Dutch F-16s snap 3 million images of Afghanistan

RecceLite pod on a RNLAF F-16 (Image © NL Ministry of Defence)
RecceLite pod on a RNLAF F-16 (Image © NL Ministry of Defence)

A Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 fighter made the 3 millionth Dutch image of Afghanistan with the photo reconnaissance system RecceLite in mid-June.

The Koninlijke Luchtmacht (KLu) detachment has been using the recce pod in Afghanistan since 2009, making tens of thousands of photos every day. They help to detect so-called improvised explosive devices (‘home-made bombs’) that pose a threat to soldiers and civilians on the ground.

According to the Dutch Ministry of Defence F-16s of the Royal Netherlands Air Force are the only assets in northern Afghanistan to use advanced photo recon technology.

KLu F-16 also provide close air support when requested by NATO/ISAF command and have been doing that ever since the multi-role fighters were first deployed in the Asian country in 2002.

Source: Press release NL MoD

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400th Embraer Phenom in business

The Embraer Phenom 100 and 300 (Image © Embraer)
The Embraer Phenom 100 and 300 (Image © Embraer)
Embraer recently delivered its 400th Phenom business jet. The German Hansgrohe Group got the Phenom 300 at the aircraft factory in Brazil, according to an Embraer press release.

The Phenom is a entry-level, light business jet fairly which gains popularity amongst corporate users. 60 Phenoms fly in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, most of the remaining 340 in North and South America.

The Phenom family consists of the Phenom 100 and the more advanced Phenom 300. The 300 has a range of 1,971 miles (3,650 km) with 6 occupants and reserve fuel. At sea level it needs 3,138 feet (956 m) to take-off and 2.621 feet (799 m) to land. Its regular high speed cruise is 453 knots, while it has a service ceiling of 45,000 feet.

Source: Embraer Executive Jets

German Special Forces choose most powerful EC145

The US Army has ordered 322 EC145s, dubbed UH-72A, of which 270 have been delivered by June 2013. (Image © EADS North America)
The US Army has ordered 322 EC145s, dubbed UH-72A, of which 270 have been delivered by June 2013. (Image © EADS North America)
The German Special Forces (Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK)) have choosen the most powerful EC145 helicopter for its special ops. Fifteen so-called EC645 T2 Light Utility Helicopters (LUH) will begin to arrive late 2015. According to the Eurocopter press release final delivery is planned for mid-2017.

The LUH contract enhances the Special Forces Command’s operational capability. The day and night missions that these helicopters will perform include insertion and extraction of special ops, fire support and reconnaissance.

The EC645 T2 LUH features a modern digital cockpit with full night vision and a 4-axis autopilot. Its communication equipment including tactical radios enables interoperability among NATO forces. Special ops teams can quickly access the aircraft thanks to its spacious cabin, which has two large sliding side doors and double doors at the rear. The helicopter’s maximum take-off weight is 3.7 tons. Troop safety is improved by the Fenestron shrouded tail rotor, particularly for flight operations in confined landing sites and whenever the rotor is turning on ground.

In addition, the mission equipment packages include fast rope system, cargo hooks and hoists. The aircraft are also equipped with pintle armament and electro-optical sensors. A self-protection system and ballistic protection further increase crew safety and aircraft survivability. The EC645 T2 is powered by two Turbomeca Arriel 2E engines and is equipped with dual-channel full authority digital engine control (FADEC).

The helicopter can be strategically airlifted in an Airbus A400M and quickly prepared for the mission upon arrival in a theater of operations.

The contract, worth a total of 194 million euros, includes not just the helicopters but also the related equipment packages to allow KSK to carry out its special operations missions. About 600 helicopters of the EC145 family have been delivered to more than 40 countries.

Source: Press Release Eurocopter

Canada receives first Chinook CH-147F

First RCAF Chinook CH-147F arrives at Ottawa (Image © Ken Allan / RCAF)
First RCAF Chinook CH-147F arrives at Ottawa (Image © Ken Allan / RCAF)
Canada’s new Chinook CH-147F medium-to-heavy-lift helicopter landed at the Ottawa International Airport direct from the Boeing plant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Tuesday, June 26, 2013. The CH-147F continued to its new home at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa where it will eventually be joined by 14 others as part of the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Government of Canada’s purchase of these helicopters from Boeing.

Source: RCAF

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French Mirage 2000 rotation Mali

The three rotated Frech Mirage 2000Ds at Bamako, Mali (Image © EMA / Ministère de la Défense)
The three rotated Frech Mirage 2000Ds at Bamako, Mali (Image © EMA / Ministère de la Défense)

The French Air Force rotated their Mirage 2000D deployment in support of Opération Serval, the French anti-rebel military deployment in Mali.

Three Mirage 2000D of the fighter detachment (DETCHASSE) at Bamako, Mali flew home to the 133 Air Base Nancy-Ochey. Three Mirage 2000Ds from Nancy landed on June 22nd at Bamako, supported by a C-135 tanker from 125 Airbase Istres.

Since the beginning of the Operation Serval the Mirage 2000D DETCHASSE at Bamako conducted 435 missions, totaling nearly 2,200 flight hours.

About 3,200 French troops are currently on Malian soil with a mission to permanently weaken islamists rebels.

Sources: EMA / Ministère de la Défense de la France

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