Tag Archives: Hawkeye

First cruise of Delta Hawkeye

The new Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Early Warning and Control aircraft of the US Navy will embark on its first ever operational cruise on 9 March 2015. The “Tigertails” – the nickname of VAW-125 – will be trying to keep the aircraft carrier group formed around the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) out of harm’s way, when the task force leaves Norfolk, Virginia, USA.

The E-2D has a new radar, new radios, a new mission computer, integrated satcom, a flight managment system and better engines. It has new avionics in a so-called “glass cockpit” (all digital stuff) and is able to refuel in mid-air. Although its first flight was in August 2007, it has taken a while for the first USN unit to become operational on the type.

One of the new features is that the E-2D is now able to for example help direct anti-air missiles to intercept incoming cruise missiles, as was shown in a test in 2009. Navy sources say that the Hawkeye crews should even be able to help target medium-range air-to-air missiles to their targets, once launched by other navy fighter jets. The new APY-9 radar should make it able for the Hawkeye to detect new stealthy fighters, like the Russian-made Sukhoi PAK-FA.

The Northrop Grumman E-2D is a further development of the Grumman E-2 already in service since 1964. The US Navy has ordered 50 aircraft so far, with 15 aircraft delivered. VAW-125 is the first operational squadron, flying five E-2Ds. Each USN AEW&C squadron will operate four or five Advanced Hawkeyes in the near future.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: An E-2D Hawkeye assigned to the Tigertails of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 125 flies over Naval Station Norfolk on 20 March 2014. The unit is assigned to Carrier Air Wing 1 that will board aircraft carrier CVN71 USS Theodore Roosevelt (Image © Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ernest R. Scott / US Navy)

Cope North Guam 2015 underway

UPDATED 20 FEBRUARY 2015 | Cope North Guam 2015 (CNG15), a multinational exercise of the United States and its closest allies facing China, is underway in the Pacific. The Republic of Korea Air Force (South Korea), the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) and the Royal Australian Air Force are participating, as well as the US armed forces of course. Epicentre of the operations: Andersen Air Force Base.

CNG15 involves a large force employment performing simulated air combat and disaster relief operations according to various scenarios. For the Royal Australian Air Force this is the fourth time its personnel and aircraft are participating. To underline its importance the RAAF’s contribution is substantial: eight McDonnell Douglas (Boeing) F/A-18A/B Hornet multi-role fighters, a Airbus KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport and Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules.

Group photo shot taken at 13 February of the participants in Cope North Guam 2015 (Image © Tech. Sgt. Jason Robertson / USAF)
Group photo shot taken at 13 February of the participants in Cope North Guam 2015 (Image © Tech. Sgt. Jason Robertson / USAF)

The US Air Force has – amongst other assets – B-52s, F-15s, F-16s, KC-135s and C-130s in the area. Japan deployed indigenous Mitsubishi F-2 multi-role fighters and McDonnell Douglas (Boeing) F-15s, as well as C-130s, a KC-767J and the E-2C Hawkeye. The exact contribution of South Korea was not clear at the time of writing, but some of the images released by the RAAF give a minor clue. According to the exercise leaders officers of the Royal New Zealand Air Force and the Philippine Air Force are participating as well, but whether they bring their own aircraft was not confirmed.

Cope North Guam 2015 runs from 15 to 27 February. Corporal David Gibbs of the Royal Australian Air Force’s 28SQN AFID-EDN is at Andersen and made some nice shots!

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, including source information provided by the RAAF and USAF

