Saturday, September 29, 2007


In case you ever wondered what your Air Force is up to every day in Southwest Asia, regular air power summaries are posted on Air Force Link.

(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jonathan Snyder)


The F-86 was the Air Force's premier fighter during the Korean War. With its swept wing design it dueled with Mig-15’s for air supremacy in the skies over Korea. Notable Sabre pilots where Capt James Jabbara, 15 kills, Capt Manuel Fernandez, 14.5 kills and Major Frederick “Boot”s Blesse, 10 kills all from the 334 Fighter Interceptor Squadron. “Once An Eagle”

Wing span:
39 ft 1 in (11.91 m)
37 ft 0 in (11.27 m)
14 ft 0 in (4.26 m)
Wing Area:
288 sq ft (26.75 sq m)
10,815 lb (4,906 kg)
Gross T/O:
17,772 lb (8,061 kg)
Maximum Speed:
688 mph (1,107 km/h) @ sea level.
Service Ceiling:
48,000 ft (14,630 m)
Cruising Speed:
513 mph (826 km/h)
Normal Range:
463 miles (745 km)
Maximum Range:
1,317 miles (2,120 km)
Single J47-GE-27 (no afterburner) rated @ 5,910 lbs (2,708 kg) thrust
Six .50 caliber M-3 machine guns - 265 rpg. 2,000 lb (907 kg) bombs or 16 x .5 in rockets.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

San Francisco's Film Commission Turns Down USMC

Just when you think San Francisco could not get any worse, San Francisco's Film Commission turned down the application form the USMC Silent Drill Team for use of a city street on the day the team was in town to film parts for a future Marine commercial.
This occurred after they had already filmed in New York’s Time Square.
Check it out
And a follow up

And one for the Marines Silent Drill Team Filmed in Canada

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

San Francisco Supervisor Chris Daly Fails To Ban the Blue Angels

Yesterday San Francisco supervisors voted against a ban of the Blue Angles performing during Fleet Week. Supervisors voted down the latest attempt by Supervisor Chris Daly to ban the demonstration team. I can remember when San Francisco and the bay area was a military town. Years of mental disease by the left has destroyed any notion of supporting the military by the majority of the local population.

U.S. Navy Photograph

Combat controller recounts battle for AFA audience

Interesting article on Air Force Combat Controllers via Air Force Link, Combat controllers are another group of special operations airman that work hand in hand with other special forces groups.

This link is a good overview of what a CCT does.
(U.S Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy T. Lock)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Israeli Commando's Seize Nuclear Material Prior To Air Raid

A follow up on the Israeli actions in Syria by the Sunday Times, it appear that Israeli commando’s from their elite Sayeret Matkal special operations unit seized nuclear material from the site before the air raid that was conducted by F-15I's from the 69 Hammer squadron.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Raiders Snap 11 game losing streak

As along suffering Raider fan I’m happy to report that Oakland beat Cleveland at home 26-24, snapping an 11 game losing streak. I can now wear my polo shirt at work.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will speak at Columbia University

Later today Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will speak at Columbia University. The university president claims it’s a free speech issue. This is the same university that will not allow ROTC on its campus.(Great Link to a BlackFive post)
To give this man who is a known anti-Semite, holocaust denier and President of a country who is not only smuggling weapons and advisors into Iraq that kill our soldiers a propaganda platform is a disgrace but to be expected by a left leaning university. The picture is a copy of the Freedom First ad that will run surprisingly in today’s New York Times. A link to an AP article on weapons smuggling.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Iranian Air Force New Jet

When I first saw this picture and read the comments of the Iranian Defense Minister I was laughing so hard I almost fell out of my chair. This kind of release has got to be targeted for the Arab street who might actually believe that a modified F-5 could compete with F-15C Eagles or F-18 Super Hornets. The Iranian Air Force consists mainly of F-4D/E, and F-5 aircraft bought when the Shah was in power. In addition there are a few squadrons of Mig –29 Fulcrums, Chinese F-7, and a few F-14 Tomcats. As an old Eagle maintainer I know what it takes to keep fast jets fully operational and combat ready. I would be surprised if more than a handful of F-14 and F-4 aircraft are serviceable and even the easier to maintain F-5’s would be in a sorry state because of the long arms embargo. This coupled with the usual lack of training and preparedness in Arab pilots will mean during any confrontation with Iran, Allied Air Forces would gain air dominance during the first few hours. Most folks simple do not know or understand how lethal our pilots are in the Eagle or Hornet not to mention the new Raptor.
The F-15 Eagle has a lifetime kill ratio of 104 – 0, the majority of the kills were made by the Israeli AF against the Syrians during the 1982 Lebanon war and the USAF during Desert Storm.

