Tag Archives: A109

Photo Feature: Cold Response 2016

About 15,000 troops, including 2,000 of non-NATO member Sweden, 40 aircraft and helicopters, about a thousand vehicles and several ships and boats are currently kicking a** in Northern and Central Norway. Exercise Cold Response included the taking of the normally peaceful village of Namsos, situated on the shores of beautiful fjords.

The 7th edition of the multinational winter war exercise hosted by Norway brings units from mainly NATO countries together, to show what they can as “bad” and “good” force against each other. To train for a possible real war scenario and to show NATO’s current strange “friend” Russia that the North American-European alliance still can.

The Swedes participating took the run-up to Cold Response very seriously, as you could read earlier here at Airheadsfly.com.

We selected some of the great images of this years edition made by Norwegian defence photographers for you. Have fun!

Featured image (top): From the back seat of a RNoAF F-16BM, closing in on the American B-52. (Image © 331 SQN / Forsvaret)

A F-16 from the Royal Norwegian Air Force taking off from Bodø Main Air Station to escort a USAF B-52 bomber over Namsos. The departure marks the start of the winter exercise Cold Response 2016 (Image © Gard Eirik Seter / Luftforsvaret)
A F-16 from the Royal Norwegian Air Force taking off from Bodø Main Air Station to escort a USAF B-52 bomber over Namsos. The departure marks the start of the winter exercise Cold Response 2016 (Image © Gard Eirik Seter / Luftforsvaret)
A short time later followed by a Belgian Air Component F-16AM (Image © Gard Eirik Seter / Luftforsvaret)
A short time later followed by a Belgian Air Component F-16AM (Image © Gard Eirik Seter / Luftforsvaret)
From the back seat of a RNoAF F-16BM, closing in on the American B-52. (Image © 331 SQN / Forsvaret)
From the back seat of a RNoAF F-16BM, closing in on the American B-52. (Image © 331 SQN / Forsvaret)
Hi Buff! Seen from the back seat of a RNoAF F-16BM (Image © 331 SQN / Forsvaret)
Hi Buff! Seen from the back seat of a RNoAF F-16BM (Image © 331 SQN / Forsvaret)
Once about to be axed due to budget cuts, the Royal Netherlands Air Force deployed Cougars both in the old camo as well as the newer overall grey paint scheme to Cold Response 2016  (Image ©  Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvaret)
Once about to be axed due to budget cuts, the Royal Netherlands Air Force deployed Cougars both in the old camo as well as the newer overall grey paint scheme to Cold Response 2016 (Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvaret)
The Marines have landed, or almost, as this Sikorsky CH-53E is about to put some boots on the ground (Image ©  Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvaret)
The Marines have landed, or almost, as this Sikorsky CH-53E is about to put some boots on the ground (Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvaret)
And there they are, as a small surprise coming from the USMC Sea Stallion, Royal Netherlands Marines in the Scandinavian snow ... looking fancy and all in their new ski goggles (Image ©  Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvaret)
And there they are, as a small surprise coming from the USMC Sea Stallion, Royal Netherlands Marines in the Scandinavian snow … looking fancy and all in their new ski goggles (Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvaret)
And especially for those who like photoshopped blue skies (we don't discuss taste) here are the two Dutch Cougars and US Marines CH-53E navigating through the Norwegian landscape (Image ©  Julie Kristiansen Johansen / Forsvaret)
And especially for those who like photoshopped blue skies (we don’t discuss taste) here are the two Dutch Cougars and US Marines CH-53E navigating through the Norwegian landscape (Image © Julie Kristiansen Johansen / Forsvaret)
The crew of a Royal Norwegian Armed Forces Bell 412 at work (Image © Kristian Kapelrud / Forsvaret)
The crew of a Royal Norwegian Armed Forces Bell 412 at work (Image © Kristian Kapelrud / Forsvaret)
After dropping off Dutch troops, the Royal Netherlands Air Force Cougar takes off (Image © Annette Ask / Forsvaret)
After dropping off Dutch troops, the Royal Netherlands Air Force Cougar takes off (Image © Annette Ask / Forsvaret)
A rather gorgious image of a Swedish HKP 15 (Agusta A109) at sundown (Image © Kristian Kapelrud / Forsvaret)
A rather gorgious image of a Swedish HKP 15 (Agusta A109) at sundown (Image © Kristian Kapelrud / Forsvaret)
Photo flight of the naval battle group steaming impressively forwards (Image © Elias Engevik)
Photo flight of the naval battle group steaming impressively forwards (Image © Elias Engevik)
Norwegian and Beligan F-16s preparing for another mission (Image © Olav Standal Tangen / Forsvaret)
Norwegian and Beligan F-16s preparing for another mission (Image © Olav Standal Tangen / Forsvaret)

Belgian choppers wrap up Czech exercise

The Belgian Air Component’s three Agusta A109 utility, armed scout and armed escort helicopters are wrapping up their bilateral exercise with the Czech armed forces on 10 April 2015. Exercise South Plains saw action of the rotary wing and ground forces of both countries from the beginning of April. Base of operations: Námest in the Czech Republic.