RAAF F/A-18 Hornet pilots discuss their mission after landing at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam (Image © CPL David Gibbs / 28SQN AFID-EDN / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
RAAF F/A-18 Hornet pilots discuss their mission after landing at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam (Image © CPL David Gibbs / 28SQN AFID-EDN / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A Japan Air Self-Defence Force KC-767J tanker takes off from Andersen (Image © CPL David Gibbs / 28SQN AFID-EDN / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A Japan Air Self-Defence Force KC-767J tanker takes off from Andersen (Image © CPL David Gibbs / 28SQN AFID-EDN / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
An US Air Force F-16 taxis out for its next mission (Image © CPL David Gibbs / 28SQN AFID-EDN / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A Japan-based US Air Force F-16 taxis out for its next mission (Image © CPL David Gibbs / 28SQN AFID-EDN / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
An USAF HH-60 flies in low over Andersen (Image © CPL David Gibbs / 28SQN AFID-EDN / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A USAF HH-60 flies in low over Andersen (Image © CPL David Gibbs / 28SQN AFID-EDN / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A Republic of Korea Air Force CN235 with an US Air Force E-3 Sentry in the background (Image © CPL David Gibbs / 28SQN AFID-EDN / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A Republic of Korea Air Force CN235 with a US Air Force E-3 Sentry in the background (Image © CPL David Gibbs / 28SQN AFID-EDN / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A maintainer from the RAAF's No 3 Squadron watches as an Australian F/A-18 Hornet taxis past for another mission (Image © CPL David Gibbs / 28SQN AFID-EDN / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A maintainer from the RAAF’s No 3 Squadron watches as an Australian F/A-18 Hornet starts to head out for another mission (Image © CPL David Gibbs / 28SQN AFID-EDN / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
An USAF F-15C Eagle banks over the airfield upon returning from a mission during Exercise Cope North Guam 15 (Image © CPL David Gibbs / 28SQN AFID-EDN / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A USAF F-15C Eagle banks over the airfield upon returning from a mission during Exercise Cope North Guam 15 (Image © CPL David Gibbs / 28SQN AFID-EDN / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)

Carrier Air Wing will fight from unready ship

Featured image: Carrier Air Wing 5 on board nuclear aircraft carrier USS George Washington on October 11th, 2013.
(Image © Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Chris Cavagnaro/USN)

There is a big risk that the first Carrier Air Wing to board the newly build US aircraft carrier CVN 78 USS Gerald R Ford will have to operate in far less than ideal situations. The General Accountability Office (GAO) – or the guys and girls that keep track of government spending – slapped the US Department of Defense on the wrist on 20 November 2014. Roughly translated: the US military will have a ship – and with that the air wing on board – that is far less capable to enter combat then it’s supposed to be.

The most disturbing part for the aviators is the number of aircraft launches and landings, that seems to be less than what they need in order to be effective. The GAO puts it like this: “The Navy will have a ship that is less complete than initially planned at ship delivery, but at a greater cost.” And even after the Ford will be handed over in 2016 the US tax payers have to cough up an additional US$ 988 million to finish the semi-ready vessel, on top of the US$ 12.9 billion the vessel already is supposed to cost.

Over the wires! (Screenshot © YouTube)
Over the wires! The F-35C on board the USS Nimitz during sea trials of the aircraft. (Footage © US Navy)

Super Hornets
Aircraft that will board the Ford will be launched by electromagnetic catapults, in stead of the steam-powered launch facilities on the current 10 Nimitz-class vessels and all its modern predecessors. But so far the innovation has not promised the required amount of launches in a certain time frame, meaning the ship might be put into a war situation without having the necessary capabilities. That means the F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers, E-2 Hawkeyes and maybe even the future F-35Cs will be operate from a base that is in less than ideal conditions.

Weaponry
The electromagnetic field that will propel the aviators off the ship would in theory enable them as to bring along more than 225 percent additional weaponry or other payload, compared to the current situation on the Nimitz-class carriers. This would make it easier for the air crew to either hit the target harder or conduct longer missions with less aerial refuellings.

Operational
CVN 79 USS John F Kennedy, the second Ford-class carrier, is on its way as well. But considering the current criticism the question is why the rush when even its brother Ford is disappointing. “After the planned investment CVN 78 may not achieve improved operational performance over the Nimitz class of aircraft carriers as promised for some time to come,” according to the GAO report.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, based on an official GAO report

A F/A-18E Super Hornet, attached to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31, and a F/A-18F Super Hornet, attached to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213, prepare to launch from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) to conduct strike missions against ISIL/ISIS targets. (Image © Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Robert Burck/USN)
A F/A-18E Super Hornet, attached to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31, and a F/A-18F Super Hornet, attached to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213, prepare to launch from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) to conduct strike missions against ISIL/ISIS targets. (Image © Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Robert Burck/USN)
Computer rendering of the future CVN 78 USS Gerald R Ford (Image © US Navy)
Computer rendering of the future CVN 78 USS Gerald R Ford (Image © US Navy)

Japan: the photographer’s dream

Japan. Land of sushi and Fuji, konichiwa and arigato, of geishas, gadgets, yakuza, sake and manga, the excitingly weird and eccentric metropolis that is Tokyo – and above all, land of endless opportunities for aviation photographers such as Robert van Zon. Last month, he boarded a plane bound for Japan and only returned home after stuffing his memory cards with fantastic aviation images from the land of the rising sun. At AIRheads↑FLY, we’ re already looking for the next available flights.

