Tag Archives: Westland

Cold Response 2014: biggest of Western Europe

UPDATED 20 MARCH 2014 | Sixteen thousand troops, 16 nations and a sizable sea force supported by numerous airplanes are currently scrambling to defend the northern coasts of Norway. Why? To show that NATO and her partners have teeth and to train to keep those sharp during exercise Cold Response 2014. The first units have moving in place since the end of February, getting ready for the day the war games begin on 11 March 2014 (DV Day) in what can become the biggest joint combined military exercises of Western Europe this year.

The 6th edition of the multinational winter war exercise hosted by Norway brings units from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Ireland, Estonia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the USA, Germany, the United Kingdom together. In an area that is more than 200 km (124 miles) long and between 50 and 100 km (31 and 62 miles) deep, all the way from the southern tip of the beautiful Lofoten islands to the northern Norwegian town of Tromsø. Epicentre is Narvik-Harstad. The air forces involved will use a even bigger chunk of the Norwegian coast, with operations going on all the way from Tromsø to Trondheim in the south of the country.

Cold Response 2014 concluded the operations on 19 March, with the Royal Norwegian Air Force F-16s from 331, 332 and 338 squadrons flying 35 missions. For some countries, like Sweden, be the biggest military exercise of the year. The Swedes contribute 1400 troops this year and will lead the multinational brigade for the first time. The brigade includes forces from the UK, the Netherlands, Canada and Norway. The naval manoeuvers that preluded the exercise had been given their own operation’s name, Dynamic Mongoose, that also saw the involvement of three Royal Navy Merlins. Of course more interesting to us are all air assets of Cold Response 2014.

Taken from the cockpit of a RNoAF F-16 on 4 March 2014, naval forces on their way to the Cold Response mission area (Image © Morten Hanche / Luftforsvaret / Forsvarets mediesenter)
Taken from the cockpit of a RNoAF F-16 on 4 March 2014, naval forces on their way to the Cold Response mission area (Image © Morten Hanche / Luftforsvaret / Forsvarets mediesenter)

Airbases
In-theatre airbases will be Tromsø, Bardufoss, Andenes and Narvik-Harstad. Bodø and Ørland will be used as launching or retracting airfields during the simulated war, and possibly even Luleå-Kallax in Sweden. No word about Kiruna this year, which might have been skipped after the sensitive crash of a RNoAF C-130J on 15 March 2012 en route to Kiruna Flygplats.

