Tag Archives: Lockheed

The Starfighter flies again – in Europe

It was 9 years since Europe saw its last flying Starfighter. Or was it? Norwegians on Wednesday 28 September once more had the opportunity to see and hear a flying Starfighter, as a two seater CF-104 took off from Bodø airbase after a lengthy restoration proces. Europe has a flying Starfighter again!

The US has Lockheed F-104s participating in the airshow circuit, but Europe was cut off from flying Starfighters after the last Italian F-104s retired in 2007. That has now changed because of a Norwegian project to bring back to life an F-104 that was stuck on the ground for the previous 33 years.

The F-104 took off from Bodø for its first flight in all those years, immediately producing that famous howling sound with its General Electric J79 engine. Hear it in the clip below.

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Press Play: Cold Response 2016 (2)

We already served you a nice dish of images of the big NATO & partners exercise Cold Response earlier, but the military photographers and the Norwegian military audiovisual unit have given us some more nice stuff! Press play and see more of the aircraft and helicopters that supported the 15,000 troops strong exercise in Northern and Central Norway, with even the Norwegian crown prince Haakon deployed, earning his tactical special operations parajump certification with the Norwegian Special Operations Command.

Featured image (top): US Marines, Dutch marines and UK Royal Commandos do an integrated air insert during a training event for Exercise Cold Response 16 on 3 March 2016 near the city of Namsos, Norway. (Image © Chad McMeen / USMC)


Norwegian Crownprince Haakon Magnus jumps with the Norwegian Special Operations Command (NORASOC) from a Royal Norwegian Air Force C-130J Hercules (Image © Forsvaret)
Norwegian Crownprince Haakon Magnus jumps with the Norwegian Special Operations Command (NORASOC) from a Royal Norwegian Air Force C-130J Hercules (Image © Forsvaret)

And off the Norwegian Crownprince goes (Image © Forsvaret)
And off the Norwegian Crownprince goes (Image © Forsvaret)
To get his tactical special operations jump certificate the Norwegian Crownprince Haakon also left a RNoAF Bell 412 in mid-air (Image © Forsvaret)
To get his tactical special operations jump certificate the Norwegian Crownprince Haakon also left a RNoAF Bell 412 in mid-air (Image © Forsvaret)
A RNoAF Bell 412 goes for a white-out landing during Cold Response 2016 (Image © Sofia Carlsson / Forsvaret)
A RNoAF Bell 412 goes for a white-out landing during Cold Response 2016 (Image © Sofia Carlsson / Forsvaret)
A Polish Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite practising together with the Norwegian frigate KNM Thor Heyerdahl in Trøndelag during Cold Response 2016 (Image © Mats Hjelmeland / Sjøforsvaret)
A Polish Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite practising together with the Norwegian frigate KNM Thor Heyerdahl in Trøndelag during Cold Response 2016 (Image © Mats Hjelmeland / Sjøforsvaret)

A Swedish Armed Forces NH90 - called HKP 14 in Swedish military service - in action during Cold Response 2016 (Image © Mats Carlsson / Försvarsmakten)
A Swedish Armed Forces NH90 – called HKP 14 in Swedish military service – in action during Cold Response 2016 (Image © Mats Carlsson / Försvarsmakten)

U.S Marines Cobra i övningsområdet. Foto: Jesper Sundström/Försvarsmakten #coldresponse2016 #coldresponse #svfm #usmarines #helicopter

A photo posted by I19 Norrbottens Regemente (@i19norrbottensregemente) on

A B-52 Stratofortress from Barksdale AFB receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to RAF Mildenhall, England, over the Trøndelag region of Norway, while participating in exercise Cold Response 2016 (Image © Senior Airman Victoria H. Taylor / USAF)
A B-52 Stratofortress from Barksdale AFB receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to RAF Mildenhall, England, over the Trøndelag region of Norway, while participating in exercise Cold Response 2016 (Image © Senior Airman Victoria H. Taylor / USAF)

Modernized New Zealand Orions to be updated, again

The six Lockheed P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft of the Royal New Zealand Air Force are to be updated, again. About a year after the final aircraft of the No 5 Squadron returned to its home “pimped” and well, Auckland is now opting for newer sensors.

According to a New Zealand defence source the detection and reconnaissance systems for targets underneath the surface (read: submarines) is way too old. If everything goes according to plan, Boeing is going to change that, for tens of millions of dollars.

A decade ago the then Labour government decided to modernize the planes, but not some of its main systems. The current centre-right leadership now has to decide about the Orion’s capabilities.

The upgrade is expected in the new defence plans to be announced in April this year. Read more about the Orions here.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: A Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (Image © New Zealand Defence Force)

US Navy plans return to Iceland

The US Navy plans a return to Iceland if the most recent budget plans are anything to go by. The plans call for modifications to US facilities at Keflavik airbase in order to host the US Navy’s newest maritime patrol aircraft, the Boeing P-8 Poseidon.

Kevlavik was closed as an active US airbase in 2006 after being home to P-3 Orion patrol aircraft for years and a squadron of F-15 Eagles until the early nineties. Currently, the airfield sees use as a NATO airfield, hosting fighter jets for Iceland Air Policing duties every now and then. The airfield also doubles as Iceland’s civil international airport.

Submarines

The budget request involves funds for modifying hangars and other installations at Keflavik. The P-8 Poseidon gradually replaces the P-3 in the maritime mission, looking for and hunting submarines. The US Navy has ordered 78 Poseidons, with 33 aircraft already delivered.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: A US Navy P-8 Poseidon, one of 78 ordered. (Image © Boeing)

P-3 Orion set new Spanish record

A Lockheed P-3 Orion of the Spanish Air Force set a new Spanish record on 22 December 2015. Of being airborne 16 hours in a row, beating the old achievement of 1991 of 13 hours and 50 minutes non-stop in the air.

The aircraft and crew of 221 Squadron (221 Esc.) took of from Morón Airbase near Seville at 10:00 local time for its patrol duty over the Mediterranean in support of the ongoing NATO maritime operations there.

Operation Active Endeavour

Launched after the September 11, 2011, attacks in New York and Washington this Operation Active Endeavour is there to “monitor shipping to help deter, defend, disrupt and protect against terrorist activity”. Greece, Italy, Spain and Turkey contribute directly to the operation, while other NATO and partner nations sometimes offer support and/or vessels/aircraft.

After this operational flight during daytime the Orion continued into a night training mission while still airborne, but kept sharing gathered data to the NATO mission as well. It landed again at Morón.

Maritime patrol aircraft

Although the long lasting mission is a novelty for the Spanish Air Force, the P-3 is actually designed to stay airborne for up to 16 hours, according to data provided by manufacturer Lockheed Martin. As a maritime patrol aircraft its combat radius is normally 1,346 nautical miles (2,490 km) and it can remain on station at low-level (1,500 feet) for three hours if on a submarine hunt. A total of 757 Orions were built between 1961 and 1990, of which 107 by Kawasaki in Japan. Many still serving the world’s air arms.

Royal Norwegian Air Force Orions

Spain has two P-3A and four P-3Bs which are being upgraded to the new P-3M standard. A fifth P-3B is used for its spare parts. All P-3Bs are ex-Royal Norwegian Air Force Orions, purchased in 1989. The Norwegians have kept four P-3Cs and two P-3N on strength, all at Andøya Air Station in the north.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): A Spanish Air Force Lockheed P-3 Orion (Image © Ejército del Aire)