With the arrival of the first Airbus (CASA) CN235-300 at 50 Transport Squadron (l’escadron de transport (ET) 50) at La Réunion on 4 June 2015, the end of the C.160 Transall as France’s key air asset in the southern Indian Ocean has started.
Coming in from BA110 Creil the first Armée de l’Air (AdlA) to serve at the island about 500 miles (800 km) east of Madagaskar made stop overs in Algeria, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania before arriving on its new home base. A second CN235-300 will follow by mid-July.
The first of the two C.160 that currently form the Transall detachment that has been active at La Réunion since 1973 will leave after the second CN235 arrives. The second C.160 is planned to fly back to France in early August, according to a statement by the French Ministry of Defence.
The AdlA CN235s to operate from La Réunion are part of a batch of eight received in 2013.
Czech, Hungarian and Swedish Saab JAS 39 Gripens fighters show themselves from every angle during exercise Lion Effort 2015 in the Czech Republic these days. In-flight pictures are a top priority for many. However, not all are aware of the effort and preparations that goes into air-to-air footage.
See here and here for more recent air-to-air footage on Airheadsfly.com.
The actual release of the camera shutter is the culmination of a complex process which eventually makes the day for some of the photographers who get the chance to zoom in on the Gripen flying over Čáslav airbase, where over two dozen Saab Gripens operate alongside each other for two weeks.
This photo shoot was attended by a total of five Gripen jets – one Czech and two Hungarian and Swedish each – as well as one Czech Air Force L-159 ALCA and a CASA C-295.
Preparations begin long before the aircraft are launched. It takes a lot of coordination for the fighter pilots to join up with a Czech Air Force CASA C-295 transport aircraft from Prague-Kbely airbase, carrying the photographers and their equipment – on a space available basis.
Planning the mission involves a pilot briefing to decide which jets will be chosen for the photo session. Subsequently the choreography of the birds is coordinated with the photographers. Together with the pilots they arrange formations that allow unique and visually interesting aspects.
When everything is sorted out and agreed, the participants – jet and transport aircraft crews, the photographers – have to wait for their take off times and hope that the weather will hold.
The top priority is always on the safety of all involved. Various other factors need to be taken into account such as the speed, positioning and altitude of the fighters and the photo platform. Therefore pilots have designed each passing manoeuvre and brought it to perfection – all pilots exactly know their role in the photo shoot.
Once airborne the CASA and Gripen pilots maintain radio contact permanently to handle any challenges that may occur. Everyone involved – the jet pilots and the transport aircraft crews as well as ground controllers and ground handling crews – did an excellent professional job. And as you can see for yourself, the results show.
Lion Effort continues until 23 May, when an airshow at Čáslav celebrates the end of the exercise as well as ten years of flying the Gripen in the Czech Republic.
The Czech Air Force keeps its active combat fleet on 56 aircraft in 2015, the Czech Ministry of Defence acknowledged.
Spearhead of the force are 14 SAAB JAS 39C/D Gripen multi-role fighters, supported by 25 indigenous-developed Vodochody L-159 ALCAs. This brings the total fixed-wing combat aircraft fleet to 39. Closer to the ground 17 Mil Mi-24 and Mi-35 Hind attack helicopters provide a key function on the battlefield, giving the Czech a strenght of 56 aircraft.
Besides the combat aircraft the Czech Air Force in 2015 keeps 9 L-39 advanced training aircraft, 17 transport and observation aircraft (L-410, Yak-40, CL-601 Challenger, A319CJ, CASA/Airbus C295M), plus 35 unarmed transport helicopters (Mi-8, Mi-17 / Mi-171S, W-3A Sokol).
Source: Ministerstvo Obrany České Republiky (MOCR)
What do you do when you want an airbase, but there is none. Then you just create it out of sand. The first tactical airlifters have already landed.
That is in short what the French Air Force Corps of Engineers is doing in the Niger desert. The 25th Régiment du Génie de l’Air (25e RGA). In Madama the French are creating new temporary airfields to support Operation Barkhane. That is the combined armed operations in the former French colonies in central Africa that include Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger and the Central African Republic to fight armed terrorists and rebel groups in the Sahel / Sahara Region.
On 4 December 2014 a French Air Force (AdlA) CASA (Airbus) CN235 landed on the runway of Madama, after leaving N’Djamena n Chad 3 hours and 40 minutes earlier. A C160 Transall followed on 7 December. Two C160s are already operating at Diori Hamani International Airport of the Niger capital if Niamey and fly in turn to Madama.
The 25e RGA made the Madama runway in little than a month time, from 5 to 30 November. It meant the recreation of the old track of 800 by 500 metres (2400 x 1500 feet). Leveling and reinforcing the ground included adding water – a scarce fluid in the region – to make it more compact to hold airlifters. The second phase of the project, which has just begun, consists of an extension of an additional 500 meter (1500 feet) track to reach a final length of 1800 meters (5400 feet). The Madame airfield will include a ramp, two aircraft parking locations and several helicopter landing zones.
The Ecuadorian Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Ecuatoriana) received the first of three new Airbus (EADS / CASA) C295Ms on 7 August 2014. The plane was escorted by two of the FAE’s Super Tucano light attack aircraft on its way in to Eloy Alfaro de Manta Airbase.
The plances replace the Avro (Hawker Siddeley) HS748 with No. 1112 Squadron, after the HS748 has served the Latin American country for more than 40 years. With the new C295M (FAE-1030) arriving, one of the HS748s discharged of its duties shortly after the arrival ceremony.