(Image © Dennis Spronk)
Airheadsfly.com exclusive report from Beauvechain Air Base

Beauvechain Air Base is normally the home for the A109s, but not for three lucky ones and their crew that were involved in a ten-day exercise in the Czech Republic. They were engaged in night flying missions, low altitude flying, close air support, and training for joint missions (COMAO – Composite Air Operation). The helicopters stayed mainly close to Námest, but used the Libava Military Training Area for live air-to-ground firing practices.

The Belgians were welcomed in style, landing in quite snowy conditions on the 1 April. Námest is home to the Czech Air Force’s 22 Wing (22.Základna Vrtulníkového Letectva (22.zL)), operating the Mil Mi-24V and Mi-35 “Hind” attack helicopters, as well as the Mil Mi-171Sh “Hip” assault/transport choppers.

The next exercise involving both Belgian and Czech helicopter units is planned for May this year during the Tactical Helicopter Procedures Update which will take place at the Belgian Beauvechain Base, then again in June in Italy during the Italian Blade Exercise, followed by the Trident Juncture Exercise in Spain in September.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, based on source information provided by the Ministerstvo obrany ČR
Featured image: The three Belgian Air Component A109s just after arrival at Námest in the Czech Republic (Image © CPT Jana Skrivankova / Ministerstvo obrany ČR)

First week at sea for Swedish-Dutch naval force Atalanta

The Swedish-Dutch naval force on its way to protect civilian shipping and fight pirates in the Gulf of Aden – near Somalia – as part of the European Union operation Atalanta has had its first week at sea.

On Saturday 24 January 2015 the Royal Netherlands Navy Landing Platform Dock (LPD) L801 HNLMS Johan de Witt left the quay of Dutch Naval Base Den Helder. On board the command element of the next rotation of operation Atalanta: about 40 Swedish military personnel including the Swedish Force Commander Admiral Jonas Haggren, the Force Headquarters (FHQ) staff, two fast combat boats (CB90s) and two Swedish Armed Forces HKP 15s (Agusta 109) with crew and ground personnel.

Related news: ↑ Two dozen new Swedish combat pilots

NH90
The Royal Netherlands Navy adds a NHIndustries NH90 – flown in cooperation with the Royal Netherlands Air Force – and about 360 personnel to man and operate the ship, a landing vessel (LCU), four fast FRISC RIBs, the Marine Corps boarding teams and the on-board hospital.

Swedish choppers
During the first week at sea, the combined Swedish-Dutch naval force trained on procedures and joint operability. Ship, crew and helicopters are expected to be operational in the mission area on 6 February. The joint unit is expected back in Den Helder in May 2015. When the Swedish choppers are home again, they will first go to the vet.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (above): The two Swedish Armed Forces HKP 15s on the flight deck of the Johan de Witt, moared in Den Helder harbour before departure (Image © Mats Nyström/ Combat Camera / Försvarsmakten)

One of the two HKP 15s the Swedes contribute to EUNAVFOR ME04 coming in to land on Royal Netherlands Navy Landing Platform Dock Johan de Witt. Notice submarine support vessel A900 Mercuur (Image © Mats Nyström/ Combat Camera / Försvarsmakten)
One of the two HKP 15s the Swedes contribute to EUNAVFOR ME04 coming in to land on Royal Netherlands Navy Landing Platform Dock Johan de Witt. Notice submarine support vessel A900 Mercuur (Image © Mats Nyström/ Combat Camera / Försvarsmakten)
The combined Swedish-Dutch naval force to EUNAVFOR ME04 also includes a Royal Netherlands Air Force NH90. Seen here on board the Royal Netherlands Navy frigate Evertsen during a port call to Stockholm on 11 October 2014 (Image © Marcel Burger)
The combined Swedish-Dutch naval force to EUNAVFOR ME04 also includes a Royal Netherlands Air Force NH90. Seen here on board the Royal Netherlands Navy frigate Evertsen during a port call to Stockholm on 11 October 2014 (Image © Marcel Burger)
The two Swedish Armed Forces HKP 15s on the flight deck of the Johan de Witt (Image © Mats Nyström/ Combat Camera / Försvarsmakten)
The two Swedish Armed Forces HKP 15s on the flight deck of the Johan de Witt (Image © Mats Nyström/ Combat Camera / Försvarsmakten)

Two dozen new Swedish combat pilots

UPDATED 30 JANUARY 2015 | The Swedish Air Force welcomed two dozen new combat pilots during a ceremony at Linköping-Malmen Airbase on 22 January 2015. For a small air force as the Flygvapnet quite a substantial amount.

