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Syrian Strike—the Naval Role

15 April 2018

Unfortunately there is not the same analysis as in yesterday’s post regarding the planning intricacy of the three nation strike against Syrian poison gas facilities. Let us also not forget Israel’s strike nearly a week ago. Yesterday’s post heavily leaned toward the Air Forces dimension. Not to leave the U.S. Navy out, here are photos released by the Navy on the recent strike where Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles were employed.

14 April 2018—the guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) launching Tomahawk land attack missiles against Syrian poison gas targets—U.S. Navy photo/Lt. j.g Matthew Daniels

14 April 2018—the guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) launching Tomahawk land attack missiles against Syrian poison gas targets—U.S. Navy photo/Lt. j.g Matthew Daniels

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Syrian Strike—the intricacy of the planning

14 April 2018

This post on The Aviationist has a remarkable assessment of how the recent strike by NATO forces—using USA, UK and Armée de l’Air Française aircraft and crew, was accomplished. The knowledge is deep and amazingly was used from publicly available information as well as their knowledge of how military thinking operates. The planning as well as logistics involved shows how involved something as simple sending as a missile strike is in reality. Underlying the mission planning and accomplishment is the asymmetrical aspect of the Syrian conflict with the hundreds of millions dollars of hardware and ordnance utilized against what may have been a relatively inexpensive poison gas attack. Greatly important nonetheless less, which goes without saying. Below are photos of the recce and strike aircraft involved to accompany The Aviationist’s post and its plethora of detail as well as understanding.

The RC-135V/W Rivet Joint. Speed: RC-135V/W 500 mph. Dimensions: RC-135V/W wingspan 131 ft.; length 135 ft.; height 42 ft. Range: 4,000 miles unrefueled. Crew: Up to 27—Department of Defense image

RQ-4 Global Hawk—U.S. Air Force Photo/Master Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol

RQ-4A Global Hawk: High-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial reconnaissance system. Speed: 390 mph. Dimensions: Wingspan 116 ft. 2 in.; length 44 ft. 4 in.; height 15 ft. 2 in. Range: 10,932 miles. Endurance: 35 hours. Crew: Three pilots and sensor operator on the ground—Department of Defense image

A KC-10 Extender—U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Andy M. Kin

B-1B Lancers refueling in-flight from a KC-135 Stratotanker—courtesy photo/Jake Melampy

AGM-86B/C/D Air-launched Cruise Missile. Primary function: Air-to-ground strategic cruise missile. Speed: 550 mph. Dimensions: Wingspan 12 ft.; length 20 ft. 10 in.; body diameter 2 ft. 0.5 in. Range: 1,500 miles. Payload: Nuclear or conventional warhead—Department of Defense image

Frontal view of a Tornado GR4 with 617 Squadron based at RAF Lossiemouth which is pictured fitted with a pair of Storm Shadow cruise missiles directly under the fuselage. This long-range air-launched and conventionally armed missile equips RAF Tornado GR4 squadrons and saw operational service in 2003 with 617 Squadron during combat in Iraq, prior to entering full service in 2004. Post deployment analysis demonstrated the missile’s exceptional accuracy, and the effect on targets was described as devastating. Based on this performance, it is arguably the most advanced weapon of its kind in the world—RAF/MoD image/Crown Copyright

Ventral view of a Tornado GR4 with 617 Squadron based at RAF Lossiemouth which is pictured fitted with a pair of Storm Shadow cruise missiles directly under the fuselage. This long-range air-launched and conventionally armed missile equips RAF Tornado GR4 squadrons and saw operational service in 2003 with 617 Squadron during combat in Iraq, prior to entering full service in 2004. Post deployment analysis demonstrated the missile’s exceptional accuracy, and the effect on targets was described as devastating. Based on this performance, it is arguably the most advanced weapon of its kind in the world—RAF/MoD image/Crown Copyright

First Class Equine Transport refined

14 April 2018

Due to inquiries I’ve revised this post to include more information regarding Boeing’s 777F, its dedicated freighter design based on the 777LR passenger airliner.

Horses traveled on one of the two Boeing 777F Emirates SkyCargo aircraft—Emirates image

The Longines Global Champions Tour is an elite contest for show horses held in a variety of world cities. Logistics challenges included transporting 97 highly expensive horses to four countries in a matter of weeks. These champion horses will tour Liege, Mexico City, Miami and Shanghai in that short period of time. Here they are in transport from Mexico City to Miami.

The Boeing B-777F aircraft is the twin engine purpose-built cargo aircraft with the longest legs—5719 statute miles, fully loaded with 224,900 pounds of cargo and a cruising speed of Mach 0.84. Using the B-777-200LR as the basis the freighter version it has no main cabin windows and an enlarged cargo hatch behind the wing on the left side for loading palleted cargo. The main deck, of course, is designed to handle palleted cargo like the cargo holds of passenger airliners. The main deck can load 22 main sized contoured pallets plus 4 pallets of lesser volume for a total volume of 18,301 ft3. The lower deck holds 6 pallets in the forward hold and four in the rear hold for a total of 4150 ft3. The bulk hold is also on the lower deck and has a 600 ftvolume.

