/airshow

July 26 Yeovilton Air Day UK – RNAS Yeovilton, Somersetwww.royalnavy.mod.uk/yeovilton-airday

July 26 – 27 Cleethropes Air Show 2014 UK – Cleethorpes, Lincolnshirewww.cleethorpesairshow.co.uk/

July 26 – 27 Thunder Over Utah USA – St George, Utahwww.thunderoverutah.com

July 26 – 27 Whitecourt Hometown Heroes Air Show Canada – Whitecourt, Albertawww.whitecourtairshow.com

July 28 – Aug 3 EAA Air Venture Oshkosh USA – Oshkosh, Wisconsinwww.airventure.org

July 31 RNAS Culdrose Air Day 2014 UK – Culdrose, Cornwall

August 2 – 3 Seafair 2014 USA – Seattle, Washingtonwww.seafair.com

August 8 – 10 Abbotsford International Airshow Canada – Abbotsford, British Columbiawww.abbotsfordairshow.com

August 9 – 10 International Airshow 2014 Finland – Oulu www.tourdesky.fi/

August 9 – 10 Thunder Over Michigan USA – Ypsilanti, Michiganwww.yankeeairmuseum.org/airshow/

August 13 Atlantic City Air Show USA – Atlantic City, New Jerseywww.atlanticcityairshow.com/

August 14 – 17 Airbourne: Eastbourne International Airshow UK – Eastbourne, East Sussexwww.eastbourneairshow.com

August 15 – 17 Spectacle Aérien des Cantons de l’Est Canada – Bromont, Quebecwww.spectacleaeriencantons.com/

August 16 – 17 Chicago Air & Water Show USA – Chicago, Illinoiswww.chicagoairandwatershow.us

August 16 – 17 Rochester International Air Show USA – Rochester, New Yorkwww.rochesterairshow.com/

August 22 – 24 Wide Bay Australian International Airshow Australia – Bundaberg Airport, Queenslandwww.widebayairshow.com.au

August 23 Dawlish Air Show UK – Dawlish, Devonwww.dawlishairshow.co.uk

August 23 Aishow – Laage Open Day Germany – Laagewww.airshow-laage.de/

August 23 – 24 Duluth Air & Aviation Expo USA – Duluth, Minnesotawww.www.duluthairshow.com

August 23 – 24 Wings Over Waukesha Air Show USA – Waukesha, Wisconsinwww.wingsoverwaukesha.com/

August 23 – 24 Cedar Valley Air Show USA – Waterloo, Idaho cedarvalleyairshow.com/

August 28 – 31 Bournemouth Air Festival UK – Bournemouth, Dorsetwww.bournemouthair.co.uk

August 30 – 31 Air 14 Switzerland – Payerne First weekend

August 30 – 31 Shoreham Airshow 2014 UK – Shoreham, West Sussexwww.shorehamairshow.co.uk

August 30 – 31 Kalispell Air Show – Mountain Madness USA – Kalispell, Montana

August 30 – 31 Slovak International Air Fest 2014 Slovakia – Sliačwww.siaf.sk/

Aug 30 – Sep 1 Cleveland National Air Show USA – Cleveland, Ohiowww.clevelandairshow.com/

Aug 30 – Sep 1 Canadian International Air Show Canada – Torontowww.cias.org/

Eurofighter begins Taurus trials

Cruise missile trials begin in Germany

On January 15, Airbus Defence and Space started flight tests on Taurus stand-off precision missiles on the Instrumented Production Aircraft 7 (IPA7), operated by Eurofighter Project Pilot Chris Worning.

The first flight took place at Manching Military Air Systems Center in the north of Munich. After the successful completion of the functional ground test at the end of last year and taxi tests, which were carried out up until yesterday, Airbus Defence and Space has begun an intensive flight test programme with flutter tests, air data system large store interference assessment and aerodynamic data gathering. The activities are taking place as part of the Storm Shadow integration programme. Concurrent testing of these two similar missiles optimises the Storm Shadow integration and facilitates the future airframe integration of Taurus. Taurus KEPD 350 is a German/Swedish missile that is manufactured by Taurus Systems GmbH, a partnership between MBDA Germany and Saab Dynamics.

B-2 returns to the air

‘Spirit of Washington’ flies again after damage

USAF B-2A the “Spirit of Washington” (serial 88-0332) participated in its first training mission at Whiteman Air Force Base, Dec. 16, 2013, after an engine fire in 2010 badly damaged the aircraft.

After three years and nine months in maintenance, the aircraft was restored to full mission-ready status.

Pave Hawk Crashes On Norfolk Coast

Four crew members have been killed after the US military helicopter crashed during a low level training mission.

The HH-60G Pave Hawk was taking part in a low-flying exercise when it came down in a marshland nature reserve near Salthouse, Norfolk at approximately 1800 on Tuesday.

It has been reported the helicopter was carrying live ammunition at the time of the crash, and authorities have set up a 400-metre cordon around the site while investigating if there is any risk to the public.

The helicopter was assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing of the US Air Force in Europe, based at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk.

The cause of the accident is not yet known.

Pave Hawks are a modified version of the Black Hawk and are mostly used for search and rescue missions and to recover downed air crew in hostile situations.

They have been deployed in Japan in the wake of the tsunami in 2011 and to the southern US after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 as well as supporting military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

Pave Hawk Crashes On Norfolk Coast

Four crew members have been killed after the US military helicopter crashed during a low level training mission.

The HH-60G Pave Hawk was taking part in a low-flying exercise when it came down in a marshland nature reserve near Salthouse, Norfolk at approximately 1800 on Tuesday.

It has been reported the helicopter was carrying live ammunition at the time of the crash, and authorities have set up a 400-metre cordon around the site while investigating if there is any risk to the public.

The helicopter was assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing of the US Air Force in Europe, based at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk.

The cause of the accident is not yet known.

Pave Hawks are a modified version of the Black Hawk and are mostly used for search and rescue missions and to recover downed air crew in hostile situations.

They have been deployed in Japan in the wake of the tsunami in 2011 and to the southern US after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 as well as supporting military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.