Below are some of the defense ministers quotes and I’ll link to the article.

“This fighter plane has been researched, designed and built with indigenous means and this new generation of fighter plane is entering industrial production," Defence Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar said, according to the state-run IRNA news agency.
"Our forces like a thunderbolt will blind the eyes of the enemies of our land," he added. "And in the battlefield of defending our land, just like a thunderbolt, they will set ablaze the enemies' camp."

Friday Blast From The Past

Nice shot of a B-58 Hustler. Look for a future post on the B-58, its records and short career.

Exercise Koa Lightning B-52's

(AFPN) B-52s demonstrate global reach, global power
A deployed B-52 Stratofortress returns after an Exercise Koa Lightning sortie to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. In September's Koa Lightning, B-52 aircrews dropped inert weapons on their targets for the first time. The aircraft were talked in to the targets by joint terminal air controllers on the ground. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. Mahmoud Rasouliyan)

Cornyn Amendment Passed

Yesterday the Cornyn Amendment passed the U.S. Senate by a vote of 75 for 25 against. The usual suspects voted no, Obama was not present. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind how Hillary Clinton really feels about the military. Below is the amendment and the no votes.

Text of Amendment:
To express the sense of the Senate that General David H. Petraeus, Commanding General, Multi-National Force-Iraq, deserves the full support of the Senate and strongly condemn personal attacks on the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all members of the United States Armed Forces.

Voting “nay“:
Akaka (D-HI)Bingaman (D-NM)Boxer (D-CA)Brown (D-OH)Byrd (D-WV)Clinton (D-NY)Dodd (D-CT)Durbin (D-IL)Feingold (D-WI)Harkin (D-IA)Inouye (D-HI)Kennedy (D-MA)Kerry (D-MA)Lautenberg (D-NJ)Levin (D-MI)Menendez (D-NJ)Murray (D-WA)Reed (D-RI)Reid (D-NV)Rockefeller (D-WV)Sanders (I-VT)Schumer (D-NY)Stabenow (D-MI)Whitehouse (D-RI)Wyden (D-OR)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Rare Bear Wins Reno Gold

Rare Bear a highly modified F8F-2 Bearcat won the Gold race at Reno over the weekend.
Rare Bear the fastest propeller driven aircraft in the world with a record speed of 528.33 mph won the race with an average speed of 478.394. Congratulations to pilot John Penney and his crew.

Moody AFB PJ's HALO jumping

Thanks to PJ Country blog for the Pic.
For those who don't know USAF Pararescuemen are elite Special Forces operators who have a wide range of skills and training. I will post more information about PJ's in the future., click the link to go to PJ Country

Nellis Airpower Demonstration

The Air Force had a public firepower demonstration Sept. 14 at the Nevada Test and Training Range. Highlights included Pararescuemen in action along with air action like this high speed pass by a Nellis AFB assigned F-15E strike Eagle.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dozens Dead in Syrian-Iran test

So much for no WMD development in the Middle East, Iranian technicians and Syrian officers died during a test July 23 while trying to mount a chemical warhead on a Scud. I wonder if anyone bothered to tell the leftist’s Reid and Pelosi.
Click the title for a link to the Jerusalem Post article.

F-16 Down in Italy

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy (AFPN) -- An Aviano Air Base pilot successfully ejected from an F-16 Fighting Falcon while on a routine training mission Sept. 18 here.

The pilot was transported to a medical treatment facility for evaluation.

The aircraft crashed in a remote area northwest of Aviano AB. Italian Carabinieri police and emergency response teams responded to the crash site. Aviano AB Airmen are assisting at the crash site.

A board of officers will investigate the accident.

