Air International 2018-06
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The MiG-31BM is the only specialised air defence type in the FA inventory. It is used to protect the vast territories without ground-based air defence infrastructure in the extreme northern and far eastern regions of Russia.
The Su-25SM is the mainstay of the FA's attack force, equipping six front-line squadrons, while the enhanced but long-delayed Su-25SM3 is now expected for service introduction this year.
Since the early part of this decade, the RuASF has sharply intensified aircrew training, including employment practice of air-to-surface weapons in attack and bomber regiments. The Su-25 Frogfoot fleet is easy to maintain and overhaul, and the type has ample life-extension reserves to remain in frontline service until the early 2030s. The Su-24M Fencer has been among the most problematic aircraft types in the FA fleet, with difficult maintenance and complex flight performance; the type has suffered from serious attrition in the past decade.
Currently the Su-25UB fleet is increasing, with plans for establishing one new regiment with two component squadrons, but pilot shortage is among the factors which prevented this taking place in 2017.
The Su-30SM (in the foreground) and Su-35S are the mainstays of the FA fighter fleet. Both are multi-role aircraft capable of delivering a wide range of precision-guided air-to-surface munitions.
The first Su-35S batch ordered for the RuASF in 2009 numbered 48 examples, the last of which were delivered in 2016. Deliveries of the second batch of 50 aircraft are expected to be completed in 2020.
The Su-30SM (in the foreground) and Su-35S are the mainstays of the FA fighter fleet. Both are multi-role aircraft capable of delivering a wide range of precision-guided air-to-surface munitions.
Merlin HC4 ZJ122/F on a test flight from Yeovil.
Four Merlin HC4 aircraft are in flight test programme, one of which was delivered to the Royal Navy on April 25, 2018. At the end of February, a further six aircraft had entered the modification programme.
Tail folded on the first Merlin HC4; the photos show the articulation of the tail fold mechanism.
An airman assigned to the 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron conducts a pre-flight inspection of an F-15C Eagle at RAF Lakenheath, England.
A 493rd Fighter Squadron F-15C Eagle taxis out of a hardened aircraft shelter at RAF Lakenheath, England.
F-15C Eagles taxi at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa during an exercise.
Lakenheath-based F-15C Eagles over Morocco during Exercise African Lion.
Two F-15C Eagles assigned to the 493rd Fighter Squadron prepare to receive fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker on April 20, 2018 during Exercise African Lion, a multilateral exercise staged to improve interoperability with the Royal Moroccan Air Force.
F-15C Eagle 86-0158/MA assigned to Massachusetts Air National Guard's 104th Fighter Wing receives fuel from a US Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker. This image was shot during a recent deployment by the Air National Guard to Leeuwarden Air Base, Netherlands, as part of a Theater Security Package in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.
Two F-15C Eagles assigned to the 493rd Fighter Squadron prepare to receive fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker on April 20, 2018 during Exercise African Lion, a multilateral exercise staged to improve interoperability with the Royal Moroccan Air Force.
F-15C Eagle 86-0158/MA assigned to Massachusetts Air National Guard's 104th Fighter Wing receives fuel from a US Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker. This image was shot during a recent deployment by the Air National Guard to Leeuwarden Air Base, Netherlands, as part of a Theater Security Package in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.
After hours of planning this Rafale pilot climbs aboard to start his next Frisian Flag mission.
Nine Rafales participated in this year's Frisian Flag, only the second time the type had taken part. The first time was in 2008.
Around 180 French airmen deployed to Leeuwarden, many of them were maintenance and support personnel. In this photo technicians prepare a Rafale for flight.
SPA 162 operates the Rafale B and C models from BA118 Mont-de-Marsan in the South of France.
Rafale C No.128/30-GG painted with a tiger tail to celebrate 100 years of SPA 162.
The single-seat Rafale Cs participating in Frisian Flag were configured with a single MICA captive training missile carried on the left hand wingtip station.
Fighters based at Leeuwarden Air Base for Frisian Flag were able to aerial refuel with tanker aircraft operating from Eindhoven Air Base as part of the European Air Refuelling Training exercise.