One of the 97—Kellie Jelencovich image

A peak outside of the purpose-built container—Kellie Jelencovich image

Awaiting transport—Kellie Jelencovich image

The last to load—Kellie Jelencovich image

A pair per container—Kellie Jelencovich image

Thomas J. Hudner—Medal of Honer recipient interred

13 April 2018

Medal of Honor recipient retired Capt.Thomas J. Hudner, Jr. addresses friends, Midshipmen and several honored guests during his “Visions of Valor” portrait unveiling in Bancroft Hall at the U.S. Naval Academy in December 2008Thomas J. Hudner—U.S. Navy photo/Mass Comm Spec 2nd Class Kevin S. O’Brien

Accepted into the Naval Academy in 1943, Thomas Hudner was commissioned as an officer of the U.S. Navy in 1946 and became an aviation officer in 1949. On 4 December 1950 Hudner and his squadron were providing air support to American troops during the battle of the Chosin Reservoir in the Korean War when one of Hudner’s squadron mates, Ensign Jesse L. Brown, the first African-American to be trained as a naval aviator, was shot down by enemy anti-aircraft fire. Seeing that Brown was still alive in the wreckage, Hudner decided to crash-land his own aircraft in an effort to render aid to his fellow aviator trapped under the smoking fuselage wreckage in 15° F weather . Hudner made his way to Brown realizing that Brown’s right leg was crushed under the damaged instrument panel of his aircraft. Hudner stayed with Brown, continuing to attempt to free him, until a U.S. Army helicopter arrived to help. Together for almost 45 minutes, Hudner and the helicopter pilot used an axe to hack away at the damaged plane but they could not free Brown. Even an attempt to amputate his leg was not successful. As nightfall approached with the corresponding drop in temperature, Hudner and the helicopter pilot reached a grim decision to leave Brown behind since the pilot would be unable to fly in the dark. Brown was already near death and died shortly afterwards. Hudner’s attempt to save Brown came only two years after the U.S. Navy had made the decision to desegregate. For the rest of his life, Hudner said that the reason he landed to save Brown was because Brown, like all service members, would have done the same for him. On 13 April 1951 Hudner Received the Medal of Honor for his actions at Chosin Reservoir. Capt. Thomas Hudner served 27 years in the U.S. Navy.

 

The Military Funeral Honors Team from the Massachusetts Army National Guard carries the casket of Medal of Honor Recipient Capt. Thomas J. Hudner, Jr., to a plane for transport to Arlington National Cemetery for his final interment. Capt. Hudner, a naval aviator, received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War—U.S. Navy photo/Mass Comm Spec 1st Class Joshua Hammond

The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment “The Old Guard” Caisson Platoon escort with full honors U.S. Navy Capt. Thomas J. Hudner to be interred in Section 54 of Arlington National Cemetery on 4 April 2018—U.S. Army/Elizabeth Fraser

Rear Adm. William J. Galinis saluting the family of Capt. Thomas J. Hudner Jr. after presenting them with the national ensign during Hudner’s funeral at Arlington National Cemetery—U.S. Navy photo/Mass Comm Spec 2nd Class Jackie Hart

First Class Equine Transport

12 April 2018

 

Horses traveled on one of the two Boeing 777F Emirates SkyCargo aircraft — Emirates image

The Longines Global Champions Tour is an elite contest for show horses held in a variety of world cities. Logistics challenges included transporting 97 highly expensive horses to four countries in a matter of weeks. These champion horses will tour Liege, Mexico City, Miami and Shanghai in that short period of time. Here they are in transport from Mexico City to Miami.

One of the 97—Kellie Jelencovich image

A peak outside of the purpose-built container—Kellie Jelencovich image

Awaiting transport—Kellie Jelencovich image

The last to load—Kellie Jelencovich image

A pair per container—Kellie Jelencovich image

 

Spit Mk IX at Boca?

11 April 2018

 

Replica Spitfire Mk IX(?) at the Boca Raton Airport—image courtesy of Steve Moore

Steve Moore caught site of an interesting aircraft project at the airport in Boca Raton FL. Relying on Ross Sharp we note the radiator is under the port wing (Mk IX or later) and the rounded vertical stabilizer (Mk V modified to Mk IX)—so it appears that the plans for the aircraft, if it is a replica, are those of an early Mk IX—or another mark. A beautiful aircraft at a local airport—how nice. Thanks to Steve for the news and the images of this intriguing project.

Replica Spitfire Mk IX(?) at the Boca Raton Airport—image courtesy of Steve Moore

The RAF’s eye in the sky—the Raytheon Sentinel

10 April 2018

 

A Sentinel R1 aircraft of No5 (AC) Sqn based at RAF Waddington is pictured after a heavy snowfall at the base. The Sentinel R1 ASTOR (Airborne Stand-Off Radar) provides long range, battlefield-intelligence, target-imaging and tracking radar for the RAF and the Army in a joint squadron—Crown Copyright/Photographer: SAC Andy Stevens (RAF)

Raytheon’s SentinelR1 is a Bombardier Global Express long range business jet heavily modified to accomplish airborne battlefield surveillance for the RAF. The primary sensor is a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) which is housed in the ventral pod. The SAR can distinguish moving objects from ground clutter. Operating at 40,000 feet, or higher for up to nine hours, the Sentinel aircraft delivers the information to ground stations where the battlefield management occurs—unlike the much larger E-8 JSTARS of the USAF. A pilot and co-pilot are accompanied by a mission commander as well as two image analysts. Defense systems consists of a towed radar decoy as well as chaff and flare dispensers. The Sentinel community must be small as there is a scant handful of the aircraft in service.

Sentinel R.Mk 1 flying over the UK—Crown Copyright

A Sentinel R1 surveillance aircraft of 5 Squadron RAF, at an airfield in the Middle East—Crown Copyright/Photographer: Sgt Laura Bibby RAF

A Sentinel R1 surveillance aircraft of 5 Squadron RAF, at an airfield in the Middle East (note the ventral SAR pod)—Crown Copyright/Photographer: Sgt Laura Bibby RAF

An RAF Sentinel R1 from 5(AC) Sqn at 902 EAW—Crown Copyright/Photographer: Sergeant Ross Tilly (RAF)