A pair of Royal Norwegian Air Force Bell 412 SPs in action during Cold Response 2014. The leading aircraft is sporting Gatling machine guns (Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvarets mediesenter)
A pair of Royal Norwegian Air Force Bell 412 SPs in action during Cold Response 2014. The leading aircraft is sporting Gatling machine guns (Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvarets mediesenter)
A pair of Bell 412s from 339 skavdron at Skjold during Cold Response 2014 (Image © Audun Braastad / Hæren / Forsvarets mediesenter)
A pair of Bell 412s from 339 skavdron at Skjold during Cold Response 2014
(Image © Audun Braastad / Hæren / Forsvarets mediesenter)
RNoAF Bell 412SP with serial 167 coming in low, sporting Gatling guns on both sides of the aircraft (Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvarets mediesenter)
RNoAF Bell 412SP with serial 167 coming in low, sporting Gatling guns on both sides of the aircraft
(Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvarets mediesenter)
Norwegian H.M. King Harald visits Evenes by Bell 412 SP during Cold Response 2014. The king visited The King visited 42 Commando (Cdo) Battle Group Main HQ. (Image ©  PO Si Ethell / Royal Navy / Forsvarets mediesenter)
Norwegian H.M. King Harald visits Evenes by Bell 412 SP during Cold Response 2014. The king visited The King visited 42 Commando (Cdo) Battle Group Main HQ. (Image © PO Si Ethell / Royal Navy / Forsvarets mediesenter)
RNoAF 333 Squadron's P-3C Orion with tail number 3298 fly-by during Cold Response 2014 (Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvarets mediesenter)
RNoAF 333 Squadron’s P-3C Orion with tail number 3298 fly-by during Cold Response 2014 (Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvarets mediesenter)
RNoAF/Kystvakt (Coast Guard) NH-90 with tail no. 049 from 139 Luftving during Cold Response 2014 (Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvarets mediesenter)
RNoAF/Kystvakt (Coast Guard) NH-90 with tail no. 049 from 139 Luftving during Cold Response 2014
(Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvarets mediesenter)
RNoAF NH90 maritime helicopter with serial 049 during tests at Bardufoss Airbase, part of Cold Response 2014 (Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvarets mediesenter)
RNoAF NH90 maritime helicopter with serial 049 during tests at Bardufoss Airbase, part of Cold Response 2014
(Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvarets mediesenter)
RNoAF NH90 maritime helicopter with serial 049 during tests at Bardufoss Airbase, part of Cold Response 2014 (Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvarets mediesenter)
RNoAF NH90 maritime helicopter with serial 049 during tests at Bardufoss Airbase, part of Cold Response 2014
(Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvarets mediesenter)
A 4-pack formation of RNoAF F-16 fighters in a narrow fjord during Cold Response 2014  (Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvarets mediesenter)
A 4-pack formation of RNoAF F-16 fighters in a narrow fjord during Cold Response 2014
(Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvarets mediesenter)
A four-pack of Royal Norwegian Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons passing ground positions during Cold Response 2014 (Image © Ole-Sverre Haugli / Hæren / Forsvarets mediesenter)
A four-pack of Royal Norwegian Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons passing ground positions during Cold Response 2014 (Image © Ole-Sverre Haugli / Hæren / Forsvarets mediesenter)

Luftforsvaret (Royal Norwegian Air Force)
The RNoAF will contributes to CR14:

  • Lockheed Martin F-16AM/BM Fighting Falcon from Bodø (331/332 skvadron) and Ørland (338 skvadron), incl. machines with tail no. 659, 675, 687, 688
  • Lockheed P-3 Orion from Andøya/Andenes, 333 skvadron, including P-3C Orion with tail nr. 3298
  • Lockheed C-130J Hercules from Gardermoen, 335 skvadron
  • Dassault DA-20 Jet Falcon from Rygge, 717 skvadron
  • Bell 412SP from Bardufoss (339 skvadron) and possibly Rygge (720 skvadron), including machines with tail no. 139, 142, 143, 157 and 167
  • NH90 from Bardufoss (operational test & evaluation / 334 skvadron), including machine with tail no. 049
  • Sikorsky/Westland Sea King Mk 43 from Bardufoss, 330 skvadron
A pair of Swedish Air Force JAS 39C Gripen aircraft passing ground forces positions during Cold Response 2014 (Image © Ole-Sverre Haugli / Hæren / Forsvarets mediesenter)
A pair of Swedish Air Force JAS 39C Gripen aircraft passing ground forces positions during Cold Response 2014
(Image © Ole-Sverre Haugli / Hæren / Forsvarets mediesenter)
A Swedish Air Force TP 84 (C-130) with two JAS 39 Gripen fighters en route in 2003 (Image © Forsvarsmakten)
A Swedish Air Force TP 84 (C-130) with two JAS 39 Gripen fighters en route in 2003 (Image © Forsvarsmakten)

Flygvapnet (Swedish Air Force)
The SweAF will contributes to CR14:

  • 8 – 10 SAAB JAS 39 Gripen* from F21 Luleå-Kallax (Norrbottens flygflottilj), 211 & 212 Wing (Stridsflygdivision)
  • 2 SAAB JAS 39 Gripen* from F17 Ronneby (Blekinge flygflottilj), 171 Wing (Stridsflygdivisionen)
  • 1 Lockheed TP 84T (KC-130) Hercules from F7 Såtenäs (Skaraborgs flygflottilj)
  • 1 SAAB TP 100 (Saab 340) with serial 009 F7 Såtenäs (Skaraborgs flygflottilj) flew personnel into the theatre

* The deployed SweAF Gripens include the JAS 39Cs with serials 221 and 249.

