Tag Archives: Iraq

Polish F-16s ready for Middle East deployment

Polish Minister of Defence Antoni Macierewicz has confirmed plans to deploy four F-16 fighters for Middle East reconaissance missions, supporting coalition against so-called ISIS. The MoD decision still needs to be accepted by Polish prime minister and president, but according to MoD Chief, planning is already finished and crews are ready.

The contingent of four fighter aircraft and up to 150 personnel should be based in Kuwait. Further Polish support of coalition effort would be 60 special forces operators, deployed to Iraq. Their tasks would cover advising and training of iraqi special forces personnel.

Aircraft should be present in the operations area before Warsaw’s NATO Summit, beginning on 8th of July. Jastrzabs, as they are known in Polish AF, would be tasked with reconaissance missions only. Polish Air Force flies 48 F-16 block 52+, which are equipped with Goodrich DB-110 reconaissanse pods.

The same recce tasks are now fulfilled in the ISIS’ conflict area by Luftwaffe Tornados. Six German fighter-bombers and Airbus A310 MRTT tanker are now based in Incirlik in Turkey.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com contributor Paweł Bondaryk
Featured image: A Polish Air Force F-16. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

‘Dutch F-16s not suited for Syria ops’

Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) F-16 fighter jets hardly see action over Syria despite being cleared to do so earlier this year by Dutch parliament, reports on Tuesday 3 May say. The ageing jets apparently do not have the right communication equipment for combat over the war torn country. Most missions take place over Iraq instead.

Dutch F-16s have been engaged in fighting so-called Islamic State since the fall of 2014, operating from Jordan. They previously flew solely over Iraq until allowed to operate over Syria also earlier this year. In reality, Dutch pilots mostly only see action over Iraq.

Operations over Syria require satellite communication equipment, a feature the Dutch jets do not have. They largely rely on UHF radios. The reports do not say why the jets apparently do not need satellite radios over Iraq.

Mandate

The Dutch Ministry of Defense in The Hague later on Tuesday stated that its F-16 indeed lack some relay methods, but at the same time said the jets do not operate over parts over Syria because the current mandate prevents it. It’s mostly US aircraft that operate over areas that now see fighting, according to Dutch MoD.

The RNLAF is replacing its F-16s with Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning IIs from 2019 onwards.

The apparent shortcoming begs the question how Belgian and Danish F-16s will support operations over Syria later this year. Both countries operate F-16s identical to the RNLAF, and are preparing to send jets to the area after the Dutch leave next July.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: A Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Obama: Apache attack helos to Iraq

The US is sending AH-64 Apache attack helicopters to Iraq in support of the campaign against so-called Islamic State forces. US president Barrack Obama decided to send extra US troops also.

The decision to send Apache means the US will base aircraft in Iraq for the first time since officialy pulling out its military in the troubled country in December 2011. The move comes ahead of a Iraqi military push to recapture the city of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.

US forces are already in Iraq to train Iraqi soldiers. The added Apaches also bring 200 additional troops, bringing the total of US troops in the country to 4,087.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: An Apache fires its gun. (Image © Dustin Senger / US Army)

Danish F-16s to rejoin fight over Syria and Iraq

If the Danish government has its way, Royal Danish Air Force F-16s will rejoin the fight against Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria. Plans were unfolded in Copenhagen on Friday 4 March to send F-16s to the area, along with a C-130 transport aircraft and 400 personnel. The Danish jets already operated over Iraq until October 2015.

The deployment plan comes after initial reports over a supposed lack of appropriate training of Danish F-16 pilots. Also, earlier operations were said to have taken their toll on equipment and people. The Danish operated from Kuwait earlier, using seven F-16s.

Vote

France and the US requested the support of the Danes again in fighting Islamic State or Daesh forces in Iraq and Syria. A parliamentary vote on the issue is expected in the first half of April.

Dutch and Belgian F-16s were also involved in combat missions before. Currently, only Dutch F-16s remain in theatre. Their mission will end in October, with Belgian F-16s returning to take their place.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: A Danish F-16. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Dutch F-16s cleared for Syria ops

The Dutch goverment on Friday formally approved F-16 operations against Daesh forces in Syria. Since October 2014, Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) jets are already involved in offensive flights over Iraq.

Until this week, one of two Dutch government parties was opposed to actions over Syria, saying there was no international mandate for military actions over the country. Recent terrorist attacks in Paris in Jakarta changed the party’s point of view however.

Four RNLAF F-16s operate from Jordan, with two more in reserve. Their participation is supposed to end later this year, with Belgian F-16s taking their place.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: An F-16 pilot await his turn to refuel. (Image © Dennis Spronk)