Rep. Jack Murtha still a dirt bag

Jeff Gannon directly confronted Yesterday Rep. Jack Murtha on his comments of “cold blooded killers” in reference to the Haditha Marines. For those of you not keeping up with the article 32 hearings the 4th accused Marine had his charges dismissed yesterday.
Murtha should do all of us and his Ohio constitutes a favor and resign immediately.
To check out the video click the post title.

334 FS Fighting Eagles

The 334 FS was the last squadron I served in prior to retirement from active duty. They have a long history dating back to the RAF 71st Eagle Squadron flying Hurricanes to the current F-15E Strike Eagles. They are part of the 4th Fighter Wing located at Seymour Johnson AFB, Goldsboro, NC.
"Once an Eagle"

Constituted 334 Fighter Squadron on 22 Aug 1942. Activated on 12 Sep 1942. Redesignated 334 Fighter Squadron, Single Engine, on 20 Aug 1943. Inactivated on 10 Nov 1945. Activated on 9 Sep 1946. Redesignated: 334 Fighter Squadron, Jet Propelled, on 23 Apr 1947; 334 Fighter Squadron, Jet, on 14 Jun 1948; 334 Fighter-Interceptor Squadron on 20 Jan 1950; 334 Fighter-Bomber Squadron on 8 Mar 1955; 334 Fighter-Day Squadron on 25 Apr 1956; 334 Tactical Fighter Squadron on 1 Jul 1958; 334 Fighter Squadron on 1 Nov 1991.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Happy Birthday USAF

Today is the 60th birthday of America’s Air Force. My thanks and prayers go out to all Airmen, past, current and future.

F-22 gets enviromental clearance at Hickam AFB

On September 13 the Air Force confirmed that there will be no adverse environmental impact when they replace the F-15C and D at Hickam with brand new F-22 Raptors.
The new F-22 squadron is expected to stand up in 2011 combining the active duty 531st Squadron with the Hawaii Air National Guard.

IAF raid in Syria, HAT TIP In from the Cold

Thanks to In From The Cold

Sunday's U.K. Times provided tantalizing details of Israel's recent airstrike against that Syrian nuclear facility.

Based on reporting from the Middle East and Washington, the Times story confirmed that Israeli warplanes targeted nuclear materials that were apparently shipped to Syria by North Korea. The article also verified claims that the recent strike was an air/ground operation, with Israeli commandos providing laser designation for F-15Is, which dropped precision weapons on their targets.

Sources also tell the Times that the raid destroyed storage bunkers at a supposed "agricultural" complex along the Euphrates River, near the Iraqi border. The facility apparently gained the attention of Israel's intelligence services, which ordered additional overhead coverage of the target in recent months. According to the Times (and the Washington Post), the raid appeared to coincide with the arrival of a North Korean ship at a Syrian port. The North Korea vessel docked only three days before the airstsrike, carrying a cargo listed was as cement, but was suspected of concealing nuclear equipment.

Not surprisingly, the raid was cloaked in secrecy and deception--hallmarks of past Israeli military operations. Only three members of the Israeli cabinet knew about the raid in advance --Prime Minister Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister. To deceive the Syrians, Mr. Olmert reduced Israel's troop presence along the Golan Heights in the days before the attacks, suggesting an easing of tensions between the two countries.

Obviously, the Israeli strategy worked; the operation caught Damascus by surprise (there was apparently little reaction from Syria's air defense system); the Israelis inflicted serious damage on the target, and both the F-15I crews and the commandos escaped unscathed. Syria has threatened retaliation, but its options are limited. The odds of Syrian aircraft penetrating Israeli airspace are slim, and a missile strike would invite a devastating response, as would an attack across the Golan Heights.

Still, the Times article leaves a number of questions unanswered. We'll begin with the issue of Israel successfully penetrating Syria's air defense system. While it's happened before, the Syrian air defense network was supposedly re-organized after an embarrassing 2003 Israeli strike against a Palestinian terrorist camp near Damascus. During that raid, the Israelis reportedly exploited confusion over geographic responsibilities within the Syrian defense system. The most recent mission--which involved a much deeper penetration into Syrian territory--suggests that (a) Bashir Assad's air defense network hasn't improved, or (b) the Israelis are using more advanced measures to target the system, and render it impotent.