A Polish Navy SH-2G Seasprite (Image © Marynarka Wojenna)
A Polish Navy SH-2G Seasprite (Image © Marynarka Wojenna)

Poland
The Polish navy contributes to CR14:

  • 1 Kaman SH-2G Seasprite shipborne ASW/maritime helicopter, operating from the guided-missile frigate ORP 273 Generał Tadeusz Kościuszko, which is the former FFG-9 USS Wadsworth

RNLAF KDC-10 with registration T-235. Archive photo (Image © Dennis Spronk)
RNLAF KDC-10 with registration T-235. Archive photo (Image © Dennis Spronk)

the Netherlands
The Royal Netherlands Air Force contributes to CR14:

  • 1 McDonnell Douglas KDC-10 tanker/transport aircraft, normally based at Eindhoven AB, the Netherlands

German Army Aviation (Heeresflieger) Bell UH-1D Iroquois with serial 72+32 during a static demo at Setermoen during Cold Response 2014 (Image © Håvard Grimsbo Hanssen / FOH / Forsvarets mediesenter)
German Army Aviation (Heeresflieger) Bell UH-1D Iroquois with serial 72+32 during a static demo at Setermoen during Cold Response 2014 (Image © Håvard Grimsbo Hanssen / FOH / Forsvarets mediesenter)

A Luftwafffe C-160 Transall. Archive photo (Image © Marcel Burger)
A Luftwafffe C-160 Transall. Archive photo (Image © Marcel Burger)

A German Lockheed P-3C Orion (Image © Marcel Burger)
A German Lockheed P-3C Orion (Image © Marcel Burger)

Germany
The German Armed Forces contribute to CR14:

  • Bell UH-1D, including machine with serial 72+32 from Transporthubschrauberregiment 30 (THR 30), normally based at Niederstetten, Germany
  • Transall C-160D, Lufttransportgeschwader 63 (LTG63) from Hohn, Germany
  • Lockheed P-3C Orion, Marinefliegergeschwader 3 (MFG3) from Nordholz, Germany, operating from Andøya in Norway

One of the ,,international customers'' of the C-17 is the NATO Heavy Airlift Wing at Papa in Hungary (Image © Marcel Burger)
One of the ,,international customers” of the C-17 is the NATO Heavy Airlift Wing at Papa in Hungary
(Image © Marcel Burger)

NATO
From the combined NATO air units will participate:

  • Boeing E-3A Sentry from NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen, Germany
  • Reportedly at least 1 Boeing C-17A Globemaster III from NATO Air Transport at Papa, Hungary, flew in with German forces

© 2014 AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger with sources that include Forsvaret, Försvarsmakten, Ministerie van Defensie

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)
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)

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)
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)
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)
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)
Cool 'selfie' from a RNoAF F-16 pilot while flying over Indre-Troms (Image © Forsvarets mediesenter)
Cool ‘selfie’ from a RNoAF F-16 pilot while flying over Indre-Troms (Image © Forsvarets mediesenter)

Canada mad at Sikorsky, might choose Merlins over Cyclones

The first interim maritime helicopter, the CH-148 Cyclone, arrived at 12 Wing Shearwater, Canada at May 13, 2011, to support training of Canadian Forces aircrew and technicians for the Maritime Helicopter Project. (Image © RCAF/Sikorsky)
The first interim maritime helicopter, the CH-148 Cyclone, arrived at 12 Wing Shearwater, Canada on May 13, 2011, to support training of Canadian Forces aircrew and technicians for the Maritime Helicopter Project. (Image © RCAF/Sikorsky)

The Canadian government is furious at American helicopter builder Sikorsky for continuously not delivering the purchased and promised 28 CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopters. The Canadians now sent a team of experts to the UK to check out the Royal Navy’s new Agusta Westland AW101 Merlin Mk2s.

