Tag Archives: Operation Inherent Resolve

Official: “RNLAF jets bombed Syria only four times”

The four Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16AM/BM fighter jets deployed to Jordan to bomb the so-called Islamic State forces in Syria, have only done that four times this year.

The information is included in a letter of Dutch minister of Defence Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert to the Dutch parliament in The Hague.

Communication limits have made the RNLAF jets less useful to international community fighting ISIS / ISIL / Daesh and the United States, which is leading the operations. Since February, when the F-16s were cleared for the Syrian operations, the aircraft only flew seven mission in total in the skies of that nation.

More on the problems with the operational usefulness of the Dutch F-16s in Syria, you can read on our earlier published article here on Airheadsfly.com.

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

Sweden ignores French request for military support

The Swedish government is mostly ignoring a request by France for military support. Paris asked for combat assets after the November 2015 terror attacks in the French capital that left 130 people (plus 7 attackers) dead, about 90 people critically wounded and another 270 less-critical injured.

Within European Union agreements France subsequently asked all EU members states for military support, to which all countries agreed, arguing that the attacks executed by a cell of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS / ISIL / Daesh) forces that rule in large parts of Syria and Iraq was a military attack. Paris hoped for Swedish SAAB JAS 39 Gripen jets for tactical reconnaissance for Operation Barkhane (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger) and/or Syria. But on Wednesday 16 December 2015 Stockholm says no to this request.

International grey zone

“The most important reason is that deploying Gripen planes would put them in a grey zone when it comes to international law. That could change once there is a very clear United Nations mandate,” Swedish foreign minister Margo Wallström said during a press briefing on Wednesday.

One of three C-17A Globemasters of the the NATO/EU Heavy Airlift Wing, taking off from Linköping-Malmen in Sweden (Image © Marcel Burger)
One of three C-17A Globemasters of the the NATO/EU Heavy Airlift Wing, taking off from Linköping-Malmen in Sweden (Image © Marcel Burger)

Papa C-17

However, Sweden is willing to give away 50 to 100 hours of its 160 hours on the NATO/EU Boeing C-17A Globemaster III Heavy Airlift Wing based at Papa Airbase in Hungary. Moreover, Stockholm is willing to look at a French request to use Swedish weapon stocks or military materiel. In 2017 Sweden is planning to contribute one of its TP 84 (C-130) Hercules tactical airlifter to the UN force in Mali (MINUSMA). Political and military experts, and part of the opposition in Swedish parliament, sees the Swedish answer to the Paris request as an unclear compromise, and certainly something far off of what the French government was hoping for.

Operation Unified Protector

In April to October 2011 first eight, later five Swedish Air Force Gripen jets flew tactical reconnaissance missions under NATO umbrella in the skies over Libya, operating from Sicily. This operation Unified Protector was backed by the UN. The 2011 deployed marked the first Swedish combat missions since the 1960s, when SAAB J29 Tunnans formed the air element of the UN forces in Congo.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): A Swedish Air Force JAS 39C Gripen fighter at Linköping-Malmen (Image © Marcel Burger)

Denmark: “F-16 pilots not ready to bomb ISIS”

Danish F-16 aircraft – or rather their pilots – are not ready to bomb so-called Islamic State forces (Daesh / ISIS / ISIL) in Syria. The fighter jocks need additional training now that Russia has deployed an advanced anti-air missile system in Syria.

“Our F-16 pilots need ‘re-schooling’ and more advanced training before they could be sent into Syrian airspace. The threat against the aircraft is just too big,” Danish defense minister Peter Christensen told journalist of the quality Danish newspaper Politiken.

Denmark may be called upon by France after Paris requested military help from the European Union countries following the terror attacks in the French capital. All EU countries, including Denmark, agreed to come to the rescue under EU rules.

F-16 Detachment in Kuwait

While Royal Air Force Tornado and Typhoon jets recently joined Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16s and the air forces of the United States and France in targeting both ISIS’s economic (oil fields) and military locations, the defence minister in Copenhagen says that Danish pilots are not ready to do a similar job.

S-400 on Khmeymim Airbase

The very advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile system that Russia deployed on/near Khmeymim Airbase near the Syrian city of Latakia after one of its Sukhoi Su-24 was downed by a Turkish F-16. The S-400 missiles are believed to be able to reach targets at more than 110 miles (185 km) with almost 3 times the speed of sound (Mach 2.9).

F-16 Detachment in Kuwait

Denmark withdrew its detachment of seven F-16 jets, based at Ahmed Al Jaber Airbase in Kuwait, this Autumn from Operation Inherent Resolve. The last of 547 missions was flown on 30 September 2015. The Danes retreated because of verworked maintenance crews, untrained pilots (for other missions than air strikes against ISIS) and budgetary constrains. The Royal Danish Air Force F-16s only operated against targets in Iraq.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: A Danish F-16AM sits nice and quiet inside its hardened aircraft shelter at Skrydstrup airbase. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Bombing ISIS has become a Western war

The bombing of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS / ISIL / Daesh) forces in Syria and Iraq has mainly become a limited Western war. The Arab nations of the coalition no longer take part in it. Meanwhile, Germany is on course to join the coalition.