Then, there's the matter of that commando team. If the Times is correct, those personnel arrived in the target area a day ahead of the fighters, inserted (we'll assume) by Israeli Sea Stallion helicopters. As we've noted before, the successful infiltration of a commando team by helicopter, deep into Syrian territory, is an impressive operational feat, indeed. But getting the commandos (and their choppers) all the way across Syria (and back again), undetected, represents a monumental challenge, even for a state-of-the-art military like the IDF.

That raises another interesting question: where did the commandos and their choppers come from? The target also lies relatively close to Syria's northern border with Turkey, which just happens to have close military ties with Israel. It would be far easier for those Sea Stallions to infiltrate from an airfield or forward operating base in Turkey, rather than making the long trip across Syria. So far, little has been said about a possible Turkish "role" in the enterprise, despite the fact that the IDF has long trained in that country, and members of Turkey's armed forces routinely utilize Israeli military facilities.

There's also the possibility that the commando team staged from a location in Iraq, as suggested by the Times:

According to Israeli sources, American air force codes were given to the Israeli air force attaché in Washington to ensure Israel’s F15Is would not mistakenly attack their US counterparts.

But that's something of a red herring. The "codes" refer to signal transmitted by the Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) transponders carried by all combat aircraft. But in a combat environment, attacking aircraft shut off their IFF before entering hostile airspace. Israeli jets attacking that Syrian "agricultural" complex (presumably) weren't transmitting an IFF "squawk." Moreover, the target is apparently far enough from the border that an accidental "intrusion" into Iraqi airspace--and targeting by U.S. jets--was a remote possibility, at best. And, the Israelis knew that our fighters wouldn't respond to an incident that was clearly within Syrian territory, and posed no threat to our own forces.

So why did the Israelis have our IFF codes? There are several possibilities. First, there's the slimmest of chances that the commando force staged from one of Saddam's old airfields in western Iraq. However, the chances of that happening are virtually non-existent; in today's Middle East environment, the U.S. can't afford to provide direct support to an Israeli strike on a Muslim nation.

On the other hand, there a better chance that the U.S. would allow a crippled Israeli aircraft to land at an airfield in western Iraq that is under our control. Al Asad Airfield, located 180 miles west of Baghdad would be the most likely candidate for a divert base; obviously, an emergency landing at Al Asad or any other U.S.-controlled airfield would be facilitated by transmitting the right IFF squawk, and preventing intercept by our fighters. There's also the possibility that Israel has made "other arrangements" within Iraq, and needed the IFF codes to simply allow transit through U.S.-protected airspace.

While the aircraft used on the Syrian raid--the F-15I--is no surprise, the inclusion of a ground team (or, at least their stated purpose) is a bit curious. As we noted last week, Israel's most advanced jet fighters are trained (and equipped) for employment of JDAM, which relies on satellite guidance. In many respects, that weapon would be a better choice for targeting the Syrian storage bunkers, since the guidance kit can be attached to virtually any type of conventional bomb (including penetrators), eliminating the need for ground designation. The presence of that commando team suggests that Israel was concerned about potential GPS jamming, or (more likely) the commando were dispatched to retrieve nuclear material from the site--a claim repeated in the Times' article.

Finally, there is still debate over exactly what was at the Syrian complex, and the urgency of the Israeli strike. In the Times' account, the target is alternately referred to as nuclear "material" and "equipment." Obviously, those descriptions are a bit vague, covering everything from fissile uranium (and other bomb components) to the machinery used in fabricating nuclear weapons. But then, there's this quote--from an Israeli source--which suggests the IDF were going after something much more ominous:

“This was supposed to be a devastating Syrian surprise for Israel,” said an Israeli source. “We’ve known for a long time that Syria has deadly chemical warheads on its Scuds, but Israel can’t live with a nuclear warhead.”

Truth be told, we may never know what was at that "agricultural center" along the Euphrates. But it is revealing that the Israelis, who had been watching the facility for months, suddenly elected to strike the complex, after that "cargo" arrived from North Korea. Something about the shipment spurred Israel to action, suggesting that it was more than equipment, or material that could be eventually used in nuclear weapons.