NATO maritime patrol aircraft of France and Canada have come to the rescue of the Royal Air Force and are hunting a Russian sub off the coast of Scotland, according to some British sources on Monday 23 November 2015.
The Russian submarine was apparently detected a number of days ago just north of the United Kingdom. With the RAF having no anti-submarine capacity of its own, the UK Ministry of Defence called Paris and Ottawa. Two French Navy Dassault Atlantique 2 and a Royal Canadian Air Force Lockheed CP-140 Polaris are now forming the make-shift airborne maritime patrol fleet, operating out of RAF Lossiemouth.
London officially acknowledges the presence of “foreign aircraft” at Lossiemouth, but does not comment in length on their operations. Royal Navy sources however have confirmed the involvement of at least one frigate and a hunter-killer submarine in offshore operations in the area without releasing details.
Boeing P-8 Poseidon
If the NATO aircraft are indeed actively involved in “the hunt for Red November”, it marks the third time in 12 months this happens. Relieve is on the way, the Ministry of Defence just announced the purchase of nine Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft today. But since it will take a few years for the production to be done, NATO will likely have to step in again to serve Her Majesty’s once tough air weapon.
Six Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CF-188 Hornets of 4 Wing left their homebase Cold Lake in Alberta on 21 October for Kuwait, to join the international air force fighting the so-called Islamic State forces in Iraq. The departure comes after Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF) F-16s in Kuwait dropped their first bombs on a ISIS targets over the weekend.
The Canadian detachment also includes a CC-150 Polaris from 8 Wing at Trenton in Ontario and two CP-140 Aurora surveillance aircraft from 14 Wing at Greenwood in Nova Scotia. The Canadians dubbed their part of the bigger picture Operation Impact. The Hornets will transit through 3 Wing Bagotville, Quebec, before flying to Kuwait.
Approximately 600 personnel, including aircrew support elements such as command and control, and logistics will be part of the operations, including 70 members of the Canadian Armed Forces who are already working with American forces in an advisory and assistance role by providing strategic and tactical advice to Iraqi security forces.
Footage: CBS News via YouTube
After two weeks of delay due to a diplomatic blunder the RDAF F-16s in Kuwait performed their first live-fire combat action over Iraq over the weekend. The seven Danish Vipers (four operational, three in reserve) made 11 sorties and dropped bombs on multiple locations, according to the Danish Ministry of Defence. The Danes operate out of Ahmed Al Jaber Airbase, which might also be the location for the RCAF detachment.
The Royal Canadian Air Force will deploy up to six CF-188 Hornets, a CC-150 Polaris tanker/airlifter and two CP-140 Aurora MPA/reconnaissance aircraft to a yet unknown airbase in Southwest Asia for a six-month deployment. The Canadian aircraft will join the bombing and air support campaign under US command against positions of the so-called Islamic State forces (ISIS / ISIL) in Iraq and Syria.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper told the Canadian House of Commons on Friday about the planned deployment. The mission will likely also involve airlift support from the RCAF’s CC-177 Globemaster IIIs and possibly even CC-130J Hercules airlifters. The CC-150 Polaris – which is an Airbus A330MRTT – will be flying mainly as a tanker, while the pair of Lockheed CP-140s (Canadian version of the P-3 Orion) will be engaged in collecting data and might even make bomb damage assessment photos after air strikes.
Like the Netherlands the Canadian deployment will be the second foreign operation at the same time, as six CF-188s currently operate from Šiauliai Airbase in Lithuania as part of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission.