Tag Archives: CF-188

Photo Essay: Royal Canadian Air Force extends Impact on ISIS

UPDATED 8 APRIL 2015 | The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) is soon to cross the 500 mission milestone for its CF-188 Hornet multirole fighters assigned to Operation Impact, Canada’s contribution in fighting the so-called Islamic State forces – or Middle East Stabilization Force (MESF) dubbed Operation Inherent Resolve by the United States. As of 30 March 2015 the Canadians have literately brought Impact into Syria, when the earlier limitation of missions only in Iraq was lifted by the government in Ottawa.

A F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft refuels from a RAAF KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft over Iraq. (Image © Sergeant Hamish Paterson / 1st JPAU / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
Related feature: Photo Essay: The RAAF wages war against ISIS
Canada’s CF-188 Hornets conducted their first airstrike in Syria on 8 April 2015. Two Hornets, using precision-guided munitions, were involved in an attack of an ISIL garrison near Ar Raqqah, Syria. A total of 10 coalition aircraft, including six aircraft from the United States were involved in this airstrike.

Deployed
Six McDonnell Douglas (Boeing) CF-188 Hornet (F/A-18) fighter / strike / attack, one Airbus CC-150T Polaris (A330 MRTT) tanker/transport and two Lockheed CP-140 Aurora (P-3 Orion) reconnaissance and bomb-damage assessment aircraft have been deployed to Kuwait to what the Canadians call Camp Patrice Vincent (possibly Ahmed Al Jaber Airbase) since 28 October 2014. Counted from their first operational day, 30 October, until 5 April 2015 the Hornets flew 476 sorties, the Polaris 123 sorties and the Auroras 133 missions. CF-188 Hornets conducted Canada’s first combat airstrike on ISIL targets on 2 November 2014.

The CC-150T delivered 7,278,000 pounds of fuel to MESF coalition aircraft during its almost five months of operations. Six hundred Canadian military personnel are part of the Joint Task Force-Iraq (JTF-I). As officially released images show they sometimes use US Army Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks to support their operations or training.

In a photo that almost looks like one taken on board an aircraft carrier technicians with Air Task Force - Iraq work through the night maintaining a CF-188 fighter jet at Camp Patrice Vincent, Kuwait during Operation Impact on 26 March 2015. (Image © Op Impact, DND)
In a photo that almost looks like one taken on board an aircraft carrier technicians with Air Task Force – Iraq work through the night maintaining a CF-188 fighter jet at Camp Patrice Vincent, Kuwait during Operation Impact on 26 March 2015. (Image © Op Impact, DND)
A CC-150 Polaris sits on the tarmac in Kuwait as the crew prepares for their next mission over Iraq during Operation Impact on 6 February 2015. (Image © OP Impact, DND)
A CC-150 Polaris sits on the tarmac in Kuwait as the crew prepares for their next mission over Iraq during Operation Impact on 6 February 2015. (Image © OP Impact, DND)
A Royal Canadian Air Force technician guides a CP-140 Aurora to its parking area during Operation Impact in Kuwait on 5 February 2015. (Image © Canadian Forces Combat Camera, DND)
A Royal Canadian Air Force technician guides a CP-140 Aurora to its parking area during Operation Impact in Kuwait on 5 February 2015. (Image © Canadian Forces Combat Camera, DND)

Airlifter
None of the officially assigned aircraft to MESF was the first Canadian plane to fly a mission against ISIS/ISIL. The honour comes to a Boeing CC-177 Globemaster III, the RCAF recently received its fifth aircraft of this type, on 28 August 2014.

Cool cockpit image of the Rafales at their petrol station in the skies above Iraq in September 2014 (Image © Armée de l'Air)
Check our Overview:
Air Assets deployed against ISIS
That strategic airlifter delivered 35,000 pounds of military hardware donated by the Republic of Albania to Iraqi security forces, followed by a similar flight on 18 September with military supplies donated by the Czech Republic. In total RCAF airlifters made 25 flights in August and September, delivering 1,600,000 pounds (725,000 kg) of military supplies including small arms and ammunition to Iraq from donating countries via the airfields of Baghdad and Erbil. Both the CC-177 as well as the CC-130 Hercules have been providing critical airlift to the Canadian forces of MESF ever since then.

