Six F-15E Strike Eagles relocated as part of an Agile Combat Employment operation, in “Bomb Truck” config, each bringing 12 JDAMs and 4 SDBs.
Just two months after it was tested at Eglin Air Force Base, the F-15Es of the U.S. Air Force used for the first time the new “Bomb Truck” configuration during an operational mission in the U.S. Central Command theater. More precisely, six Strike Eagles of the 494th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron relocated to Al Dhafra Air Base (United Arab Emirates) on April 25 as part of an Agile Combat Employment (ACE) operation, bringing with them a heavy load of munitions to sustain combat missions from the new base.
The six F-15Es in “Bomb Truck” configuration are part of a larger deployment of 18 Strike Eagles of the 494th Fighter Squadron “Panthers”, which deployed from their homebase at RAF Lakenheath to an “undisclosed location” earlier this month. This location is likely Muwaffaq Salti/Al-Azraq Air Base in Jordan, where Lakenheath’s other F-15E squadron, the 492nd Fighter Squadron “Bolars”, was deployed in 2020.
The Bolars were relieved by the 391st Fighter Squadron “Bold Tigers” from Mountain Home AFB (Idaho), which are now being in turn relieved by the Panthers.
USAF 332 Air Expeditionary Wing blazed new trails when they configured six F-15E Strike Eagles to carry extra bombs to bare base locations, taking off from an undisclosed location, April 25.
— Ryan Chan 陳家翹 (@ryankakiuchan) April 28, 2021
— Ryan Chan 陳家翹 (@ryankakiuchan) April 28, 2021
“These F-15Es are carrying what is called a ‘tac-ferry’ load out. What that means is we can maneuver using Agile Combat Employment, and be postured to go forward from a main operating base,” said Lt. Col. Curtis Culver, 494th EFS Director of Operations. “This is the next step for the Air Force in Agile Combat Employment. So instead of having multi-capable Airmen that are exercising maneuver and logistics, now we’re doing that with sustained munitions to project power.”
Each of the six F-15Es in “Bomb Truck” configuration was carrying 12x 500 kg-class JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack Munition), both the base GBU-38 and laser-guided variant GBU-54, and four GBU-39 SDBs (Small Diameter Bomb). In this configuration, the Strike Eagle is actually carrying twice its standard bomb load, as testing at Eglin AFB allowed to clear for use all six attachment points on each “Fast Pack”, instead of just three. Back then, the USAF noted that not all the JDAMs carried can be employed in a single mission, so it is possible that the six bombs mounted on the upper hardpoints of the “Fast Packs” may not be cleared for release in combat, but only for ferry flights.
“We were asked to come out and support combat missions with a very short turnaround, and with the bombs not being built previously here for us. By carrying more bombs than we’d actually carry to drop, we’re setting up the initial days of combat,” said Capt. Jessica Niswonger, 494th EFS Weapon System Officer (WSO) and mission planner. After witnessing the arrival of the six F-15Es in “Bomb Truck” configuration, Capt. Niswonger added: “It was a great moment. I’m just glad to have the team here and now we’re going to get ready for combat ops.”
The forward deployed 494th EFS with its F-15E “Bomb Truck” aircraft will begin flying air tasking orders immediately to support U.S. Central Command priorities, according to the USAF press release. It is not clear if the relocation of the six F-15Es to Al Dhafra Air Base is related to the flux of support fires that will protect US troops during the Afghanistan drawdown. Among those we can find four B-52H Stratofortress bombers of the 5th Bomb Wing from Minot Air Force Base (North Dakota) that were deployed last week to Al Udeid Air Base (Qatar).
Training for ACE operations has become routine for U.S. Air Forces Europe units with the goal of being strategically predictable but operationally unpredictable, as it was originally mentioned in the 2018 National Defense Strategy, and capable of operating everywhere with minimal support. This concept can also be found in the new Air Force mission statement released earlier this month: “To fly, fight, and win … airpower anytime, anywhere”. The ability to fight and win with airpower is considered, in fact, the key factor to facing emerging competitors and near-peer adversaries.
According to the U.S. Air Force, the ACE concept envisions the ability to generate airpower from austere airfields with varying levels of capacity and support in a contested environment, dispersing forces across different or remote airports and support their operations with fewer specialists. The purpose is “to become more agile in our execution, more strategic in our deterrence, and more resilient in our capability. Agility, Deterrence, and Resiliency are essential to defense and operational capability in a contested environment,” the U.S. Air Force in Europe website says when explaining the ACE Concept of Operations.
