Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Victor B.2 XL513 & XL 512 carrying Blue Steel - ebay photo find #57

An original Ministry of Defence photograph of Handley Page Victor B.2 XL513 equipped with a Blue Steel Missile.

Note the four Vulcans on QRA. Ministry of Defence wet samp to rear. Neg. No. 26694. Dated 1973.

Victor B.2 XL512 & Blue Steel Original Handley Page Photograph. An original Handley Page Limited photograph of Handley Page Victor B.2 XL512 equipped with a Blue Steel Missile. The photo is slightly under exposed and dark.

On offer here

Sunday, 16 April 2017

29(F) Squadron Phantom Conningsby 1975

Armourers replenish the rotary barrel of a 20mm SUU gun on the flightline at Coningsby in Lincolnshire, before fitting it to a 29(F) Squadron Phantom. 14 April 1975. Sgt Phil Major. Via the RAF Conningsby FB page here 

 Steve Lloyd " ..I was 29 years old at the time at the time. Those were great days, hard work keeping those bad boys in the air. Short sorties meant loads of avionics snags, particularly the radar and inertial nav systems. They were an awesome machines, raw power and performance as good as any at the time so long as the crews were up to it (ours were). Just a pain in the butt to work on - if you were very dominant right handed you had issues. Damned thing was built for left handed techies, which made for a lot of loose article searches late into the night. "Just invert the thing at some time during the sortie, sir, and put the debris in this bag". Wouldn't have missed it for anything.."

 A formation of 29(F) Squadron Phantom FGR.2 based at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, pictured in mid-January 1975.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Chris Bellhouse's T-6/ Harvard G-BGHU, Pent Farm airfield, Postling, Kent, T-6/Harvard walkaround

 T-6/Harvard G-BGHU seen last summer at Postling, Kent, England. The aircraft is painted to represent a T-6 G as flown in Korea by the 64th TCGP in August 1950. All markings, numbers etc are as originally worn during its service with the U.S.A.F. In this guise T-6's were used in the Korean war for forward air control and target marking. They were armed with phosphor rockets and machine guns, although the guns were removed later in the campaign as the pilots spent too much time shooting up targets rather than marking them for others to destroy!

Between 1942/56 this machine served with the U.S.A.A.F. and U.S.A.F before being sold to the Armée de l'Air in 1957. Toting four wing mounted machine guns, two bombs and six rockets it saw service in the Algerian campaign before being sold in 1962 to the Portuguese Air Force seeing service in both Portugal and West Africa. Modified to take under wing multi-racket launching pods and anti SAM flare system fitted. In 1979 it was de-mobbed and moved to the UK, with all armaments and fittings removed. In 1986 this machine was purchased by the current owner, Chris Bellhouse (standing on the wing below) - making it one of the oldest Harvards under continuous ownership on the UK register. The aircraft is now based at Pent Farm airfield, Postling, Kent.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Rare Birds (8) Fiat CR-25 long-range escort fighter -ebay photo find #56

Ing.Celestino Rosaletti designed the Fiat CR-25 as a multi all-purpose aircraft for use in Italy's North African territories. The CR-25 was a twin engine, three seat, long range escort fighter and reconnaissance monoplane. Bearing a marked resemblance to the BR-20 bomber of same designer it employed a two-spar, three-section wing mounted in low-mid positioned to a rectangular section welded steel tube fuselage.

