Tag Archives: Royal Norwegian Air Force

Photo Feature: Cold Response 2016

About 15,000 troops, including 2,000 of non-NATO member Sweden, 40 aircraft and helicopters, about a thousand vehicles and several ships and boats are currently kicking a** in Northern and Central Norway. Exercise Cold Response included the taking of the normally peaceful village of Namsos, situated on the shores of beautiful fjords.

The 7th edition of the multinational winter war exercise hosted by Norway brings units from mainly NATO countries together, to show what they can as “bad” and “good” force against each other. To train for a possible real war scenario and to show NATO’s current strange “friend” Russia that the North American-European alliance still can.

The Swedes participating took the run-up to Cold Response very seriously, as you could read earlier here at Airheadsfly.com.

We selected some of the great images of this years edition made by Norwegian defence photographers for you. Have fun!

Featured image (top): From the back seat of a RNoAF F-16BM, closing in on the American B-52. (Image © 331 SQN / Forsvaret)

A F-16 from the Royal Norwegian Air Force taking off from Bodø Main Air Station to escort a USAF B-52 bomber over Namsos. The departure marks the start of the winter exercise Cold Response 2016 (Image © Gard Eirik Seter / Luftforsvaret)
A F-16 from the Royal Norwegian Air Force taking off from Bodø Main Air Station to escort a USAF B-52 bomber over Namsos. The departure marks the start of the winter exercise Cold Response 2016 (Image © Gard Eirik Seter / Luftforsvaret)
A short time later followed by a Belgian Air Component F-16AM (Image © Gard Eirik Seter / Luftforsvaret)
A short time later followed by a Belgian Air Component F-16AM (Image © Gard Eirik Seter / Luftforsvaret)
From the back seat of a RNoAF F-16BM, closing in on the American B-52. (Image © 331 SQN / Forsvaret)
From the back seat of a RNoAF F-16BM, closing in on the American B-52. (Image © 331 SQN / Forsvaret)
Hi Buff! Seen from the back seat of a RNoAF F-16BM (Image © 331 SQN / Forsvaret)
Hi Buff! Seen from the back seat of a RNoAF F-16BM (Image © 331 SQN / Forsvaret)
Once about to be axed due to budget cuts, the Royal Netherlands Air Force deployed Cougars both in the old camo as well as the newer overall grey paint scheme to Cold Response 2016  (Image ©  Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvaret)
Once about to be axed due to budget cuts, the Royal Netherlands Air Force deployed Cougars both in the old camo as well as the newer overall grey paint scheme to Cold Response 2016 (Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvaret)
The Marines have landed, or almost, as this Sikorsky CH-53E is about to put some boots on the ground (Image ©  Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvaret)
The Marines have landed, or almost, as this Sikorsky CH-53E is about to put some boots on the ground (Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvaret)
And there they are, as a small surprise coming from the USMC Sea Stallion, Royal Netherlands Marines in the Scandinavian snow ... looking fancy and all in their new ski goggles (Image ©  Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvaret)
And there they are, as a small surprise coming from the USMC Sea Stallion, Royal Netherlands Marines in the Scandinavian snow … looking fancy and all in their new ski goggles (Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvaret)
And especially for those who like photoshopped blue skies (we don't discuss taste) here are the two Dutch Cougars and US Marines CH-53E navigating through the Norwegian landscape (Image ©  Julie Kristiansen Johansen / Forsvaret)
And especially for those who like photoshopped blue skies (we don’t discuss taste) here are the two Dutch Cougars and US Marines CH-53E navigating through the Norwegian landscape (Image © Julie Kristiansen Johansen / Forsvaret)
The crew of a Royal Norwegian Armed Forces Bell 412 at work (Image © Kristian Kapelrud / Forsvaret)
The crew of a Royal Norwegian Armed Forces Bell 412 at work (Image © Kristian Kapelrud / Forsvaret)
After dropping off Dutch troops, the Royal Netherlands Air Force Cougar takes off (Image © Annette Ask / Forsvaret)
After dropping off Dutch troops, the Royal Netherlands Air Force Cougar takes off (Image © Annette Ask / Forsvaret)
A rather gorgious image of a Swedish HKP 15 (Agusta A109) at sundown (Image © Kristian Kapelrud / Forsvaret)
A rather gorgious image of a Swedish HKP 15 (Agusta A109) at sundown (Image © Kristian Kapelrud / Forsvaret)
Photo flight of the naval battle group steaming impressively forwards (Image © Elias Engevik)
Photo flight of the naval battle group steaming impressively forwards (Image © Elias Engevik)
Norwegian and Beligan F-16s preparing for another mission (Image © Olav Standal Tangen / Forsvaret)
Norwegian and Beligan F-16s preparing for another mission (Image © Olav Standal Tangen / Forsvaret)

Norwegian pilot defends F-35’s dogfighting capability

A Norwegian F-35 pilot stationed at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, speaks favourable of the F-35’s dogfigthing capabilities in a blog published on Tuesday 1 March. His statements describe how the aircraft performs better than the F-16 at low speeds. His findings are similar to those of a Dutch F-35 pilot written here on Airheadsfly.com and contrast earlier reports.