The latest ACE training operation is currently in progress in Poland, where twenty F-15s, both E and C variants, and four F-16s deployed from their homebases RAF Lakenheath and Spangdahlem Air Base (Germany), respectively, as part of Aviation Detachment Rotation (AvRot) 21-2.
407 Squadron defends Canada for 80 years
From Comox Valley Record – link to source story – thanks to CW
The Comox-based squadron celebrating special anniversary
ERIN HALUSCHAK | 7 May 2021
A 407 Squadron crew returns from an anti-submarine patrol during the Second World War. It was here their aggressive reputation earned them the moniker “The Demons.” Canadian Forces photo/submitted
Eighty years ago, 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron was created with many responsibilities and different aircraft, but one principle has stayed the same: no matter the mission, the crews of 407 Squadron always get the job done.
Stood up on May 8, 1941 at RAF Thorney Island in England as a Coastal Strike squadron, it was tasked with attacking Axis shipping while flying the Lockheed Hudson bomber. It was in this role that the squadron earned its nickname “Demons” for its aggressive and unrelenting low-level bombing runs, destroying or damaging an estimated 500,000 tons of enemy supplies.
In 1943, it was changed to a general reconnaissance squadron and tasked to protect allied shipping from the menacing wolf packs of German U-boats, flying the behemoth Vickers Wellington bomber. Until the end of the Second World War, the “Demons” wreaked havoc on the U-boats, sinking four and damaging seven, thus helping to keep the vital supply lines from North America safe. It was here during the Battle of the Atlantic that the “Demons” lived up to their name.
The squadron was disbanded on June 4, 1945 following the end of the war but reactivated on July 1, 1952 in its current home of Comox as 407 Maritime Reconnaissance Squadron.
Flying the Avro Lancaster Mark 10 MR, its primary mission was anti-submarine warfare along with search-and-rescue and national sovereignty patrols. In 1958 the “Demons” traded in the Lancaster for the CP-122 Neptune, an aircraft specifically designed for anti-submarine warfare.
In 1968, they traded the Neptune for the CP-107 Argus, a Canadian-made aircraft with improved sensors and endurance. This allowed the squadron to begin patrolling the vast expanses of the Canadian Arctic. In 1974, a 407 crew flew a maritime patrol from Comox to the Aleutian Islands and back at a time of 31 hours and six minutes, setting a world record for the longest un-refueled flight and putting 407 Squadron in the history books once again.
On June 11, 1981 the “Demons,” now designated as maritime patrol squadron, entered the era of computerized warfare and took possession of its current workhorse, the CP-140 Aurora. A combination of Lockheed’s P-3 Orion and S-3 Viking aircrafts, the Aurora brought with it state-of-the-art reconnaissance, surveillance and anti-submarine capabilities. This made 407 Squadron one of the most versatile squadrons in the Canadian Armed Forces, able to conduct a multitude of missions like anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, search-and-rescue, sovereignty patrols, maritime interdiction, assistance to law enforcement and overland reconnaissance.
The squadron routinely works with allied and partner nations as well as other Canadian departments like DFO, the RCMP, the Coast Guard, Transport Canada and NORAD.
Some of its current operations include counter-narcotics enforcement off Central and South America, sanctions enforcement around North Korea, searching for illegal and unregulated fishing in the Pacific Ocean, counter-smuggling patrols in the western Indian Ocean, search and rescue missions at home, enforcing sovereignty along Canada’s west and north coasts, and tracking submarines all around the world.
From the North Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, Afghanistan and Iraq to the Indian Ocean and East China Sea, the “Demons” are the eyes and ears of Canada’s military and after 80 years, they still get the job done.
– Capt. Ian Paone/Canadian Forces
United Airlines Uses The Crisis To Diversify Latin American Network
Latin America has been a strong performer through the recovery. With the big three US airlines and smaller peers heavily contesting the geography, passengers have no dearth of options when it comes to choosing a flight itinerary. Sensing an opportunity, United Airlines has used the crisis to diversify its Latin America network.