Air France A380 F-HPJA (msn 3) on turnaround at Los Angeles. Airport invest in infrastructure such as extra boarding bridges to handle A380s.
: Underfloor cargo capacity is just one of many variables used by airlines when planning A380 networks.
Etihad's A380 A6-APA (msn 166), photographed just prior to delivery when it was still F-WWSS. The Gulf airline has ten A380s and like the other operators flies it on routes to large hubs.
The A380's size requires the use of specialist tugs, as seen herewith Lufthansa’s D-AIME (msn 61) on pushback at Frankfurt.
The A380 is the largest passenger airliner currently flying. Here one of the 12 in service with Qantas, VH-OQG (msn 47) is pictured departing Heathrow in December 2017.
With more than ten years' operations behind it the A380 has flown more than 190 million passengers and serves more than 60 destinations. Singapore Airlines was the first operator.
There have been various systems improvements to the A380 since service entry; among those for the flight deck are a Runway Overrun Protection System and Brake-to-Vacate, which regulates deceleration after touchdown.
Singapore Airlines launched its new enclosed first-class suite in December 2017.
Premium travel on the A380 continues to evolve. An updated Qantas A380 interior which will debut in 2019 will feature a new business-class lounge area.
This MiG-29SMT is from the first batch of newly built MiG-29SMTs which were handed over to the RuASF in 2009 and serves with the 14th Guards IAP at Kursk-Khalino. The humpbacked Fulcrums serving with the regiment will be replaced by the Su-30SM in 2018 but it is not known where they will be based after that.
Ethiopian's hub is Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, where a new terminal that will double capacity is due to open later this year.
This early production Su-34 belonging to the 47th BAP Su-34 is armed with four ZB-500GD napalm bombs.
In addition to bomber missions, the Su-34 is expected to be made compatible with the Sych under-fuselage recce pod.
One of 19 Boeing 787-8s in service with Ethiopian; the carrier also operates two 787-9s with another two due for delivery.
Chinese investment has resulted in new maintenance hangars for Ethiopian at Bole.
Su-24MR reconnaissance aircraft are used to equip four independent recce squadrons - one in each of the four military districts.
The swing-wing Su-24M Fencer-D serves in dwindling numbers with the FA, equipping only four front-line squadrons, two of which will convert to the Su-34 in 2018. A handful of aircraft, including this machine, fly with the Lipetsk combat training centre. Most of the surviving Fencer-Ds are upgraded machines, featuring the SVP-24 navigation/attack avionics package.
The Fencer-D is set to continue its service with the FA branch until the early 2020s, flying with only two front-line squadrons and one conversion and training and instruction-research unit.
The MELTEM II programme has seen Thales modify the three SGK CN235MSAs for exclusive economic zone surveillance missions as part of the most complex and prestigious project for the Turkish Coast Guard to date.
Two of the three CN235MSAs delivered to the SGK in the early 2000s, which have been extensively upgraded with new equipment under the MELTEM II programme.
To support SAR tasks smoke markers and Aerolite 6 life rafts, pictured, have been installed in the CN235MSAs. The aircraft is able to deploy life rafts for about 100 people in one drop.
The crew of a CN235MSA consists of two pilots, two observers, two operators and a flight technician. The operators have a wide array of systems available including the ASELFLIR 200, side-looking airborne radar and Ocean Master 400 radar.
The third and final sortie of the daily exercise schedule took place after dark, for which the Caracal crews fly the entire sortie with night-vision goggles.
While the MC-130J crew sets up for another series of plugs, the Caracals keep their distance. Note the Dune de Pila, the biggest sand dune in Europe, in the background.
Helicopters only move into the pre-plug position after the MC-130J crew has tested the two hoses to ensure they have extended correctly and are functioning properly.
The lead Caracal helicopter moves into position while a second Caracal waits for clearance from the MC-130J crew to move to the other side to commence a series of six aerial refuelling plugs.
This picture clearly shows the difference in height between the lead Caracal plugged into the basket and the second aircraft.
Typically, the Caracals unplug from the basket before turning within the oval-shaped HAAR track but maintain a close formation with the MC-130J.
