French Air Force fighter aircaft carried out strike mission over Raqqa in Syria on Sunday, the ministry of Defense in Paris reports. The air strikes are a clear response to the attacks that killed 132 people in the French capital on Friday.
Since September 2014 and under code name Operation Chammal, French Air Force military aircraft have participated in the allied campaign against Islamic State forces. Dassault Rafale multi role fighter aircraft and Mirage 2000D strike aircraft saw use before. Soon after Friday’s attacks in Paris, the French government stated it would ‘respond appropriately’.
On Sunday, the French jets dropped over twenty bombs on the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa. The flights originated from airfields in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Jordan. The strike was carried out in cooperation with US forces.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: A French Mirage 2000D takes off from a base in Jordan (Image © Ministère de la Défense)
The Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) has signed a contract for the purchase of nine PC-9M training aircraft, Swiss company Pilatus announced on Monday 10 August. The order also includes a simulator, training equipment and a comprehensive logistics support package.
Keen to modernise its pilot training facilities, the RJAF has opted for the Pilatus PC-9M for basic and advanced pilot training. The order was only awarded after several years of hard negotiations, from which the PC-9M finally emerged as the winner. The RJAF now uses the Slingsby T-67 Firefly for basic flight training and the CASA C-101 jet trainer for advanced training. Both operate for Mafraq airbase, home of the RJAF King Hussein Air College.
Oscar J. Schwenk, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Pilatus, commented: “We are very pleased to welcome the Royal Jordanian Air Force as a new member of the Pilatus family. I am equally happy that Pilatus won the deal against several other international competitors and that, in the final round, the Royal Jordanian Air Force chose our PC-9 M over all other aircraft.”
Featured image (top): A factory demonstrator PC-9 over the Swiss Alps. (Image © Pilatus Aircraft)
Jordan flies about a dozen ex-Israeli Air Force Bell AH-1E/F Cobras in the “border patrol”, counter-insurgency role and in operations against so-called Islamic State forces, according to a fresh report by Reuters.
The international press agency quotes sources with insight in the deal, in which Israel apparently has transferred 16 of its decommissioned Bell attack helicopters to its Arab neighbour. Some are used for spare parts, but it is believed that 10 to 12 actually do fly. The Royal Jordanian Air Force already received 32 ex-US Army AH-1Fs, delivered in the late 1990s and beginning of the 2000s. About 20 to 25 of those are believed to still be operational, flying out of Zarqa Airbase, although some sources say only 12 are in flyable condition.
The location of the ex-Israeli Cobras is unknown, but may very well be a forward operating base aligned to the Cobra units based at Zarqa. Israeli Air & Space Force’s 160 Squadron flew the Cobras until it was disbanded in 2013 for budgetary and safety reasons. Jerusalem tried to sell the attack choppers to Nigeria first, but that deal was blocked by the United States as we reported earlier.
2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: An Israeli Air Force AH-1 during live fire demonstration on 28 June 2011 at the IAF Academy (Image (CC) Oren Rozen)
Belgian Air Component F-16s no longer take part in operations against IS-forces in Iraq. The six fighter aircraft and 120 personnel returned home on 2 July after ending their participation earlier in the week.
The Belgians had been supporting operations from October 2014, flying from an airbase in Jordan along with Dutch F-16s. The latter are continuing their effort, albeit with four aircraft instead of six used earlier.
The Belgians withdrew their aircraft since the government in Brussels did not allocate any more budget to the operation.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (above): A Belgian Air Component F-16. (Image © Marcel Burger)
The Netherlands is reducing its airborne effort in fighting the so-called Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) forces in Iraq. According to sources in The Hague the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) will start sending its F-16s home from the operations base in Jordan.
Due to the increasing need for maintenance, costs and worries about the combat capability (read: lack of training for other missions) continuation of the entire RNLAF contribution to the international military effort to fight ISIS was in doubt.
The military and political leadership of the Netherlands now opt to reduce the number of F-16s dispatched to Jordan from the current six to four, plus two fighter jets in reserve. Plans call to keep the mission going until the end of June 2016 and there seems to be a majority in the Dutch parliament supporting the decision.
Belgian Air Component
There are still Dutch hopes for a rotating deployment in cooperation with Belgium. The Belgian Air Component currently flies six F-16s separately from the same base in Jordan as the RNLAF does, but Brussels says there is no money left to continue the mission after June.
But the Dutch decision that will be made public on Friday might influence the Belgians to reconsider sending a quartet of F-16s (plus two reserve) in October for a 3 month deployment, to be taken over by the RNLAF again in January 2016. High-level talks on this matter have already been done prior to the decision making.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: Formation of Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16s (Image © Dennis Spronk)