Morten ‘Dolby’ Hanche is a pilot with 2,200 hours on the F-16. Last year, he became the first Norwegian to fly the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II, of which Norway seeks 55. Hanche is now an F-35 intructor pilot (IP) at Luke Air Force Base.

In his blog, Hanche writes about his impressions during basic fighter manoeuvring (BFM) in the new jet. “The F-35 provides me as a pilot greater authority to point the nose of the airplane where I desire. This improved ability to point at my opponent enables me to deliver weapons earlier than I am used to with the F-16, it forces my opponent to react even more defensively, and it gives me the ability to reduce the airspeed quicker than in the F-16.”

Slow speed handling is crucial in close range dogfights. “Yet another quality of the F-35 becomes evident in this flight regime”, continues Hanche. “Using the rudder pedals I can command the nose of the airplane from side to side. The F-35 reacts quicker to my pedal inputs than the F-16 would at its maximum angle of attack (AOA). The F-16 would actually be out of control at this AOA.”

The AM-1 is the first Royal Norwegian Air Force F-35A Lightning II, seen here just before the presentation ceremony on 22 September 2015 (Image © Torgeir Haugaard / Forsvarets mediesenter)
The AM-1 is the first Royal Norwegian Air Force F-35A Lightning II, seen here just before the presentation ceremony on 22 September 2015 (Image © Torgeir Haugaard / Forsvarets mediesenter)

Eye-opener

Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) pilot Ian ‘Gladys’ Knight earlier this year already described to Airheadsfly.com that slow speeds are where the F-35 performs better than the F-16. “Slow-speed and high AOA performance is much better than many fourth generation fighters like the F-16. High angle of attack testing has been an eye-opener for previous F-16 pilots, who are not used to very good slow speed performance. ”

Acceleration

Acceleration from the Pratt & Whitney’s F-135 engine impressed both Hanche and Knight. “It is evident that the F-35 has a powerful engine”, writes the Norwegian. His complete blog is found here.

The experience of both pilots contrasts with the findings of an anonymous US pilot, who reported the F-35 had hard time fighting an F-16, even though the latter was fitted with two wing tanks. His experience sparked a lot of critical reports and was mentioned in an annual program review by the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

Norway: “No ISIS fight. F-16s are in bad shape”

The Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF) Lockheed Martin F-16AM/BM Fighting Falcons are in such bad shape that Oslo is not willing to send them to war.

According to Norwegian media a request by the US government for fighter aircraft to combat ISIS in Syria will be turned down. What Norway will offer is still unknown, but it will likely not involve any aircraft.


RELATED: Overview Royal Norwegian Air Force
Working up to Cold Response 2014 this RNoAF F-16AM with serial 687 breaks in preparation for landing at Ørland Airbase after a counter-air training mission over the Norwegian Sea on 4 March 2014 (Image © Morten Hanche / Luftforsvaret / Forsvarets mediesenter)
Check out the Airheadsfly.com overview
of the Royal Norwegian Air Force


F-16 wing cracks

Earlier this year Norwegian defence minister Ine Eriksen Søreide already gave a heads-up of the situation to quality newspaper Aftenposten. “There are problems with the F-16s. Cracks in the wings is one of them.”

A Royal Norwegian Air Force F-16AM with tiger tail (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A Royal Norwegian Air Force F-16AM with tiger tail (Image © Elmer van Hest)

According to sources within the Norwegian military there is no money to keep enough F-16s airworthy for an operation abroad. Almost all available funds go to the purchase of the new Lockheed Martin F-35A Lighting II stealthy multi-role fighter.

RNoAF F-35s at Luke

The first RNoAF F-35s have arrived at Luke AFB in Arizona to start training of Norwegian pilots and ground crew. Two more aircraft will follow in 2016. Eventually seven of the 52 projected new jets will be based there. The Norwegian parliament has already cleared the purchase of 22 of them, which covers the orders until FY2019.