The CR-25 first flew in 1937, and was powered by 840HP Fiat A.74 RC.38 fourteen-cylinder radial engines. Two prototypes were built followed by ten pre-production machines, one of which was used as transport by the Italian Air Attaché in Berlin. This was designated CR-25D. The other nine were designated CR-25 bis and these equipped the 173 Strategic Naval Reconnaissance Squadron. These nine aircraft formed one operational squadron and was based in Sicily from July through October 1942. Their role was to act as convoy escort between Sicily and the Italian peninsula. It is known that at times this type encountered opposing RAF Beaufighters which were on convoy strike and destroy missions from bases at ta'Qali and Hal-Luqa on the strategic island of Malta. On occasions the CR-25 was also employed on sneaky but very risky reconnaissance flights to Malta. This included photographing military installations around Hal-Luqa and Hal-Far airfields, coal dump areas at il-Menqa in Marsa, and the torpedo and Submarine Depot at l-Imsida besides the naval installations and Dockyard facilities at the Kottonera and Casal Paula area and other localities on the island. So daring was their mission that some of the CA-25 found their graveyard in the blue depth of the Mediterranean. Operational strength in reality never exceeded six aircraft during the time due to lack of spares and replacement necessitating a short operational life for the squadron. The CR-25 bis escort fighter was fitted with two 12.7 mm Breda-SEFAT guns in the nose and a third 12.7 mm gun in power-operated dorsal turret. To extend its range extra fuel tanks were fitted in the internal bomb bay, which was originally designed to accommodate a maximum bomb load of 1550 Lbs. By October 1942, when an average of three machines were serviceable, the type was relegated to transport duties. In 1940 work has been initiated on a more heavily armed variant, a CR-25 which also had a slight increase in wing area. However the basic CR-25 design was abandoned and further development ceased. The CR-25 had a maximum speed of 286 mph at 18,200 ft; a cruising speed of 245 mph, landing speed of 78 mph and normal range was 972 miles and a maximum range of 1305 miles. Service ceiling of 26,575 ft. Dimensions of all models were: Span 51'10", Length 44' 5.75", and Height of 11' 1.75" and a wing area of 421.8 Sq. ft.

Sicily 1941 - contingent of Vichy AF machines en route to Syria

More photo finds including Piaggio P. 108, Fiat G12

Monday, 20 March 2017

F-4 VF-111 Sundowners USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV-42) - ebay photo find #60

A U.S. Navy McDonnell F-4N Phantom II fighter (BuNo 151008) from Fighter Squadron VF-111 Sundowners being catapulted from the aircraft carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV-42) in February 1977. VF-111 was assigned to Carrier Air Wing 19 (CVW-19) for FDR´s final cruise to the Mediterranean Sea from 4 October 1976 to 21 April 1977. Franklin D. Roosevelt was decommissioned on 30 September 1977.

 U.S. Navy - U.S. Navy National Museum of Naval Aviation photo No. 1996.253.7279.033

Two U.S. Navy McDonnell F-4B Phantom II of Fighter Squadron VF-111 "Sundwoners" in flight. VF-111 was assigned to Carrier Air Wing 15 (CVW-15) aboard the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea (CVA-43). Date circa 1972

 Source U.S. Navy National Museum of Naval Aviation photo No. 1996.253.7279.001 Author U.S. Navy

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Sea Vixen FAW.1 XN693 Original HMS Centaur Photograph 1964 - ebay photo find #58

Sea Vixen FAW.1 XN693 Original HMS Centaur Photograph 1964. An original HMS Centaur Admiralty photograph of Sea Vixen FAW.1 XN693 of 892 NAS getting ready to start up on HMS Centaur. Note the umbrellas! HMS Centaur/MOD Admiralty wet stamp to rear. Neg. No. G.1206 Dated 22 September 1964.

An original HMS Centaur Admiralty photograph of a line up of Sea Vixen FAW.1's of 892 NAS on HMS Centaur. They are 214 - XJ494, 215 - XJ525, 216 - XN706 and 217 - XN687.

on offer here


Monday, 13 March 2017

Victor K.2 XL190 55 Squadron Original MOD photograph 1993 -ebay photo find # 59

Victor K.2 XL190 55 Squadron Original MOD photograph 1993. An original Ministry of Defence photograph taken by Sgt. Rick Brewell of Victor K.2 XL190 of 55 Squadron in September 1993. Last flown in October 1993 to RAF St. Mawgan, it was broken up in February 1999 the nose section going to the Manston Museum.

