Tag: F/A-18C

175th Wing Deployment ÄMARI AIR BASE in Estonia

A-10C 175th Wing Air National Guard. Photo by SMSgt Jim Foard) (RELEASED) Officila Photo by: Jim Foard,SMSgt,,, United States

For just over a week now, ten A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft and approximately 270 Airmen have been stations at Ämari Air Base, Estonia, to participate in a flying training deployment.

The deployment and training efforts are funded by the European Reassurance Initiative as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, which allows the U.S. to work with allies and partners to develop and improve ready air forces capable of maintaining regional security.

“The long-standing relationship between Estonia and Maryland reinforces U.S. commitment to regional security,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Jason Burns, Bilateral Affairs officer assigned to the Office of Defense Cooperation. “The exercise presents the opportunity for both nations to engage in critical military movements and hone individual skill sets.”

The 175th Cyberspace Operations Group deployed with a Virtual Interconnected Training Environment. The VITE from the 175th Wing, Warfield Air National Guard Base, Maryland, deployed in support of an overseas training exercise for the first time ever.

“The VITE allows us to simulate networks, any network we want, to conduct exercises and training,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Jori Robinson, 175th Cyberspace Operations Group commander. “It allows us to do real world training in a simulated environment where it is safe to conduct these types of exercises.”

During the exercise, the A-10Cs will train with multi-national Joint Terminal Attack Controllers and Combat Control Teams at Amari and Jagala, Estonia.

In addition, an MC-130J Commando II from the 352nd Special Operations Wing, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, United Kingdom, and a combat communications team will deploy from the 435th Air Ground Operations Wing, Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

175th Wing MC-130J Hercules

While deployed, the A-10C’s will also train with the Finnish air force F/A-18 Hornets in Finland, Spanish air force F/A-18 Hornets in Estonia and multinational JTACs in Latvia. Flight operations will take place in Finnish, Estonian, Latvian and international airspace. This training will focus on maintaining joint readiness while building interoperability capabilities.

Spanish Air Force F/A-18 Hornet

“Working with various countries allows us to share and learn new experiences, thoughts and ideas while training for optimal preparedness,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Tony Queen, 175th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron flight chief. “After all, you train the way you fight.”

 

NATO jets in Baltics scrambled 8 times last week to escort Russian aircraft

Ejército del Aire F/A-18C. 5 Spanish Air Force F/A-18Cs make up the Baltic Air Policing element in Estonia, based in Ämari as of 1 May 2017.

VILNIUS – NATO fighter jets serving in the Baltic air policing mission were scrambled eight times last week to intercept Russian military aircraft flying in international airspace over the Baltic Sea, the Lithuanian Defense Ministry said on Monday.

The ministry said that a total of 21 Russian planes were intercepted, around half of which were fighter jets, while the NATO jets also identified several transport and passenger planes over the Baltic Sea.
Most of the Russian aircraft had their automatic transponders switched off, the statement said.

The biggest number of scrambles took place last Thursday, when the alliance’s jets took off three times in total and intercepted ten aircraft.

Polish Air Force F-16C Block 52+ Fighters have been based at Based in Siauliai in Lithuania since May 1 2017.

Navy Looks at Accelerating Super Hornet Transitions

Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy is looking at ways to accelerate the phase-out of F/A-18C “Classic” Hornet strike fighters from its carrier air wings and replacing the last few squadrons with F/A-18E Super Hornets, a Navy spokeswoman said.

“As we balance operational requirements and our initiatives to build the most capable and ready forward-deployed force, we are identifying the most efficient and effective way to safely transition the last four Navy operational Hornet squadrons to Super Hornets,” Cmdr. Jeannie Groeneveld, public affairs officer for commander, Naval Air Forces, said in an e-mail to Seapower.

“In order to provide our most capable warfighting force forward, the Navy began the first of the final transitions of our four operational F/A-18C Hornet squadrons to F/A-18E Super Hornet squadrons in July, with an expected completion in [fiscal] ’19. Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 131, was the first of the four squadrons to begin the transition last month.”

The other three F/A-18C squadrons, all based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., are VFA-34, VFA-37 and VFA-83.

“Accelerating the transition to Super Hornets will allow cost savings and reduce depot maintenance workload,” Groeneveld said. “As the Navy approaches the end of the extended service life for Hornets, the cost per flight hour continues to increase. Additionally, there are shortages in the Department of the Navy’s spare parts and supply system that have contributed to flight line readiness challenges, as well as our ability to extend the service lives of these airframes.”

She also said the transitions give the Navy the opportunity to select its best-condition Hornets for use by the Marine Corps and by Navy support and reserve units, such as Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center, Fighter Composite Squadron 12, Reserve squadron VFA-204 and the Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels.

The Navy is confident it will be able to continue to support all operational requirements as it completes transition of the Hornet fleet to Super Hornets,” she said.

Congress has supported the Navy’s requirements for increased Super Hornet procurement to bridge the gap to the fleet introduction of the F-35C Lightning II strike fighter. The first fleet squadron to make the transition to the F-35C will be VFA-147 in 2018.

 

UPDATE: Poland takes lead of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing, supported by Spain [VIDEO]

Poland took the lead of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission on Tuesday (2 May 2017), succeeding the Royal Netherlands Air Force at Šiauliai airbase in Lithuania. Spain will replace the German Air Force in supporting the mission from Estonia’s Ämari airbase.

Poland took the lead of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission on Tuesday (2 May 2017), succeeding the Royal Netherlands Air Force at Šiauliai airbase in Lithuania. Spain will replace the German Air Force in supporting the mission from Estonia’s Ämari airbase.

Ejército del Aire F/A-18C.

The Polish Air Force will carry out the mission with four F-16 fighter aircraft, while the Spanish Air Force is deploying five F-18 fighter jets.  Poland has now led the mission six times, while Spain is also a regular contributor.

Since 2004, seventeen Allies have participated in 44 rotations of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing. The mission is a standing peacetime activity, helping ensure the integrity of the airspace over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The next scheduled rotation is foreseen for September.

Source: youtube.com and NATO.