On the 2nd of October 2015, 5 A-10Cs from the 74th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron arrived at Spangdahlem Airbase in Germany.
The A-10s assigned to the 74th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron are in Germany to conduct training as part of their Theater Security Package mission in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.
Operation Atlantic Resolve are ongoing efforts in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine, namely the War in Donbass. All U.S. efforts in support of NATO fall under the umbrella of Operation Atlantic Resolve. The U.S. took several immediate steps to demonstrate solidarity with NATO, such as augmenting the air, ground and naval presence in the region, and enhancing previously scheduled exercises. The U.S. is taking measures to enhance NATO military plans and defense capabilities and remains committed to maintaining a persistent presence in Eastern Europe.
Spangdahlem Air Base (IATA:SPM, ICAO: ETAD, former code EDAD) is a United States Air Force base constructed between 1951 and 1953 and located near the small German town of Spangdahlem, approximately 30 km NNE of the city of Trier, Rhineland-Palatinate. Spangdahlem is home of the 52d Fighter Wing, which maintains, deploys and employs Lockheed Martin Block 50 F-16CJ. In total, 4,800 military personnel, 840 German nationals and 200 US contractors are working at the base.
During the week of 15 to 21 june 2015, the 51st edition of the Paris Air Show (Salon international de l’aéronautique et de l’espace)was held at Le Bourget airport. This Air Show takes place every 2 years and counts as one of the largest trade shows for the aviation industry. Also this year, the show was visited by over 150,000 professional visitors as well as more than 3,000 journalists from over 80 countries.
This year’s edition of the Paris Air Show showed 1,017 order commitments and 206 options, which leads to a total of 1,223 orders. Of these orders, 531 went to Airbus and 350 to Boeing.
Traditionally the Paris Air Show is the home show for Airbus, as well as companies from the French defence industry like Dassault, Thales and MDBA. After this year’s merger with Eurocopter, the Airbus booth was the largest booth on the grounds and showed a wide spectrum of aircraft, ranging from the electrically powered E-Fan, through the Caracal helicopter, up to the enormous A.380 airliner. The booth also featured a full-scale mock-up of the new H160 helicopter. The H160 made it’s first flight from Marseille in the week prior to the Paris Air Show. Airbus also showed it’s goods in full force during the flying display. After the may 2015’s fatal crash in Seville and it’s subsequent grounding, the A.400M was back in action, showing an impressive flying display.
Due to the sequestration, the United Stated Department of Defence had to miss out on the 2013 edition of the Paris Air Show, but this year they returned in full force, showing aircraft such as the A-10 Thunderbolt II and the P-8 Poseidon on the static display.
An interesting newcomer was the Chengdu/PAC JF-17 fighter aircraft from Pakistan. This fighter aircraft was developed jointly by China and Pakistan. Pakistan produces 58% of the aircraft, China produces 42% and the aircraft is powered by a Klimov RD-93 engine. There are plans though to equip the next version of the JF-17 with a different engine, as the RD-93 (developed from the MiG-29’s RD-33) produces too much smoke. For this year’s Paris Air Show, the Pakistan Air Force brought 3 aircraft. One featured in the static show, while the other was shown during the flying display. The 3rd JF-17 featured as a backup aircraft. At the end of the show, Air Commodore Khalid Mahmood of the Pakistan Air Force announced that the first export-order was signed with an undisclosed Asian country.
Even though Airbus dominated the show, Boeing also made sure it’s presence was noted. In the weeks before the Air Show a video was already loaded onto YouTube, showing the complete display that the Boeing 787-9 would fly in Le Bourget. This display featured a near-vertical take-off and the audience was not left disappointed.
A new player in the market for small airliners is Bombardier. In Paris the Canadian company showed it’s new C-series with the CS100 and the CS300. With these aircraft Bombardier focuses on the market that is currently served by aircraft such as the Airbus 320 and the Boeing 737.
On the Ground
Le Bourget always has many gems in the static display, some hidden away behind flagpoles, tents and banners. Below is an impression of what could be found on the ground.
Up in the Air
Next to a huge showground for the static display, Le Bourget would not be complete without a flying display. Here are some pictures from this years show.
Patrouille de France
No Air Show is complete without a show from the famous Patrouille de France. The same obviously goes for Le Bourget.
The next Paris Air Show will be in June 2017. Let’s see what that edition will bring.
Some action pictures of A-10 Thunderbolt IIs at the Nordhorn Air to Ground Range. The Nordhorn Range is a military aviation bombing and gunnery range to the east of nearby Nordhorn, in Lower Saxony, Germany. This is one of the few gunnery ranges in Western-Europe where A-10 pilots can use the mighty 30mm GAU-8 Avenger cannon.
These A-10’s from the 355th Fighter Wing were at the time deployed to Spangdahlem Airbase for the US Airforce’s Theatre Security Package. This was a response to Russia’s agressions towards Ukraine.
After a couple of weeks in Germany the A-10’s moved further east to have exercises with other NATO countries.