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Antonov An-124 Ruslan heavy lifter

21 November 2017

The Russian made Antonov An-124 Ruslan (NATA reporting name, Condor) works within the same niche as the Boeing C-5 Galaxy and is similar in size and performance though the Ruslan requires a much larger crew.

A Russian Volga-Dnepr AN-124 long-range heavy transport aircraft takes off from Moffett Federal Airfield, Calif., April 22. The contracted AN-124 transported 129th Rescue Wing deployment cargo to Afghanistan because the high operations tempos of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom have kept C-17 Globemaster III and C-5 Galaxy aircraft fully engaged. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Daniel Kacir)

Operated by Volga-Derp Airlines an Antonov AN-124 Ruslan taking off from Moffett Federal Airfield CA—U.S. Air Force photo/MSgt. Daniel Kacir

A Russian Volga-Dnepr AN-124 long-range heavy transport aircraft is parked April 20 at Moffett Federal Airfield, Calif. The contracted AN-124 transported 129th Rescue Wing deployment cargo to Afghanistan because the high operations tempos of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom have kept C-17 Globemaster III and C-5 Galaxy aircraft fully engaged. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. Christopher Hartman)

Volga-Dnepr’s Antonov AN-124 long-range heavy transport aircraft with its nose up and Moffett’s historic airship hangar in the background—U.S. Air Force photo/Sr MSgt. Christopher Hartman

A Russian Volga-Dnepr AN-124 long-range heavy transport aircraft is parked April 20 at Moffett Federal Airfield, Calif. The contracted AN-124 transported 129th Rescue Wing deployment cargo to Afghanistan because the high operations tempos of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom have kept C-17 Globemaster III and C-5 Galaxy aircraft fully engaged. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. Christopher Hartman)

Volga-Dnepr’s Antonov AN-124 Ruslan in profile—U.S. Air Force photo/Sr MSgt. Christopher Hartman

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The Insectothopter!

19 November 2017

 

This micro Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) was the first flight of an insect-sized aerial vehicle (Insectothopter) during research exploring the concept of intelligence collection by miniaturized platforms—CIA image

Hand painted to appear as a dragonfly the Insectothopter was powered by a miniature fluidic oscillator which flapped the wings up and down (unlike the insect dragonfly) for lift while some gas was expelled for thrust—CIA image

CIA’s Aviation History in Oil (write)

19 November 2017

“Earthquake’s Final Flight”: painting by Jeffrey W. Bass: commemorating air operations of Civil Air Transport (CAT, an Agency proprietary) and its CIA contract pilots in support of French forces at Dien Bien Phu during the final days of the conflict between the French and Viet Minh in 1954. In Fairchild C-119s with US Air Force markings hurriedly painted over with French Air Force roundels, 37 CAT pilots volunteered to fly supplies from the French airbase at Haiphong to the battlefield near Vietnam’s border with Laos—CIA image

“An Air Combat First” painting by Keith Woodcock: Known as “Site 85,” the US radar facility perched atop a 5,800-foot mountain in northeast Laos was providing critical and otherwise unavailable all-weather guidance to American F-105 fighter-bombers flying strike missions against Communist facilities in North Vietnam. CIA proprietary Air America provided air support to the isolated site. Recognizing the threat posed by this facility, the People’s Army of Vietnam vowed to destroy it. On January 12, 1968, North Vietnamese AN-2 Colt biplanes—modified to drop “bombs” improvised from 122-mm mortars and 57-mm rockets—attacked the site. Coincidentally, Air America pilot Ted Moore was flying an ammunition-supply run to the site in his unarmed UH-1D “Huey” helicopter and took chase. Flight mechanic Glenn Woods pulled out his AK-47 rifle and began firing. The Colts suffered severe bullet damage and crashed as they attempted to escape. The painting captures one Colt fleeing and the other being pursued by the Air America Huey. This daring action—shooting down an enemy fixed-wing aircraft from a helicopter—represents a singular aerial victory in the entire history of the Vietnam War—CIA image

“Continental Air Service’s Pilatus Turbo Porter Landing Up Country in Laos, 1969” painting by Keith Woodcock: Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter as flown by the Continental Air Services, Inc. as flown by Lee Gusset in Lao registration XW-PCI—CIA image

“Ambush in Manchuria” painting by Dru Blair: November 1950 marked the entry of Chinese Communist military forces into the Korean War. The Truman Administration tasked CIA to conduct covert-action programs on the Chinese mainland. One particularly sensitive and dangerous one involved CIA’s Civil Air Transport (CAT) flying agent-exfiltration missions in which low-altitude, slow-moving planes hoisted agents from the ground. The painting depicts an ill-fated flight on November 29, 1952 when Norman A. Schwartz and C flew such a mission into Manchuria, unaware that Chinese Communist units had been tipped off about the flight and were waiting in ambush. Their plane was shot down, and they were killed. Their two crewmen, John T. Downey and Richard G. Fecteau, however, were not seriously hurt. They were convicted of espionage and imprisoned. Fecteau was eventually released nearly a year shy of his 20-year sentence, and Downey was released after serving just over 20 years of his life sentence—CIA image

“First Sting” painting by Stuart Brown: depicting the turning point in the Afghan war with the first of many shoot-downs of Soviet helicopter gunships by Mujahedin fighters armed with Stinger missiles—CIA image