As of 30 March 2015 the Royal Canadian Air Force has the mandate to bring Operation Impact to Syria, with the Canadian government extending the mission until at least 1 April 2016.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, including source information provided by the Canadian Armed Forces
Featured image (top): Nice view from a CC-150 Polaris at an escort RCAF CF-188 during Operation Impact on 4 February 2015
(Image © Canadian Forces Combat Camera, DND)

A CP-140 Aurora prepares to depart for its 100th combat mission over Iraq during Operation Impact on 23 February 2015. (Image © OP Impact, DND)
A CP-140 Aurora prepares to depart for its 100th combat mission over Iraq during Operation Impact on 23 February 2015. (Image © OP Impact, DND)
Two CF-188 Hornets escort a CC-150 Polaris after being refueled during Operation Impact on 4 February 2015 (Image © Canadian Forces Combat Camera, DND)
Two CF-188 Hornets escort a CC-150 Polaris after being refueled during Operation Impact on 4 February 2015 (Image © Canadian Forces Combat Camera, DND)
Royal Canadian Air Force members of Air Task Force-Iraq with a US Army UH-60 Black Hawk during a combat search and rescue exercise held for personnel of the Middle East Stabilization Force on 16 March 2015.  The image has been slightly digitally altered because of "operational security" (Image © Op Impact, DND)
Royal Canadian Air Force members of Air Task Force-Iraq with a US Army UH-60 Black Hawk during a combat search and rescue exercise held for personnel of the Middle East Stabilization Force on 16 March 2015. The image has been slightly digitally altered because of “operational security” (Image © Op Impact, DND)
A CC-130 Hercules takes off into the sunset during Operation Impact on 21 February 2015. (Image © OP Impact, DND)
A CC-130 Hercules takes off into the sunset during Operation Impact on 21 February 2015. (Image © OP Impact, DND)
A pair of CF-188 Hornet fighter jets at Camp Patrice Vincent, Kuwait, during Operation Impact on 26 March 2015. (Image © Op Impact, DND)
A pair of CF-188 Hornet fighter jets at Camp Patrice Vincent, Kuwait, during Operation Impact on 26 March 2015. (Image © Op Impact, DND)

A-10 tank busters arrive in Germany

US Air Force A-10 Thunderbolts arrived at Spandahlem Airbase in Germany on 13 February 2015. The twelve tank killers are part of the first US Theater Security Package (TSP) to be deployed to Europe. The USAF’s announcement of this TSP came as a surprise on 10 February 2015.

The A-10s involved belong to the 355th Fighter Wing at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona. The aircraft flew to Spangdahlem via Langley AFB in Virginia and Lajes in the Azores (great footage here) in the Atlantic Ocean. Support came from a 305th Air Mobility Wing KC-10 Extender, while upon arrival a pair of Royal Canadian Air Force CF-188 Hornets were playing around in the airspace near Spangdahlem as well.

Emergency
The arrival didn’t go smoothly – two made an emergency divert to Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands. According to eye-witnesses one landed hard with a fair amount of smoke and ending next to the runway on a taxiway. His buddy landed shortly afterwards and taxied to the eastern part of the busy international airport. No big damage done, but a minor smudge for the PR guys and girls it is.

The Thunderbolts will stay in Europe for up to six months. The USAF has said this is the first of more Theater Security Packages. Although by far nothing compared to the huge annual exercise Reforger during the Cold War, the sudden order to send a squadron of a dozen “Warthogs” to strengthen the defences in Europe is seen as a clear sign to Vladimir Putin.

In Washington’s eyes the Russian president has destabilized Europe by first taking the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine and then increasingly supporting separation of Eastern Ukraine from the rest of that country with weapons and troops.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editors Elmer van Hest and Marcel Burger

Spangdahlem-based F-16Cs chase this Davis Monthan A-10 down to the runway. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Spangdahlem-based F-16Cs chase this Davis Monthan A-10 down to the runway. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
A side one view of an A-10 marked '12AF', arriving at Spangdahlem. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
A side on view of an A-10 marked ’12AF’, arriving at Spangdahlem. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
That big gun in the front is what the A-10 is all about. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
That big gun in the front is what the A-10 is all about. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Fuel along the way for the A-10 reinforcements to Spangdahlem came from this McDonnell Douglas KC-10A Extender, seen landing here at 13 February 2015 at the Germany airbase (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Fuel along the way for the A-10 reinforcements came from this McDonnell Douglas KC-10A Extender, seen here just before landing at Spangdahlem. The aircraft is from the 305th Air Mobility Wing out of Joint Base McGuire, New Jersey (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Concenrating on landing. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Concentrating on landing. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