Victor B.1 Maintenance Original Photograph. An original period (probably MOD) photograph of a Victor B.1 undergoing maintenance possibly at RAF Gaydon.

MOD) photograph of a Victor B.1 formation. Aircraft are XH588, XH589, XH591 and XH592. The cockpit section of XH592 is at the Midland Air Museum.

images on offer here

More RAF Manston and RAF Manston History Museum on this blog;

Granby Buccaneer 

Airframes at the RAF Manston fire dump

first Gloster Meteor sortie  July 1944 RAF Manston

Manston's Lightning F.6

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Israeli F-35s have already seen combat action

...according to Thomas Newdick on twitter quoting Le Figaro correspondent Georges Malbrunot.  

According to Malbrunot « pour la première fois, Israël a utilisé des chasseurs F-35 la nuit du 12-13 janvier pour frapper Damas, estiment les services [de] rens[seignements] français..le raid a visé des entrepôts de missiles Pantsir S-1 destinés au Hezbollah à l’aéroport militaire de Mezzeh à Damas. Tsahal a aussi détruit une batterie anti-aériennne de missiles S-300, déployée sur le mont Qassioun, près du palais présidentiel ».

 Israeli F-35's bombed Damascus on the night of 12-13 January targeting warehouses containing Russian-made Pantsir-S1 mobile surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems that Israel feared could be delivered from Syria to Hezbollah forces operating in Lebanon. The warehouse was located at Mezzeh, a military airfield in Damascus. During the same attack, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) also reportedly destroyed an S-300 SAM battery deployed near the Syrian presidential palace, on Mount Qassioun. According to an unnamed French intelligence source quoted by Malbrunot, the F-35 aircraft finally overflew the palace of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, before returning to Israel.

much more on the F-35 on this blog




Saturday, 4 March 2017

MiG 21 and MiG 23 SyAAF Syrian Air Force Hama airbase 679 Squadron - Murad Gazdiev report

Reporter Murad Gazdiev ; " .. almost half a decade of civil war has left the Syrian Air Force depleted, battered and bruised. Nonetheless they are still flying jets, some of which are older than my parents.."

While the MiG 21 may be a Vietnam-war era combat aircraft and in many parts of the world is a museum piece, it is still doing a job in Syria for Assad and must be relatively easy to fly and maintain although presumably features no modern avionics far less 'smart' weapons. The bombs seen slung under the wings of this MiG 21 are of Syrian manufacture.."it's a strong, tough plane and safe as well.." according to the pilot interviewed in the video.

Syrian pilots spend most of their flying time at low to medium altitude where battlefield threats are more potent. Based on the aircraft type, Syrian pilots use different attack techniques for unguided munitions. From the video footage here MiG 21s resort to low to medium altitude bombing runs at high speed. Su 22s come in low, firing thermal decoy flares against IR homing missiles and zooming after the attack.

" ..In five years of civil war, Al Assad’s air force has suffered a confirmed loss of at least 55 aircraft and 57 helicopters shot down or crashed and another 28 helicopters and 51 aircraft written-off on the ground — notably, most of the latter were in unserviceable condition. Included in these numbers are about a dozen of L-39s, seven MiG-23s of all variants, at least four Su-22s and four Su-24MK2s.
Also included are no fewer than 10 MiG-21bis from Hama-based No. 679 Squadron. Losses within this unit forced the SyAAF to send MiG-21UM two-seat conversion trainers into combat and also to re-deploy a squadron of MiG-23ML interceptors to Hama..."

 Tom Cooper in "What's left of the Syrian Air Force.." here

..and while preparing the above a No. 679 squadron MiG 21 bis operating from Hama AB and piloted by Col. Mohammad Sawfan was shot down by rebels following a suspected malfunction. The aircraft subsequently crashed in Turkish territory close to the border; the pilot ejected but was arrested and photos of him appeared on twitter showing him in hospital in Antakya..

Syrian Air Force feat of arms, commentary