“Irrawaddy Ambush” painting by Stuart Brown: depicting one of OSS Detachment 101’s many guerrilla operations staged to disrupt Japanese supply and reinforcement routes in Burma. Staked out on one side of the Irrawaddy River, OSS-trained Kachin rangers ambush Japanese rafts bringing troops and supplies to the Japanese-held town of Myitkyina in July 1944. Such actions helped lead to the Allied re-capture of the town and, ultimately, the defeat of Japanese forces in northern Burma. By the time of its deactivation in July 1945, OSS Detachment 101 had amassed an impressive list of accomplishments, performing against overwhelming enemy strength and under the most difficult and hazardous conditions. The courage and fighting spirit of the Kachin guerrillas and their American advisors earned Detachment 101 a Presidential Unit Citation and recognition as the “most effective tactical combat force” in the OSS—CIA image

“Peacekeeper” painting by Dru Blair: possibly inspired by Lockheed A-12 pilot Jack Weeks mission to fly three passes over the southern portion of North Korea and the DMZ in search of the USS Pueblo in 1968 in order to determine if North Korea was mobilizing for hostilities—CIA image

“Untouchable” painting by Dru Blair: depicting the first BLACK SHEILD reconnaissance flight on May , 1967 over North Vietnam. Piloted by Mele Vojvodich, Article 131 took off in a torrential downpour just before 1100 local Okinawa time. The A-12 had never operated in heavy rain before, but weather over the target area was forecast as satisfactory, so the flight went ahead. Vojvodich flew the planned route at 80,000 feet and Mach 3.1, refueled immediately after taking off and during each of two loops over Thailand, and safely touched down at Kadena with a total flight time of three hours and 39 minutes. The intelligence mission was a resounding success: after detailed examination of nearly a mile of film that was collected, photointerpreters found no surface-to-surface missiles that might threaten US and allied military forces in the South and assessed the status of 70 of the 190 known surface-to-air missile sites and nine other priority targets. Contrary to some published accounts, Chinese or North Vietnamese radar did not track the aircraft, nor did North Vietnam fire any missiles at it. The A-12 had proven itself a valuable imagery collector, untouchable by hostile air defenses far below—CIA image

“Seven Days in the Arctic” painting by Keith Woodcock:depicts an Intermountain Aviation B-17 successfully catching Lt. (jg) Leonard A. LeSchack, USNR while Maj. James F. Smith, USAF, waits at the NP8 pickup point marked with red smoke. The 7-day mission in 1962 yielded valuable intelligence on Soviet advanced acoustical detection of under-ice submarines and Arctic anti-submarine warfare techniques—thanks to the persistence, courage, and resourcefulness of that small team of dedicated professionals who planned and executed this remarkable feat depicts an Intermountain Aviation B-17 successfully catching Lt. (jg) Leonard A. LeSchack, USNR while Maj. James F. Smith, USAF, waits at the NP8 pickup point marked with red smoke. The 7-day mission in 1962 yielded valuable intelligence on Soviet advanced acoustical detection of under-ice submarines and Arctic anti-submarine warfare techniques—thanks to the persistence, courage, and resourcefulness of that small team of dedicated professionals who planned and executed this remarkable feat—CIA image

“The Airman’s Bond” painting by Keith Woodcock—CIA image

KZO sees you

18 November 2017

 

A German Rheinmetall KZO drone in its shipping/launch container—NATO image

The Rheinmetal KZO (Kleinflugzeug für Zielortung) is a large stealthy recce drone. The KZO launches using a booster rocket with powered flight sustained by a conventional two-stroke internal combustion engine driving a push propeller. It has four hours of endurance with cruising speed of 135 mph and a real time data link.

German Rheinmetall KZO drone launches in Lithuania—NATO image

German Rheinmetall KZO drone in its boost phase and on its way to see what can be seen, especially with its FLIR sensor—NATO image

Chronicles of Courage

15 November 2017

Chronicles of Courage by Vulcan Productions is a rich and vibrant archive  of aviation’s history, especially in wartime. The 20 part series is online for no charge and shouldn’t be missed. Seeing the veterans as they talk of their aircraft and experiences is a pleasure but to hear them is absolute treasure.

One such story is of two U.S. Navy pilots who met after a 72 year lapse at the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum where that talk about the F4U Corsair and especially the F6F Hellcat.

See it on YouTube here.

A thankful note to Vulcan Productions for this heads up as well as producing the 20 part series, Chronicles of Courage.

MiG 29N Fulcrum + Su 30MKM Flanker C

15 November 2017
140624-N-ZZ999-001 SOUTH CHINA SEA (June 24, 2014) A Royal Malaysian Air Force MiG-29N Air Fighter and Interceptor, middle, and an Su-30MKM Multirole Fighter, top, fly in wingtip formation with an F/A-18F Super Hornet from the Diamondbacks of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 102 during a photo exercise. VFA-102 is assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 on patrol with the George Washington Carrier Strike Group in the 7th Fleet area of operations supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Cmdr. Jason Denny/Released)

Royal Malaysian Air Force MiG 29N Fulcrum (center) and a Royal Malaysian Air Force Su 30MKM Flanker-C (upper) fly in wingtip formation with an F/A-18F Super Hornet from the Diamondbacks of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 102—U.S. Navy photo by Cmdr Jason Denny

NATO AWACS in images

13 November 2017

RAF AWACS E3D Sentry having a wash—Crown Copyrighted image

RAF AWACS E3D Sentry having a wash—Crown Copyrighted image

NATO E-3 Sentry—NATO image

NATO E-3 Sentry—NATO image

NATO crew operate Boeing E-3A Sentry Airborne Warning & Control System (AWACS) aircraft sensors—NATO image

NATO E-3 Sentry—NATO image

NATO E-3 Sentry cockpit—NATO image