The political and technical storm around the Cyclone helicopters has now reached such a point that Sikorsky might face a cancellation of the project by the Canadians all together, despite already paid damages for the years of delay and problems with the new CH-148s. The Royal Canadian Air Force needs the new helicopters by yesterday, to replace beautiful but dinosaur Sikorsky CH-124 Sea Kings in service since 1963.

The Royal Canadian Navy currently faces the lack of a modern air asset that can enlarge the range and effectiveness of the fleet with military, UN or disaster-relief operations. The Cyclones, flown by the Air Force on behalf of the Navy, are destined to execute anti-submarine warfare (ASW), surveillance and search and rescue missions from the Canadian vessels. The old Sea Kings don’t meet current standards and show fatigue after decades of service.

Problems with the engines, with the mission gear and loads of other more minor issues have resulted in not a single CH-148 planned to be introduced in 2008 is currently in effective active service. There is a pre-version CH-148 for training purposes only, but that is about it.

The Cyclones are based on the Sikorsky S-92. Therefore the problems the Canadians are facing, seem to be more bad news for the US presidential helicopter project as well. The Pentagon wants a further developed version of the S-92 as the new POTUS ride.

A drop of the CH-148 and selection of the AW101 Merlin instead would be kind of special. In 1990 the Canadians ordered 50 EH101s on which the Merlins are based, but the deal was cancelled directly after elections by the then new government.

After initial problems with the Merlins in the UK, the Royal Navy now seems really happy with the new Mk2s. The Merlin option would make maintenance for the Canadians also easier, since the RCAF already flies 15 AW101 based CH-149 Cormorants bright yellow SAR helicopters.

© 2013 AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger

Overview: Royal Norwegian Air Force

Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF) (Luftforsvaret) status as of 22 December 2015
(© 2014 Airheadsfly.com, source information: Forsvaret. Featured image: Cool ‘selfie’ from a RNoAF F-16 pilot while flying over Indre-Troms (Image © Forsvarets mediesenter))

>>> Check out our continuing news stream on the Royal Norwegian Air Force

Active number of aircraft: 117

  • 2x Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II multi-role fighter
  • 50x Lockheed Martin F-16AM/BM Fighting Falcon multi-role fighter
  • 4x Lockheed P-3C UIP Orion maritime patrol aircraft
  • 2x Lockheed P-3N Orion maritime patrol aircraft
  • 4x Lockheed C-130J-30 Hercules tactical transport aircraft
  • 2x Dassault DA-20 Jet Falcon electronic warfare aircraft
  • 1x Dassault DA-20 Jet Falcon VIP transport aircraft
  • 18x Bell 412SP utility & transport helicopter
  • 6x NHI NH90 helicopter for coast guard duties and as shipborne anti-submarine / anti-ship and naval support
  • 12x Westland Sea King Mk 43 search-and-rescue helicopter
  • 16x Saab MFI-15 Safari basic training aircraft

Aircraft ordered

  • 20x Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II stealty multi-role fighters. Total requirement 52. First two aircraft delivered in 2015 to Luke AFB, no. 3 and 4 in 2016 and then 6 aircraft every year in the years that follow. F-35s will replace F-16s.
  • 8x NHI NH90 helicopter for coast guard duties and as shipborne anti-submarine / anti-ship and naval support
  • 16x AgustaWestland AW101, first deliveries planned in 2017. Will replace Sea Kings.