Tsuiki
Autumn is usually the time of year for Japanese airshows. On October 27, Tsuiki airbase set the stage for a Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) airshow, featuring based F-15J Eagles and Mitsubishi F-2 fighter aircraft from Kyushu, the southern main island of Japan. Things are about to change at Tsuiki however, as Japan wishes to reinforce its assets further south at Okinawa. The F-15J Eagles of Tsuiki-based 304 Hikotai will likely move to Okinawa. Their space at Tsuiki will be taken up by additional F-2s from Misawa in the north. This will make Tsuiki ‘Mitsubishi F-2’ heaven in the future.

Touchdown! An F-2B  lands at runway 25 at its home base Tsuiki. (Image © Robert van Zon)
Touchdown! A F-2B lands at runway 25 at its home base Tsuiki. (Image © Robert van Zon)
More F-2 at Tsuiki. Although clearly based on the F-16, the locally developed and produced Mitsubishi F-2 has some distinct differences from the F-16. One of them is the three piece canopy. This aircraft carries markings of the 2013 TAC Meet, the local Japanese fighter competition. The 2013 edition of the TAC Meet was the first one since the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster. (Image © Robert van Zon)
A F-2 bathing in nice light at Tsuiki. Although clearly based on the F-16, the locally developed and produced Mitsubishi F-2 has some distinct differences from the F-16. One of them is the three piece canopy. This aircraft carries markings of the 2013 TAC Meet, the local Japanese fighter competition. The 2013 edition of the TAC Meet was the first one since the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster. (Image © Robert van Zon)
F-2s are cool, but this F-4EJ Phantom is quite the opposite; sizzling hot! It has the special 40th anniversary markings of 301 Hikotai, the training (or 'mother') squadron for Japanese Phantom crews. (Image © Robert van Zon)
F-2s are cool, but this F-4EJ Phantom is quite the opposite; sizzling hot! It has the special 40th anniversary markings of 301 Hikotai, the training (or ‘mother’) squadron for Japanese Phantom crews. (Image © Robert van Zon)
Operations at airbases in Japan differ somewhat from operations elsewhere. Each airbase has its own rescue flight, operating a couple of UH-60Js. This one is based at Tsuiki. (Image © Robert van Zon)
Operations from airbases in Japan differ somewhat from operations in Europe or elsewhere. For example, most airbases have their own rescue flight, operating a couple of UH-60Js. This one is seen at Tsuiki, but is based at nearby Ashiya. (Image © Robert van Zon)

Kanoya
A few hours by car south of Tsuiki is Kanoya, the place to be for Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) aircraft. Kanoya is the most southern military airfield on the Japanese mainland. Most prominent inmates here are the many P-3C Orions that guard Japans coastal waters. The base also houses helicopters of several types, though.

A TH-135  hovers over the platform at Kanoya. The TH-135 is 'Japanized' ' variant of Eurocopter’s EC135. It will The TH-135 is the Japanese Navy's replacement for the OH-6 training and utility helicopter, as seen in the background. Of the 15 ordered TH-135's, 10 have so far been delivered. (Image © Robert van Zon)
A TH-135 hovers over the platform at Kanoya. The TH-135 is a ‘Japanized’ ‘ variant of Eurocopter’s EC135. It replaces the OH-6 training and utility helicopter – seen in the background. The new helo will thus train future SH-60 Seahawk pilots for the JMSDF. Of the 15 ordered TH-135’s, 10 have so far been delivered. (Image © Robert van Zon)

Akeno
Want more military choppers? Akeno is where to go in Japan. The airbase is small but houses a large number of army helicopters in varying shapes and sizes. You name it: AH-1 Cobras, UH-1 Hueys, CH-47 Chinooks, AH-64 Apaches, locally developed OH-1 light attack & recce helicopters, OH-6 Cayuses, UH-60 Black Hawks, it’s all there, as is the helicopter pictured below.