United has diversified its Latin America network
Speaking on the airline’s first-quarter earnings call, Andrew Nocelle, Chief Commercial Officer at United, discussed the carrier’s international network. While long-haul demand has been largely depressed, Latin America has proven strong for the airline, as he stated:
“As we look forward to our capacity levels in most parts in near-Latin America are now above 2019 levels. Wherever we look in Latin America or Europe, where access is permitted, we see leisure demand in 2019 levels or greater.
One bright performer has been Mexico. Mr. Nocelle stated that, after the US announced it would institute a mandatory testing requirement for inbound international travelers, United feared a drop in travel demand for Mexico. So, the carrier cut capacity, expecting the reduction. However, the airline was wrong and had to go back and add capacity to the market again.
Latin America is also a realm of new opportunities for United. Mr. Nocella discussed how the airline was responding to travel demand for Latin America:
“This summer, we’re planning to be at our 2019 levels already and there’s very few parts of our airline where we’re at that level. We have a great Latin American franchise. However, it’s been historically very Houston-centric and we’ve taken the opportunity in the recent months and going forward to diversify that portfolio to now include more out of Los Angeles, Washington and New York and our intention is to keep that.”
United’s Latin America expansion
This month, United is operating more flights to Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America than it did in May of 2019. Much of this came from both resumptions in existing Latin American routes and new additions to the carrier’s route network.
This includes a significant expansion from hubs like Denver, Los Angeles, and San San Francisco to points in Central America, such as Belize and Costa Rica. Washington D.C. received additional service to the Caribbean, as did Newark, which United uses as its New York City gateway.
United has also brought back much of its long-haul international flying. This includes returning flights to Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Santiago, among other cities. Note that not all of those flights are operating with the same pre-crisis frequencies.
Improving Latin American revenue
In the first quarter of 2021, United took in $392 million in revenue from Latin America, as defined by the US Department of Transportation (DOT). Delta took in $381 million, while American Airlines received $482 million in revenue from Latin America.
In the first quarter of 2019, United took in $975 million in revenue from Latin America. Delta received $964 million in revenue from the region. American Airlines, historically a powerful player in Latin America, took in a whopping $1.4 billion in revenue from Latin America.
Now that Delta Air Lines has a partnership with LATAM, that airline will be a much larger force to contend with in Latin America. With partners in Copa, Azul, and Avianca, United has also been a growing force in the region. However, it has maintained a relatively limited network there, funneling most passengers through Houston.
American has a robust Latin American network, with flights running to several countries out of Dallas and Miami. After rebuilding its network and gaining new partnerships, other hubs like New York and Charlotte are also seeing increased services to points south of the US.
All of this indicates that United believes it needs to diversify to compete more effectively. Much of the added new routes out of other hubs like Denver, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Newark are short- and medium-haul flights to points in Central America and the Caribbean. Many countries in these regions have been open for Americans since mid-to-late 2020, which is why United has pointed more of its planes there.
Ultimately, diversifying its hub network to Latin America means more itineraries that the airline can offer and compete against its network peers in the region whether all of these new routes are still around when Europe, Australia, and Asia open up remains to be seen.
Do you think United made the right choice in diversifying its Latin American route network? Let us know in the comments!
The Shaunavon Airport to Receive Provincial Funding
By Penny Schreiner | 6 May 2021
The Shaunavon Airport will receive CAP funding. Photo by Penny Schreiner
Recently the Government of Saskatchewan announced that they would be investing $1.5 million in the Community Airport Partnership Program.
This funding provides improvements to 19 community airports across the province, and Shaunavon is one of those communities that will be receiving funding for work at their airport.
The Town of Shaunavon will receive $3,500 in funding for replacement of an airport beacon light.
Shaunavon Mayor, Kyle Bennett, said, “Ya, we’ve got an existing beacon. It’s a high powered light bulb , so they need replaced every so often. And, with this grant from the government we’re able to save our ratepayers 3500 bucks by replacing this through this program.”
Bennett adds that they are hoping to replace the beacon light as soon as possible.
Since 2007, more than $10.5 million has been invested in Saskatchewan’s community airports. When coupled with 50-50 matching community contributions, the CAP Program has generated more then $21 million in airport improvements.
A total of 38 different communities have benefited since the program began.