Twenty-two guys and two women received their wings after successfully finishing the advanced flight training course on the indigenous SAAB SK 60 (Model 105) jet trainer or on German Army helicopters. Eight guys will fly the JAS 39 Gripen multi-role fighter, of which 88 C/D-versions are on strength with the Flygvapnet. Four graduated male cadet pilots will fly either the TP 84 (C-130) or Saab 340.

The other 10 men and female cadet pilots Therese Hörström and Caroline Herrstedt will fly helicopters, with Herrstadt performing her final examination flight on the Swedish Armed Forces HKP 15 (Agusta A109). The basic helicopter training was done in Bückeburg, with the German Army’s School of Army Aviation (Heeresfliegerwaffenschule) on the Eurocopter (Airbus Helicopters) EC135, while the fixed-wing training was done on the SAAB SK 60s.

The SAAB SK 60 serves the Swedish Armed Forces since 1967. Of the 150 that were delivered about two dozen retain full flight status, with many in reserve. A new, upgraded version was introduced in Autumn 2013, with this SK 60AU for the first time having GPS system plus other navigation aids to help the pilot navigate more precisely, a new radio with a sort of Bitching Betty function to warn the pilot for a too low altitude, plus sound effects that give the pilot the same warnings for failure or G-force stress as in the JAS 39 Gripen fighter jet.

Austria flies the SK 60 as well, where it is designated SAAB 105OE. Airheadsfly.com editors visited these Austrian Tigers last Summer, so check out our full special feature here.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger

↑ Check out our continuing coverage of the Swedish Air Force

A Swedish Air Force SAAB SK 60 after landing (Image © Marcel Burger)
A Swedish Air Force SAAB SK 60 after landing (Image © Marcel Burger)
Three Flygvapnet JAS 39 Gripens break over Ronneby Airbase (Image © Marcel Burger)
Three Flygvapnet JAS 39 Gripens break over Ronneby Airbase (Image © Marcel Burger)

Overview: Albanian Air Force

Albanian Air Force (Forca Ajrore; FAj), status as of 1 January 2015
(© 2015 Airheadsfly.com. Featured image: The Albanian Air Force is a sole rotary air arm since 2006 (Image © FAj / Forcat e Amatosura))

Active number of aircraft Albanian Air Force: 22

  • 2x Airbus Helicopters (Eurocopter) AS532AL transport helicopters.
  • 1x Airbus Helicopters (Eurocopter) AS532AL medevac helicopter.
  • 1x Airbus Helicopters (Eurocopter) AS532AL combat search and rescue (CSAR) helicopter.
  • 8x MBB Bo 105 light utility helicopters.
  • 3x Agusta Bell (Bell) 205 utility and transport helicopters. Status of another four unknown.
  • 5x Agusta Bell (Bell) 206 (Jet Ranger) scout and utility helicopters. Status of another two unknown.
  • 1x AgustaWestland A109 utility helicopter
  • 1x Airbus Helicopters (Eurocopter) EC145 VIP transport helicopter

Aircraft ordered: 2

  • 2x Airbus Helicopters (Eurocopter) EC145 utility, rescue and disaster relief helicopters.

Airbases: 2 (plus Tirana IAP as a reserve field)

(Source: Forcat e Amatosura)

    • Färke Airbase
      • 4x AS532AL
      • 1x EC145
      • 1x A109
      • Regular operations by Bo 105, AB 205 and AB 206
      • Stored: several Harbin helicopters.
    • Kuçovë Airbase
      • Regular operations by Bo 105, AB 205 and AB 206. Uncertainty about which types are officially based here.
      • Stored: Chengdu F-7A (12) plus many dozens of MiG-15s, MiG-17s and MiG-19s and Shenyang F-5 and F-6.
    • Nënë Tereza / Tirana International Airport
      • Support for foreign visits and reserve field.