 

Canadian Fighter Jets fuel up to escort Santa

It’s is S-Day for the Royal Canadian Air Force. CF-18 (CF-188) fighter jets are fueling up and special appointed pilots are getting ready. The mission: to escort Santa Claus, once he’s entered Canadian airspace from across the North Pole, to safeguard a Merry Christmas to all.

Earlier this December the RCAF appointed the special mission pilots of this year: Captain Denis “Cheech” Beaulieu and Captain Steven “Bunt” Nierlich from 3 Wing Bagotville in Quebec plus Major Yanick “Crank” Gregoire and Captain Thomas “Toast” McQueen from 4 Wing Cold Lake in Alberta. At Bagotville the jets and pilots get support from crew chiefs Master Corporal Daniel Boucher and Master Corporal Marc-André David; at Cold Lake it are Corporal Sébastien Morin and Corporal Andrew Shields who lead the ground personnel.

Santa’s sleigh
Meanwhile the Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Region (CANR) has been set to track and escort Santa Claus during his annual visit to Canada ever since the beginning of the month. Special “Santa trackers” from 21 Aerospace Control and Warning Squadron based at 22 Wing North Bay in Ontario will also keep a watchful eye on Santa’s sleigh.

Starting at 12:01 a.m. MST on December 24, 2014, website visitors can watch Santa make preparations for his flight. NORAD’s “Santa Cams” will stream videos on the website as Santa makes his way over various locations.

Launch
At the time of writing this editorial, NORAD informed Airheadsfly.com that Santa indeed was preparing for launch. So we are all very, very excited! In fact, one of Airheadsfly.com’s editors actually spends the entire year in Scandinavia, to keep a watchful eye on things on his side while Santa is getting ready for next year’s flight operations.

And we cannot take our mission lightly either. Especially in the few weeks before S-Day the good man, his wife and all his family of workers are really busy. The last couple of weekends we’ve spotted 80 flights full of Santa visitors from the United Kingdom on a single Saturday and Sunday alone heading for the Polar Circle through Rovaniemi airport in Finland, with Santa being host to 15,000 guests every day. So, from our Northern European office we say to Santa: into the blue yonder you go!

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, including source information provided by the Royal Canadian Air Force

A CF-188 is preparing for flight at Bagotville in Quebec (Image © Corporal Marc-André Gaudreault, Canadian Forces Combat Camera / DND-MDN)
A CF-188 is preparing for flight at Bagotville in Quebec (Image © Corporal Marc-André Gaudreault, Canadian Forces Combat Camera / DND-MDN)

WITH VIDEO: Canadian Hornets left for Kuwait to join Danish F-16s in combat

Like in the skies over the Baltic republics seen here over Šiauliai  Airbase, the Canadian CF-188s will operate next to F-16s in Kuwait. In Lithuania it are Vipers from the Portuguese Air Force, in Kuwait it will be Fighting Falcons from the Royal Danish Air Force (Image © Cpl Gabrielle DesRochers / RCAF)
Like in the skies over the Baltic republics seen here over Šiauliai Airbase, the Canadian CF-188s will operate next to F-16s in Kuwait. In Lithuania it’s Vipers from the Portuguese Air Force, in Kuwait it will be Fighting Falcons from the Royal Danish Air Force (Image © Cpl Gabrielle DesRochers / RCAF)

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

Danish F-16s
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.