Airbases (Flystasjon): 8

Reserve bases and secondary fields: 9

    • Banak Lakselv
      • Sea King Mk 43 (330 skvadron)
    • Andøya/Andenes (133 Luftving)
      • P-3 (333 skvadron)
    • Bardufoss (139 Luftving)
      • Bell 412SP (339 skvadron)
      • Lynx Mk 86 (337 skvadron)
      • MFI-15 Safari (Luftforsvarets flygeskole)
      • NH-90 (operational test & evaluation / 334 skvadron)
    • Bodø (132 Luftving, Huvudflystasjon (Main Air Base))
      • F-16AM/BM Fighting Falcon (331/332 skvadron)
      • Sea King Mk 43 (330 skvadron)
    • Ørland (138 Luftving, Huvudflystasjon (Main Air Base))
      • F-16AM/BM Fighting Falcon (338 skvadron)
      • Sea King Mk 43 (330 skvadron)
    • Gardermoen (135 Luftving)
      • C-130J Hercules (335 skvadron)
      • DA-20 Jet Falcon (717 skvadron)
    • Rygge (under command of 139 Luftving (Bardufoss))
      • Bell 412SP (720 skvadron)
      • Sea King Mk 43 (330 skvadron)
    • Sola (137 Luftving, avd Sola)
      • Sea King Mk 43 (330 skvadron main base)
      • Alert operation base for F-16s
      • NATO tanker aircraft airbase Northern Europe
    • Luke AFB, Arizona, USA (F-35 training unit)
      • F-35A (2 aircraft in 2015, 4 in 2016, 7 aircraft in 2017/2018)

    >>> Check out our continuing news stream on the Royal Norwegian Air Force

    Shooting Range (aka very nice shots)

    A 4-pack formation of RNoAF F-16 fighters in a narrow fjord during Cold Response 2014 (Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvarets mediesenter)
    A 4-pack formation of RNoAF F-16 fighters in a narrow fjord during Cold Response 2014 (Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvarets mediesenter)

    A RNoAF P-3C Orion from 333 squadron during the DV-day under the winter exercise Cold Response 2012 (Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvarets mediesenter)
    A RNoAF P-3C Orion from 333 squadron during the DV-day under the winter exercise Cold Response 2012 (Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvarets mediesenter)

    The latest Royal Norwegian Air Force C-130J Super Hercules that was delivered as attrition to the one lossed in Sweden. (Image © Lockheed Martin)
    The latest Royal Norwegian Air Force C-130J Super Hercules that was delivered as attrition to the one lossed in Sweden. (Image © Lockheed Martin)

    A Royal Norwegian Air Force Dassault DA-20 Falcon in flight (Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvarets Mediecenter)
    A Royal Norwegian Air Force Dassault DA-20 Falcon in flight (Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvarets Mediecenter)

    RNoAF Bell 412SP with serial 167 coming in low, sporting Gatling guns on both sides of the aircraft (Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvarets mediesenter)
    RNoAF Bell 412SP with serial 167 coming in low, sporting Gatling guns on both sides of the aircraft. (Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvarets mediesenter)

    RNoAF/Kystvakt (Coast Guard) NH-90 with tail no. 049 from 139 Luftving during Cold Response 2014 (Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvarets mediesenter)
    RNoAF/Kystvakt (Coast Guard) NH-90 with tail no. 049 from 139 Luftving during Cold Response 2014 (Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvarets mediesenter)

    A Royal Norwegian Air Force (Luftforsvaret) Westland Sea King (Image © Nils Skipnes / Luftforsvaret / Forsvarets mediesenter)
    A Royal Norwegian Air Force (Luftforsvaret) Westland Sea King (Image © Nils Skipnes / Luftforsvaret / Forsvarets mediesenter)

    The final operational landing of a Norwegian Lynx (Image © Mats Grimsæth / Forsvarets Mediesenter)
    The final operational landing of a Norwegian Lynx, before the type was retired in December 2014 (read story and sea more images here) (Image © Mats Grimsæth / Forsvarets Mediesenter)

    One of the best Tigers ever, if we had our say. Which we have, now. The Northrop F-5A/B Freedom Fighter served within the RNoAF 1966 to 2000. Norway bought 78 single-seaters (A), 14 two-seaters (B) and 16 RF-5A tactical reconnaissance jets (Image © Elmer van Hest)
    One of the best Tigers ever, if we had our say. Which we have, now. The Northrop F-5A/B Freedom Fighter served within the RNoAF 1966 to 2000. Norway bought 78 single-seaters (A), 14 two-seaters (B) and 16 RF-5A tactical reconnaissance jets (Image © Elmer van Hest)

    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)