Tag Archives: helicopter

Exercise Trial Embow XV

Between 28 September and 15 October 2015 the exercise Trial Embow 2015 was held at the range of WTD 91 in Meppen (Germany). This item gives some insight into the participants and purpose of the exercise.

The Belgian armed forces participated with their brand new NH90 helicopter.
The Belgian armed forces participated with their brand new NH90 helicopter.

The purpose of the Embow excercises is to familiarize aircrew with the self-defence tools that they carry against ground-based systems. The main aim of Embow is to allow aviators to test, under live and monitored conditions, the capacity of their aircraft to evade infrared-guided surface-to-air missiles, from basic Manpads to more advanced surface to air short-range systems (SHORADS). As a cherry on the cake, the Embow trials are always performed in highly instrumented areas so that the participants can take a close look at the actual efficiency of the systems they field. Any noticed discrepancy is then funneled, in a second move, back to the industry for updating and improvements.

A Danish C-130J deploys flares over the Meppen Range
A Danish C-130J deploys flares over the Meppen Range

For this year’s edition the WTD 91 range was chosen as the location. The range is the largest instrumented range in Europe and with dimensions of 7 by 31 kilometers and a reserved airspace up to an altitude of 5000 feet. Next to that the facility has its own airfield and helipad, which was very useful for the helicopters participating in the exercise.

Meppen Range (EDR34) in Northern Germany, as shown on aviation charts
Meppen Range (EDR34) in Northern Germany, as shown on aviation charts
Down on the Range

During a typical sortie, the range was booked for the duration of 30 minutes. Sorties were only flown by single aircraft, as the whole mission had to be measured. The aircraft would then fly a pre-determined set of patterns (radials) upon which a flare would be dropped after a count down from the ground station. These missions were also flown with different types of flares per aircraft type. Evaluation of the measurements would then show if the flare behaved in the same way as specified by the producer.

A very rare participant was this Spanish Chinook
This Spanish Chinook was a very rare participant, something not very often seen in this part of Europe
At the airfield

Trial Embow XV saw participation from all over Europe with various types of aircraft, ranging from a Belgian A.109 Helicopter to the British C-17 transport aircraft. Particpating countries were Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.

A French Mirage 2000 banks low over the range
A French Mirage 2000 banks low over the range

Most helicopters were temporarily based at Meppen’s airfield, whereas most fighters operated from Nörvenich and Leeuwarden airbases. Most transport aircraft flew directly form their homebase. Upon arrival at Meppen (EDR-34), they would change their normal radiocallsign to a callsign ranging from Outlaw01 to Outlaw10.

A C-27J Spartan from the Italian Air Force's RSV test unit was testing some new defensive systems.
A C-27J Spartan from the Italian Air Force’s RSV test unit was testing some new defensive systems.

 

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World Harbour Days Rotterdam 2015

During the first weekend of September 2015 hosted the World Harbour Days. Every year hundredthousands of people take the chance to get a glimps behind the scenes of Europe’s largest port. The visitors can pay a visit to several ships, admire demonstrations on the water and watch presentations from the many companies that use the Port of Rotterdam. The main stage is next to the Erasmusbridge.

A tug shows its power and tight turning radius
A tug shows its power and tight turning radius

One of the demonstrations  was hosted by the Royal Netherlands Navy. In this display, a vessel was attacked by “pirates” in small motorboats. Once the ship was captured, they hoisted their piratesflag in the mast.

The captured vessel with the FRISC and NH90
The captured vessel with the FRISC and NH90

In order to recapture the ship, the Royal Netherlands Navy came into action. First a FRISC with 6 marines aboard was deployed to capture the ship again. At the same moment a NH-90 from the Defence Helicopter Command (DHC) entered the scene and dropped marines, via the fast-roping technique, right onto the deck of the pirated vessel. The ship was consequently liberated.

Marines are fast-roping from the NH-90 helicopter onto the deck of the captured vessel
Marines are fast-roping from the NH-90 helicopter onto the deck of the captured vessel
Several large buildings caused an unusual backdrop for this NH-90, which would normally operate over sea
Several large buildings caused an unusual backdrop for this NH-90, which would normally operate over sea

At this point the demonstration was cut short. The reason was that a body was seen in the river, close to the display area. Next to police, fire brigade and ambulance services, all available boats from the display as well as the NH-90 moved to the scene to assist in the search operation. Shortly after, the remains of a person were recovered in the waters near the Koninginnebrug. More information (in Dutch) can be found HERE.

The NH-90 and Port Authority vessels were used to search for the missing person
The NH-90 and Port Authority vessels were used to search for the missing person

After the first of many rain showers, a rescue operation was displayed. In this scenario a fire had started aboard a tanker vessel, causing injuries to the crew. This meant that assistance was needed to extinghuish the fire and to evacuate the wounded. First on the scene was the KNRM Jeanine Parqui lifeboat, normally based in Hoek van Holland. This lifeboat was followed by one of the Port Authority’s tugs, which used its massive watercanons to stop the fire. Finally a Noordzee Helikopters Vlaanderen (NHV) SA.365 Dauphin helicopter arrived to rescue the people from the burning tanker. NHV performs Pilot and SAR duties on behalf of the Dutch government from their heliport in the Pistoolhaven on the Maasvlakte.

A medic is dropped onto the deck of the "burning" tanker.
A medic is dropped onto the deck of the “burning” tanker.
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The Search and Rescue Dauphin flies between Rotterdam’s high-rise buildings
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Getting on my Nörves

During the month of July the Büchel based Tornados from Taktisches Luftwaffen Geschwader 33 were temporarily deployed to Nörvenich Airbase (close to Cologne). The reason for this deployment was the fact that Büchel’s runway was being renewed.

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A TLG 33 Tornado crew prepares for another mission from Nörvenich Airbase.

Having both Eurofighters (Eufis) and Tornados (Tonis) operating from the same, very approacheable, base was a good reason to plan a day at the fence.

A TLG33 Tornado blasts away from Nörvenich's Runway 25, using full afterburners.
A TLG 33 Tornado blasts away from Nörvenich’s Runway 25, using full afterburners.

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Paris Air Show 2015

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.

The Airbus A.400M waits at the beginning of the runway whilst the A.380 completes its display.
The Airbus A.400M waits at the beginning of the runway whilst the A.380 completes its 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.

P-8 Poseidon
US Navy P-8 Poseidon at Paris Air Show 2015

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.

The  JF-17 in the static show  displaying the weapons it can carry.
The JF-17 in the static show displaying the weapons it can carry.

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.

Boeing displayed the B.787-9 Dreamliner in the colours of Vietnam Airlines
Boeing displayed the B.787-9 Dreamliner in the colours of Vietnam Airlines

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.

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Former RNLAF AB.412SP heading for Peru

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On the 26th of May the first former RNLAF AB.412SP destined for the Peruvian Navy was delivered from Liège to Gilze-Rijen Airbase in the Netherlands.

After 303 Squadron at Leeuwarden was de-activated in January because of budgetcuts, the 3 AB.412s were flown to the Agusta-Westland facility at Liège Airport. Over there the helicopters were completely refurbished and painted in the colours of the Peruvian Navy.

On the 26th of May 2015 the former R-03 was the first of the 3 helicopters that was flown to Gilze-Rijen. The helicopter had a sticker with the old serial on the door. This was due to Dutch legislation, as the helicopter was formally still part of the RNLAF; it had not been handed over to Peru yet.

Once all 3 AB.412s have arrived and have been tested, they will then be prepared for shipment to Peru. At this stage it is not know whether this will be done by sea or by air.

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