The first Royal Norwegian Air Force F-35 lands at Luke AFB. (Image © US Air Force / Staff Sgt. Marcy Copeland)
The first Royal Norwegian Air Force F-35 lands at Luke AFB. (Image © US Air Force / Staff Sgt. Marcy Copeland)

F-35 operating bases in Norway

In 2017 the first F-35 will arrive at main operating base Ørland in Central Norway, while Evenes Air Station in the far north will be upgraded to host a small forward operating detachment of F-35s – mainly to serve as Quick Reaction Alert for the Russian air threat with about 4 to 6 F-35s based there.

Ørland is already an F-16 base. The second, Bodø, will be decommissioned as active fighter base.

Swedish Gripens in formation with Norwegian F-16s earlier during exercise Cold Response (Image © 338 Skvadron / Forsvaret Norge)
Swedish Gripens in formation with Norwegian F-16s earlier during exercise Cold Response. Both countries are unwilling to send their fighter jets abroad at this moment. (Image © 338 Skvadron / Forsvaret Norge)

Scandinavian “no” to combat ISIS

The Norwegian “no” to fighter aircraft to combat ISIS comes after the Danes already turned down such request for their F-16s as “our pilots are not combat ready” for the task. Sweden – which was asked by France for combat air assets – is bluntly unwilling to field its SAAB JAS 39C/D Gripen jets.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): In a few years these pilot views on Ørland Main Air Station will be history, when these F-16s have been replace by the new F-35A Lightning II (Image © David Vo / Luftforsvaret)

F-35: delivery rate close to four monthly

Delivery rate for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II averaged close to four a month in 2015. In absolute numbers, 45 were delivered compared to 36 in 2014. The figure marks the highest yearly production rate of the 5th generation fighter jet so far.

The US Department of Defense accepted the 45th F-35 aircraft produced this year earlier in December. Among the aircraft delivered is also the aircraft was delivered to the Italian Air Force in December after being assembled and test flown by Alenia Aermacchi earlier this year. A production line in Japan is also gaining momentum.

“Meeting aircraft production goals is a critical stepping stone in demonstrating the program is ready for the expected significant production ramp up,” said Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, F-35 Program Executive Officer. “It took thousands of people around the world to achieve this milestone and they should all be proud of what they accomplished.”

Lightning II numbers

The 45 F-35 deliveries include 26 F-35A  for the US Air Force, eight F-35B and four F-35Cs for the US Marine Corps, another four F-35Cs to the US Navy, two F-35As for the Royal Norwegian Air Force and finally, the Italian F-35A already mentioned.

Most aircraft were sent to Luke Air Force base in Arizona, while others went to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, Eglin Air Force Base, Hill Air Force Base and Nellis Air Force Base.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

First Norwegian F-35 sortie, jets arrive at Luke

The first two Norwegian F-35s arrived at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, on Tuesday 10 November after a flight from their birthplace in Fort Worth, Texas. Shortly after, a Norwegian pilot flew the F-35 Lightning II for the first time, in conjunction with the Royal Norwegian Air Force’s 71st birthday.

Update 12 December 2015: Norway ordered another six F-35s, bringing the total order to 23 aircraft.

The Norwegians are the third nationality to arrive at Luke, apart from the US pilot obviously based there. In December 2014, Australian pilots started training at Luke, followed by Italian pilots just last week. Norway will eventually have seven F-35s stationed at Luke.

Training Program
Eight other nations will be training alongside the U.S. on the new airframe. Other partner nations that will be joining the U.S., Norway and Australia in the F-35 training program here will be Turkey and the Netherlands, in addition to Foreign Military Sales countries Japan, South Korea and Israel.

“When it comes to the partnership, we see a very good transfer from our experience with the F-16 to the F-35,” said Royal Norwegian air force Maj. Morten Hanche, 62nd FS training pilot. “Working with the same and some new partners, will allow us the same benefits. Also, it will allow us to easily integrate and operate together as one force. This is because we train together, we know each other and we keep it very similar.”

Luke currently has 32 F-35s and by 2024, Luke is scheduled to have six fighter squadrons and 144 F-35s.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editors Dennis Spronk and Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): A Norwegian F-35 at Luke. (Image © US Air Force / Staff Sgt. Marcy Copeland)


RELATED POST: F-35 Day for Norway
Front view of the first RNoAF F-35A (Image © Forsvaret)
Front view of the first RNoAF F-35A (Image © Forsvaret)