Air International 2018-03
Main: Military
Assigned to the Ramenskoye Flight Test Centre, Tu-22M3 side number 9804 is shown loaded with two dummy Kh-32M anti-shipping missiles.
Russia's latest Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bomber 8-04 named Pyotr Deynekin lifts off from Kazan on its second flight on January 25, 2018 in the presence of Vladimir Putin.
Tu-95MS side number 317 is configured with four underwing missile pylons, each loaded with two dummy Kh-101 missiles. This aircraft is assigned to the Ramenskoye Flight Test Centre.
Integration between air and ground assets continues at a steady pace. The Rafale fighter can now drop laser-guided bombs on targets designated by an MQ-9 Reaper, and a Joint Terminal Air Controller can instruct both planes while viewing live feeds from the aircraft through an encrypted data link.
A MC-130J of the 67th SOS refuels a MH-47 in Sweden during a Forward Arming and Refueling Point exercise.
A full moon is a beautiful sight, but not for special operators. They prefer complete darkness, which offers the best cover.
The CV-22 Osprey conducts long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions for special operations forces.
A CV-22B receiving fuel in glorious weather conditions over the North Sea.
Air commandos from the 321st STS fast rope from a CV-22B Osprey at RAF Sculthorpe after sunset.
A Combat System Operator.
The 0.50-calibre heavy machine gun is the sole kinetic means of self-defence for the CV-22B. More might be added in the future.
Of the ten Twin Otters delivered to the Armee de I’Air between 1980 and 1983, only five remain in use: two are assigned to ET 3/61 at BA123 Orleans, while the other three are operated by the secretive GAM 0/56 based at BA105 Evreux.
As a 435th FTS T-38C departs, a second Talon assigned to 560th FTS, another squadron assigned to the 12th Flying Training Wing at Randolph, returns from a mission.
A female instructor pilot with the 39th FTS climbs into a T-38C Talon.
A crew chief and a pilot perform a visual check on the landing gear.
Looks can deceive. This T-38C looks brand new, but is over 50 years old.
Head-on, the streamlined fuselage and tri-cycle landing gear of the T-38 Talon are clearly visible.
The pilot inspects the intakes for any foreign objects before start-up of the Talon's General Electric J85-GE-5 turbojet engines.
Two instructors prepare for a proficiency mission to remain qualified on the type.
For training missions, the student is in the front seat with the instructor in the aft seat.
Lieutenant Colonel Jason Earley, commander of the 435th FTS, undertaking a walk around to inspect his aircraft before climbing aboard.
A female student taxies her Talon to the runway for a mission designed to put into practise the topics learned in the class room.
Except for two aircraft assigned to the Groupement Aero Mobilite de la Section Technique de I'Armee de Terre, the Aviation Legere de I'Armee de Terre test and evaluation unit, the AS532UL Cougar fleet is now entirely based at Pau with the helicopters being assigned to 4e RHFS and 5e RHC.
A flight engineer lowers an airborne tactical extraction platform, which is immediately readied by the Special Forces team on the ground. The troops can get on to the platform and hook-up within a few seconds, after which the helicopter crew can immediately take off.
The airborne tactical extraction platform is an alternative to ropes used for Special Patrol Insertion/Extraction (SPIE). Troops are above one another when using the SPIE, but are all at the same level on the extraction platform, which allows for a quicker ingress and egress.
The EC725 Caracal is equipped with a five-blade rotor, a MAG-58 machine gun and an aerial refuelling probe. To improve its auto­protection and assault capabilities, in the near term the Caracal will be equipped with additional heavy weapons.
The aircraft and personnel of the 352nd regularly deploy to crisis and combat areas. An MC-130J of the 67th SOS is seen at an undisclosed location.
Unlike the old MC-130H and MC-130P, the MC-130J is capable of conducting a maritime craft aerial delivery drop with the huge Rigid Inflatable Boat.
A MC-130J of the 67th SOS refuels a MH-47 in Sweden during a Forward Arming and Refueling Point exercise.
RAF Sculthorpe was closed by the United States Air Force many years ago. However, it is the main playing field for the 352nd SOW. Here a Commando II drops a heavy practice pallet.
The modern cockpit of the MC-130J with two pilots and the CSO.
A frequent sight at Mildenhall, two MC-130Js lined up on the runway, though they do not take off simultaneously.
Formation flying is normal practice for both SOS squadrons.
An MC-130J dropping air commandos. Note the flippers.
AFSOC C-130s are capable of receiving fuel by boom-equipped tankers; their crews train day and night.
A Combat System Operator.