Akeno is all about helos, such as this TH-480B seen at Akeno on 28 October. Just like the Japanese Navy, the Japanese Army is also replacing its OH-6 helicopters. While the Navy ordered the bigger Eurocopter EC-135 T2i, the Army chose the much smaller Enstrom 480B. Its size and color scheme make it look quite odd among all the other Army helicopters at Akeno. Out of a total order of 30 some 20 have been delivered by now. (Image © Robert van Zon)
Akeno is all about helos, such as this TH-480B. Just like the navy, the Japanese army is replacing its OH-6 helicopters. The army however chose the much smaller Enstrom 480B. Its size and color scheme make it look quite odd among all the other army choppers at Akeno. Out of a total order of 30 some 20 have been delivered by now. (Image © Robert van Zon)

Hamamatsu
If there ever was a prize for great sounding airfield names, Hamamatsu would definitely be a contender. The airbase is home to Boeing E-767 tanker AWACS aircraft, plus large amounts of Kawasaki T-4s, a Japanese crossover between the British Aerospace Hawk and the Dassault Dornier Alpha Jet. On October 20, Hamamatsu hosted an open house.

parked on the static show of the Open House of its home base Hamamatsu on October 20. In honor of the Open House, the aircraft is painted in special colors consisting of a green underside and a blue mount Fuji at the back. (Image © Robert van Zon)
This Kawasaki T-4 is seen parked at its home base Hamamatsu. In honor of the open house, the aircraft is painted in special colors consisting of a green underside and a blue mount Fuji at the back. (Image © Robert van Zon)
This E-2C Hawkeye is seen here at Hamamatsu, but its homebase is Misawa in the north.  Hiko Keikai Kanshitai on the static of the 20 October Hamamatsu Open House. As part of the reinforcement of Okinawa, this unit will be split into two separate squadrons, one of which will move to Naha Air Base. The unit already has a detachment at Naha.(Image © Robert van Zon)
This E-2C Hawkeye is seen here at Hamamatsu, but its homebase is Misawa in the north. As part of the reinforcement of Okinawa, the JASDF will relocate a number of E-2Cs to Naha. (Image © Robert van Zon)

Gifu
If you find yourself in Japan and you fancy the ‘special’ stuff, then maybe Gifu is where you should go. The airfield is located north of Nagoya and is home to the Hiko Kaihatsu Jikkendan, which more or less stands for test squadron. In recent years, Gifu was the birth place for aircraft like the Kawasaki P-1 and the Kawasaki C-2, seen below.

The second prototype C-2 is seen on approach to Gifu on October 21 after yet another test flight. The C-2 will eventually replace the C-1 and C-130 aircraft of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. A total of at least 40 aircraft are to be produced for the Japanese Air Force. Manufacturer Kawasaki has also plans to market this aircraft outside Japan. (Image © Robert van Zon)
The second prototype C-2 is seen on approach to Gifu on October 21 after yet another test flight. A total of 40 C-2s will eventually replace the C-1 and C-130 aircraft now in the service with the JASDF. Manufacturer Kawasaki has plans to market this aircraft outside Japan also. (Image © Robert van Zon)

Hyakuri
Want the good stuff, the noise, the smell, the looks, the raw power of military jets?  Then look no further than Hyakuri. This airbase north of Tokyo is a mandatory stop for aviation geeks because of its based F-15J Eagles and F-4EJ and RF-4EJ Phantoms. It doesn’t get much better than that, and bear in mind; the Phantom’s days in JASDF are counting. Their numbers are dwindling and their successor – the F-35A Lightning II – will enter the stage in a few years time.