All Caracal sorties were flown with a diver on board because the aerial refuelling track used was located over the ocean; the diver provides over watch and notifies the crew each time the other helicopter plugs and unplugs with the basket. The diver also notifies his crew of the positional changes of the other Caracal behind the MC-130J.
Despite receiving new-generation Airbus A350-900s and Boeing 787s, Ethiopian's six Boeing 767-300ERs, recently upgraded with new lie-flat seats, will fly with Ethiopian for another five to six years.
Production of the Su-57 is expected to begin in 2018, with the first two examples being delivered to the RuASF for so-called experimental operation and field trials in late 2019. Currently, there are ten T-50 prototypes involved in the exhaustive test and evaluation effort.
Never in the history of Frisian Flag did the Armee de I'Air deploy so many aircraft to the exercise. This year's French participants were nine Rafales and four Mirage 2000Ds.
A Mirage 2000D crew assigned to EC 3 from BA133 Nancy climb aboard their jet. The aircraft has mission markings applied from Operation Barkhane.
The Mirage 2000Ds at Frisian Flag were configured with a single GBU-49 precision-guided munition carried on the centreline pylon under the fuselage.
Nine Rafales participated in this year's Frisian Flag, only the second time the type had taken part. The first time was in 2008.
EC 01.004 'Gascogne' based at BA113 Saint Dizier is part of the Armee de I'Air's Strategic Forces Command, flying the Rafale B since 2010.
Final pre-flight checks for a Rafale B crew assigned to EC 01.004 'Gascogne'.
Loadmasters from the MC-130J crew observe and help to coordinate the aerial refuelling procedures from the aft cabin door positions.
Exiting a turn within the HAAR track, the MC-130J leads the way before the Caracals return to their aerial refuelling positions.
While the MC-130J crew sets up for another series of plugs, the Caracals keep their distance. Note the Dune de Pila, the biggest sand dune in Europe, in the background.
Helicopters only move into the pre-plug position after the MC-130J crew has tested the two hoses to ensure they have extended correctly and are functioning properly.
The lead Caracal helicopter moves into position while a second Caracal waits for clearance from the MC-130J crew to move to the other side to commence a series of six aerial refuelling plugs.
Typically, the Caracals unplug from the basket before turning within the oval-shaped HAAR track but maintain a close formation with the MC-130J.
All Caracal sorties were flown with a diver on board because the aerial refuelling track used was located over the ocean; the diver provides over watch and notifies the crew each time the other helicopter plugs and unplugs with the basket. The diver also notifies his crew of the positional changes of the other Caracal behind the MC-130J.
This picture clearly shows the difference in height between the lead Caracal plugged into the basket and the second aircraft.
A search and rescue exercise involving an AB412EP. The Coast Guard Command Centre in Ankara is responsible for dispatching assets to perform a search and rescue operations.
According to Bell, the AB412EP’s expansive cabin provides multi-mission flexibility, and its 7ft 8in wide doors easily accommodate forklift loadings into a spacious 220ft3 cabin.
Other tasks undertaken by the SGK's aircraft in addition to SAR are anti-terrorist operations, pollution control, border control and homeland security.
Each student and pilot has to be able to operate during day and night time hours, and the SGK is tasked to respond to an emergency within 30-90 minutes.
The AB412EPs (locally designated AB412SAR) are equipped with four cockpit displays installed by Aselsan, an auto hover function, more powerful engines with full authority digital engine control, night vision capabilities, and cameras in the hoist and cabin.
The larger 73-inch fan diameter on the Embraer E190-E2’s Pratt & Whitney PW1900G geared turbofans is apparent in this shot of the first customer jet, Wideroe's LN-WEA (c/n 190200), pictured following its arrival in Bergen.
With the E190-E2 delivered, Embraer now turns to completing the flight testing and certifying the larger E195-E2, targeted for the first half of 2019.
Among structural differences between the first and second-generation E-Jets is a new trailing arm architecture for the main landing gear, which Embraer says is less susceptible to shimming and corrosion.
Static test rigs were used to complete 45,000 hours of ground tests of electrical, hydraulic and environmental systems, avionics and flight controls.