Apart from Syria and Iraq themselves that is. According to fresh reports it’s mainly the United States, Russia and France who currently operate in the entire region. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has been reluctant to fly into Syria, especially since Moscow sent its expeditionary wing to Hmeymim Airbase near Latakia on the Syrian coast. The RAAF focuses on Iraq only, from the beginning and now. The Royal Air Force and Royal Netherlands Air Force do take part in operations in Syria.

The Su-34 bomber from the October 2014 batch (Image © Sukhoi Company)
Among the aircraft deployed by Russia to Syria are Su-34 bomber/strike aircraft (Image © Sukhoi Company)

Operation Inherent Resolve

But when it comes to the Arab nations that were initially part of the US led IS bombings dubbed Operation Inherent Resolve, they are no longer there. Bahrain already stopped its flights in February, the United Arab Emirates followed in March, the Royal Jordanian Air Force in August and the Royal Saudi Air Force in September.

War in Yemen

Many of those nations are now actively involved in the military operations in the Yemen, where some rivalising forces are supported by Iran – seen as a opponent by all Arab nations mentioned above. The shifting of involvement is – however – also considered a political one now that the conflict especially in Syria has become more complicated with the Russian armed forces involved.

Two French Air Force Dassault Rafale F1 aircraft in the skies of Iraq after receiving fuel from a Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport, 3 October 2014. The French fly from Al Dhafra Airbase in the UAE (Image © SGT Mick Davis / 1st JPAU / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
Two French Air Force Dassault Rafale F1 aircraft in the skies of Iraq after receiving fuel from a Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport, 3 October 2014. (Image © SGT Mick Davis / 1st JPAU / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)

Climax in Syria

An illustration of the troublesome and fluent situation in the skies over Syria from last Tuesday, 24 November: a Turkish F-16 downed a Russian Air Force Su-24 Fencer, with Moscow saying that the strike aircraft posed no threat to Turkey, and Ankara admitting the aircraft flew inside Turkish aerospace for only 17 seconds. It was the climax so far in a conflict that mainly sees the US, Russia and France in action. Their forces only sometimes cooperate in bombing raids against the ISIS, with the Russian adding an extra volatile touch by bombing all forces opposing the government army of Syria.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): A USAF F-15E Strike Eagle from the 48th Fighter Wing on 12 November 2015 over the northern Mediterranean. The unit is deployed to Incirlik AB in Turkey as part of Operation Inherent Resolve (Image © Senior Airman Kate Thornton/USAF)

First operational RAAF KC-30 refuelling of E-7

A Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A (Airbus A330 MRTT) has used its air‑to‑air refuelling boom for the first time on operations while refuelling a RAAF E-7A Wedgetail (Boeing 737) last week during a Coalition mission above Iraq, the Ministry of Defence in Canberra announced on 27 October 2015.

The air-to-air boom refuelling process involved two large aircraft, military versions of the Airbus A330 and Boeing 737-700, approaching within metres of each other while in flight and transferring fuel via a manoeuvrable pipe, known as a boom, which extends back from the rear of the KC-30A. This type of refuelling involves use of the AAR boom at the rear of the aircraft, rather than the wingtip AAR drogues used to refuel smaller aircraft equipped with an AAR probe.

A Royal Australian Air Force E-7A Wedgetail carries out the first operational air-to-air refuellilng from a RAAF KC-30A operations above Iraq on 23 October 2015 (Image © CPL Ben Dempster /  	28SQN AFID - AMB / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A Royal Australian Air Force E-7A Wedgetail carries out the first operational air-to-air refuellilng from a RAAF KC-30A operations above Iraq on 23 October 2015 (Image © CPL Ben Dempster / 28SQN AFID – AMB / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)

The Air Refuelling Operator was responsible for remotely manoeuvring the boom from a control panel on the KC-30A flight deck. While moving at an altitude of 25,000 feet at speeds over 400 knots the KC-30 crew transferred 34,750 pounds of fuel within 15 minutes. That’s equal to 300 family sedan cars at a rate of less than three seconds per car.

A KC-30A and an E-7A Wedgetail, along with six F/A-18A Hornet aircraft, are deployed with the Australian Air Task Group as part of Operation Okra – the Australian contribution to Operation Inherent Resolve – or air strikes against the so-called Islamic State (Daesh) forces in Iraq and Syria.

Source: Australian Government – Ministry of Defence
Featured image (top): The view from the cockpit of a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft as it approaches a RAAF KC-30 Multirole Tanker Transport aircraft in the sky over northern Iraq on 23 October 2015, during the first operational refuelling of the E-7 Awacs. Clearly visible is the extended probe of the tanker’s refuelling boom, which features the latest technology available for this difficult operation. (Image © Major Cameron Jamieson / HQJTF633 / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)