-8404 of Hyakuri based 302 Hikotai taxiing out for an early morning mission on October 31. F-4 flying hours are down compared to a few years ago with 302 Hikotai flying about half the number of missions the F-15's of 305 Hikotai do. One more sign the end is getting nearer. (Image © Robert van Zon)
Three F-4EJ Phantoms of 302 Hikotai taxi out for an early morning mission on October 31. Phantom flying hours are down compared to a few years ago. One more sign the end is getting near. (Image © Robert van Zon)
This Eagles carries the Meggitt AGTS-36 Aerial Gunnery Training System on its centerline position. It landed safely back at Hyakuri one and a half hours later after being under fire from the   (Image © Robert van Zon)
This Eagles carries the Meggitt AGTS-36 Aerial Gunnery Training System on its centerline position. It landed back at Hyakuri after a one and a half hour flight. (Image © Robert van Zon)

Nagoya Komaki
After Hyakuri, everything else is a bonus. Here’s some dessert from Nagoya Komaki, the airfield that is home to the JASDF C-130 Hercules fleet and Boeing 767 tanker aircraft. Mitsubishi Aircraft performs maintenance here on a variety of military aircraft. Last but not least, all of the 94 Mitsubishi F-2s ordered by the JASDF were built here.

A C-130H is seen while landing at its home base Nagoya-Komaki on October 21. The Japanese C-130 aircraft will next year be joined by 6 former US Marine Corps KC-130R's for the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force. These aircraft will replace the aging YS-11's of 61 Kokutai at Atsug
A C-130H is seen while landing at its home base Nagoya-Komaki on October 21. The Japanese C-130 aircraft are joined next year by 6 former US Marine Corps KC-130R’s for the Japanese navy. These aircraft will replace the aging and quite rare YS-11s. (Image © Robert van Zon)
Well, we can't help ourselves; one more Japanese Phantom. This one is landing at Nagoya-Komaki on October 21, arriving for what is most likely its last overhaul (IRAN) at Mitsubishi. It will take about a year before this Phantom will be flying again. (Image © Robert van Zon)
Well, we can’t help ourselves; one more Japanese Phantom. This one is landing at Nagoya-Komaki on October 21, arriving for what is most likely its last overhaul (IRAN) at Mitsubishi. It will take about a year before this Phantom will be flying again. (Image © Robert van Zon)

Many, many (and we do mean ‘many’) thanks of course to Robert van Zon for sharing his pictures here at AIRheads↑FLY . We do appreciate contributions by readers!

© 2013 Robert van Zon & Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

501 Hikotai RF-4EJ Kai 77-6392 taking off from Hyakuri Air Base on October 31. With only 5 examples of this type left, they are more and more becoming a rare sight in Japanese skies. (Image © Robert van Zon)
The famous Woody Woodpecker badge of 501 Hikotai is seen on the vertical tail of this RF-4EJ taking off from Hyakuri Air Base on October 31. With only 5 examples of this type left, they are more and more becoming a rare sight in Japanese skies. (Image © Robert van Zon)

Korean Naval Combat Force

Carrier Air Wing 5 on board nuclear aircraft carrier USS George Washington on October 11th, 2013. (Image © Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Chris Cavagnaro/USN)
Carrier Air Wing 5 on board nuclear aircraft carrier USS George Washington on October 11th, 2013. (Image © Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Chris Cavagnaro/USN)

The US Navy aircraft carrier CVN 73 USS George Washington currently patrols the waters west of the Korean peninsula. George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, provide a combat-ready force that the US is currently using to support its operations and deterrence in Southeast Asia.

The CVW-5 aircraft are attached to the “Diamondbacks” of Strike Fight Squadron (VFA) 102 flying the F/A-18F Super Hornet; the “Royal Maces” of VFA-27, the “Eagles” of VFA-115 and the “Dambusters” VFA-195 each flying the F/A-18E Super Hornet; the “Shadowhawks” of Electronic Attack Squadron 141 flying the EA-18G Growler; VAW-115 flying the E-2C Hawkeye; the “Providers” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 30, Detachment 5, flying the C-2A Greyhound; the “Golden Falcons” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 12 flying the MH-60S Seahawk; and the “Saberhawks” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 77 flying the MH-60R Seahawk.

Carrier Air Wing 5 is the US Navy’s “911” air wing, meaning when there is a crisis somewhere it is likely to be send in as first response. CVW-5 is comprised of nine squadrons with approximately 1,900 sailors and 67 aircraft.

Source: USN

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