    Shooting Range (aka very nice shots)

    One of the four new AS532AL Cougar helicopters of the Albanian Air Force (Image © FAj / Forcat e Amatosura)
    One of the four new AS532AL Cougar helicopters of the Albanian Air Force (Image © FAj / Forcat e Amatosura)

    The MBB Bo 105s from the backbone of the Albanian Air Force. From the dozen ex-German Air Force machines eight are airworthy One of the four new AS532AL Cougar helicopters of the Albanian Air Force (Image © FAj / Forcat e Amatosura)
    The MBB Bo 105s form the backbone of the Albanian Air Force. From the dozen ex-German Air Force machines eight are airworthy One of the four new AS532AL Cougar helicopters of the Albanian Air Force (Image © FAj / Forcat e Amatosura)

    The Bo 105s are known to practically land anywhere (Image © FAj / Forcat e Amatosura)
    The Bo 105s are known to practically land anywhere (Image © FAj / Forcat e Amatosura)
    And with anywhere, we also mean the rooftop of houses during emergency relief operations (Image © FAj / Forcat e Amatosura)
    And by anywhere, we also mean the rooftop of houses during emergency relief operations (Image © FAj / Forcat e Amatosura)
    Operating easily together are the licensed versions of the Iroquois and the Jet Ranger, made in Italy as Agusta-Bell AB205 and AB206 (Image © FAj / Forcat e Amatosura)
    Operating easily together are the licensed versions of the Iroquois and the Jet Ranger, made in Italy as Agusta-Bell AB 205 and AB 206 (Image © FAj / Forcat e Amatosura)
    The Agusta-Bell AB205 is the standard troop insertion helicopter  (Image © FAj / Forcat e Amatosura)
    The Agusta-Bell AB 205 is the standard troop insertion helicopter (Image © FAj / Forcat e Amatosura)
    One doesn't easily recognize the single A109C as a military helicopter, but actually is  (Image © FAj / Forcat e Amatosura)
    One doesn’t easily recognize the single A109C as a military helicopter, but it actually is (Image © FAj / Forcat e Amatosura)
    Flashy red is this VIP EC145, soon to be joined by a pair of emergency relief versions that come instead of a fifth Cougar. That AS532 crashed before it was ever delivered. (Image © FAj / Forcat e Amatosura)
    Flashy red and white is this VIP EC145, soon to be joined by a pair of emergency relief versions that come instead of a fifth Cougar. That AS532 crashed before it was ever delivered. (Image © FAj / Forcat e Amatosura)
    Kuçovë Airbase is where the Albanian Air Force keeps its fighter aircraft in still pretty fair shape. Until 2005 the country operated a mixture of Russian-made and Chinese copies of the MiG-15, MiG-17, MiG-19 and MiG-21. Four of them form an honour guard at Kuçovë (Image © FAj / Forcat e Amatosura)
    Kuçovë Airbase is where the Albanian Air Force keeps its fighter aircraft in still pretty fair shape. Until 2005 the country operated a mixture of Russian-made and Chinese copies of the MiG-15, MiG-17, MiG-19 and a dozen Chengdu F-7s (Chinese-made MiG-21s). Four of the older MiG-types form a honour guard at westside of the field of Kuçovë (Image © FAj / Forcat e Amatosura)
    Dozens of the old fighter force are parked at Kuçovë, where they get visited every once in a while (Image © FAj / Forcat e Amatosura)
    Many dozens of the old fighter force are parked at Kuçovë, where they get visited every once in a while (Image © FAj / Forcat e Amatosura)
    Rumours still have it that some of the Nanchang CJ-6 trainers will be brought back into service, but so far none of these have been confirmed by the Albanian Ministry of Defence (Image © FAj / Forcat e Amatosura)
    Rumours still have it that some of the Nanchang CJ-6 trainers will be brought back into service, but so far none of these have been confirmed by the Albanian Ministry of Defence (Image © FAj / Forcat e Amatosura)
    Officially no longer on strength are ten surviving Harbin Y-5s, the Chinese copy of the legendary Antonov AN-2 ("Colt")  (Image © FAj / Forcat e Amatosura)
    Officially no longer on strength are nine surviving Harbin Y-5s, the Chinese copy of the legendary Antonov AN-2 (“Colt”) (Image © FAj / Forcat e Amatosura)
    Old times: an Albanian MiG-19 rolled out of its shelter. (Image © FAj / Forcat e Amatosura)
    Old times: an Albanian MiG-19 rolled out of its shelter at Kuçovë (Image © FAj / Forcat e Amatosura)