Airline industry group wants Ottawa to follow U.K.’s lead, help bring in restart plan
BY THE CANADIAN PRESS | May 7, 2021
OTTAWA — An industry group is calling on Ottawa to follow the United Kingdom’s lead and help bring in a restart plan for Canada’s airline sector.
Mike McNaney, president and chief executive officer of the National Airlines Council of Canada, says the U.K. has announced that starting May 17 it will allow travel to and from a select list of countries.
He says travellers from those destinations will not need to quarantine upon entering the U.K.
McNaney says the initial list of countries announced Friday will expand over time as the public health situation improves.
He says it is time for the federal government to work with the industry in Canada to develop a similar plan.
Travel restrictions introduced through the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic have been catastrophic for the airline sector, as passenger numbers and profits plummeted and tens of thousands of workers lost their jobs.
“In the midst of the pandemic in February, the British government recognized the critical need to plan for the eventual safe reopening of international travel, and began working with its aviation sector to develop a restart process,” McNaney said Friday in a release.
“On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who have lost their jobs in the aviation and travel sector, and the scores of communities that have lost service, it is critical that the federal government now follow the U.K. example and work immediately with industry to develop a restart plan.”
McNaney said the Canadian aviation sector has called on the federal government for months to develop a safe restart strategy that outlines the rules that must be met to begin addressing border and travel restrictions.
He said the strategy should use a science-based approach that sets out how Canada will deal with vaccinated and non-vaccinated passengers, how quarantine and testing measures will be adjusted, and how it will ensure appropriate electronic capture of health data to facilitate international travel.
Last month before the new federal budget was tabled, McNaney said the council hoped the budget would include a safe aviation restart strategy that included testing and contract tracing but would avoid mandatory vaccine passports.
The council represents large national and international passenger air carriers including Air Canada, Air Transat, Jazz Aviation LP and WestJet.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 7, 2021
The Canadian Press
American Airlines Passenger Arrested After Alleged Crew Attack
The Reason for Ethereum’s Recent Rally to ATH According to Changpeng Zhao
Chiliz Price Prediction 2021-2025: $1.76 By the End of 2025
Mining Bitcoin: How to Mine Bitcoin
Mining Bitcoin: How to Mine Bitcoin
Talking Fintech: Customer Experience and the Productivity Revolution
Bitcoin Gains Bullish Momentum, Signals Another Major Rally
Ruffer Investment Sold Bitcoin Holdings After Elon Musk’s Bullish Tweets
Teamsters Lead Historic Defeat of CEO Pay at Marathon Petroleum
Ethereum Market Capital Overtakes Bank of America
Lufthansa To Equip Entire Boeing 777F Fleet With Sharkskin Technology
Mining Bitcoin: How to Mine Bitcoin
Equity Monday: TechCrunch goes Yahoo while welding robots raise $56M
Alaska Court System Temporarily Disconnected the Internet After a Cybersecurity Threat
British events startup FIXR raises €7.4 million and prepares to welcome back nightlife
Apple is giving a laser company that builds some of its AR tech $410 million
Ripple Releases $1.6 Billion XRP from Escrow Account
European Masters Spring Finals between BT Excel and Karmine Corp. hits peak of 377,000 viewers
Indonesian lawmakers propose tax laws on cryptocurrency transactions.
Top-5 Working Marketing Strategies on 2021 for Moving Company
Big Data1 week ago
AT&T shareholders vote against approving executive compensation
Blockchain1 week ago
Polygon Rolls Out $100 Million DeFi Adoption Fund
Energy1 week ago
Ozop Energy (OZSC) Secures $2.1 Million in Purchase Orders for Photo-Voltaic Energy System Components
Aviation1 week ago
A Clean Sheet Widebody: The Story Of The Airbus A350
Blockchain5 days ago
Ethereum hits $3,000 for the first time, now larger than Bank of America
Blockchain5 days ago
Munger ‘Anti-Bitcoin’ and Buffett ‘Annoyance’ Towards Crypto Industry
Blockchain1 week ago
Derivatives Exchange GlobeDX Raises $18M in Seed Round Led by Blockchain VCs
AR/VR1 week ago
HTC Teases Reveal of “game-changing VR headsets” at VIVECON
SaaS1 week ago
Blockchain1 week ago
Microsoft and Intel Introduce a Shield Against Cryptojacking
SaaS1 week ago
Esports1 week ago
Is Scavengers Cross Platform?