Source: RCAF / Forsvaret

The near future over Iraq and Kuwait: a CC-150 refuelling CF-188s. Seen here during Exercise Vigilant Eagle on 28 August 2013 (Image © Cpl Vicky Lefrancois, DAirPA / RCAF)
The near future over Iraq and Kuwait: a CC-150 refuelling CF-188s. Seen here during Exercise Vigilant Eagle on 28 August 2013 (Image © Cpl Vicky Lefrancois, DAirPA / RCAF)

Blunder kept Danish F-16s far from ISIS, Canadians wiser

Not a single flight and certainly not a single shot fired. The seven Royal Danish Air Force F-16AM Fighting Falcons Copenhagen sent to Ahmed Al Jaber Airbase in Kuwait to fight the so-called Islamic State forces (ISIS / ISIL) were grounded ever since they arrived there on 5 October 2014. Reason: a big diplomatic blunder. Maybe not so bad the Royal Canadian Air Force hasn’t arrived on scene yet. But things are becoming better, with the first two Danes lifting off in the early morning of 16 October for their first non-lethal patrol or familiarization flight, the Danish minister of Defence confirmed.

For ten days the Danish combat jets had not been cleared to use Kuwaiti aerospace, according to sources who’s information was published by Danish newspaper Berlingske on Wednesday evening 15 October 2014 on its website. While French, Australian, Belgian, Dutch and US air forces have been proudly advertising their involvement in trying to stop and degrade ISIS, we at Airheadsfly.com already thought it was very quiet from our Danish friends. They are known for showing their actions, providing the internet community every once in a while with very nice footage from GoPro cameras, like earlier this year from a test flight over Greenland.

Frustrated
On 15 October, ten days after the Danish F-16s arrival, everything pointed at a hastily departure of the jets from Eskadrille 727 and 730 from Skrydstrup Airbase on the Danish mainland on 2 October 2014. According to sources not a single familiarization flight was made after the planes landed. That must be have been frustrating for the 140 Danish personnel at Ahmed Al Jaber – ground crew and pilots alike, being stuck in the desert heat. It must have be even more frustrating for the Danish MoD’s top brass having to tell their American brothers that they are ready to fight, but that they didn’t have the necessary papers to fly.

Truth is, with no flying whatsoever the combat readiness of the entire expedition is lower than wished for, putting another delay of likely 2 to 6 days for the fighter jocks to get back into the game before a real combat mission will be executed.

RCAF Hornets leaving Cold Lake during an earlier exercise (Image © Master-Seaman Steeve Picard / RCAF)
RCAF Hornets are planning to leave soon for Kuwait to fight ISIS in Iraq. Seen here taking off from RCAF Base Cold Lake during an exercise (Image © Master-Seaman Steeve Picard / RCAF)

Canadian Air Force
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic the Royal Canadian Air Force is getting sharp criticism in the official and social media. Why, do some people ask, has the RCAF not been able to send its six McDonnell Douglas (Boeing) CF-188 Hornet fighters, one Airbus CC-150 Polaris tanker, two Lockheed CP-140 Aurora aerial surveillance aircraft and air support personnel to Southwest Asia to fight ISIS like the Canadian government promised on 7 October.

Looking at the Danish blunder, the Canadians might be the wiser. They are planned to operate also from an airbase within Kuwait, maybe even join the Danes at Ahmed Al Jaber. Ottawa seems to be keen to clear all diplomatic stuff first. The time that it takes – and the criticism for the slow reaction – even got the Canadian Chief of the Defence Staff, General Tom Lawson, making a statement on 14 October.

While the preparations for the combat contribution to what the Canadians call Operation Impact are still underway, the general emphasizes that the Canadian armed forces were already involved. “The deployment builds on the work that Canada has done to help Iraqi forces to blunt the ISIS offensive on the ground. In addition to the Canadian Armed Forces members who are advising and assisting Iraqi forces, our aviators have flown in 1.6 million pounds of military equipment for Iraqi forces.”

Engaging
Of course, the Danish – and soon Canadian – fighter jets seeing action in what the Americans call Operation Inherent Resolve was and is just a question of time. But the 10 days delay of the Danish combat force engaging in … well … combat while the practical assets are in place didn’t make a strong first impression. Both Copenhagen and Madīnat al-Kuwayt might have a hard time explaining that to the hundreds of thousands of people on the run or in danger in both Iraq and Syria.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: Postcard from home: a Royal Danish Air Force F-16AM that does fly (Image © Marcel Burger)

Related posts

A F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft refuels from a RAAF KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft over Iraq. (Image © Sergeant Hamish Paterson / 1st JPAU / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
The Royal Australian Air Force seems to have everything up and running smoothly as we show in our extensive Photo Essay here (Image © Sergeant Hamish Paterson / 1st JPAU / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)