around the UK -
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January 2005 - Wattisham
the recent delivery of the first pair of Apache AH1s to the AAC's
future main operating base at Wattisham, initial sorties commenced
this week. With 3 Regiment's 662 Squadron now at Middle Wallop on
Conversion-To-Type training, it will only be a matter of months
before the first Attack unit at Wattisham is flying with its full
complement of eight Longbow Apaches. ZJ194 was delivered in from
Shawbury on 19/01/2005, followed the next day by ZJ182, also from
Shawbury. The pictures here show ZJ194 on a local sortie on 26 January
using the callsign 'Bedlam 1'. These deliveries signal the beginning
of the end for the AAC Gazelle fleet, with many of them already
being retired to storage at Shawbury. Further information about
the AAC Apache can be found at http://www.ukapache.com
Pictures courtesy Tom McGhee.
January 2005 - Cranwell
from Cranwell for a couple of weeks is T-6B Texan II N3000B, providing
'high-ranking officials' the opportunity of a flight or two. The
T-6B, first flown on 12 May 2004, features an advanced avionics
system with three large colour displays and a head-up display and
has six wing-mounted hardpoints, each wing capable of carrying 680
kg of weapons and fuel tanks. Supported by SERCO for the two-week
duration, it can only be assumed that it is under evaluation by
a number of nations for a light attack/trainer aircraft. Pictures
courtesy Guy Harvey.
January 2005 - Yeovilton
was Polish Air Force An-26 1602 - an unusual visitor for Yeovilton,
certainly. Also seen was the blue SHAR, which has gained 'FLY NAVY'
under the wings - sure to be seen on the airshow circuit this year.
Pictures courtesy Damien Burke.
January 2005 - Mildenhall
January 2005 - Coltishall
sighting of 54 Squadron's disbandment 'commemoration' jet - Jaguar
GR3A XZ112 sporting the unit's colours and '1916-2005', showing
how it nearly made 90 years. The squadron is unlikely to be re-formed
in the near future and its best hope is as a reserve number - a
sad end for a famous Battle of Britain fighter squadron. Pictures
courtesy Michael Hall.
January 2005 - Cottesmore
January 2005 - Duxford
again after a two-year restoration is Spitfire T9 PV202/G-CCCA,
now painted in striking Irish Air Corps markings as it originally
wore when in service in the 1950s. Restored by Historic Flying Ltd.,
the original rear canopy it had was recently found and re-united
with the rest of the airframe - you don't get much more genuine
than that! Pictures courtesy Damien Burke.
January 2005 - Marham
of things new at Marham - 13 Squadron is celebrating its 90th anniversary
this weekend, with ZA401 (coded XIII) having a special scheme applied
- hopefully it'll remain that way for a while! Brimstone missiles
are now in service, ZD709 (right) being fitted with a dozen under
the fuselage, as well as two pairs of underwing ALARMs, a pair of
external tanks, and a pair of BOZ pods for chaff/flare dispensing.
Canberra PR9 XH134 is sporting the 'new' light grey scheme that
seems to reach all types, replacing the 'hemp' scheme previously
in vogue for larger types. Pictures courtesy Tom McGhee.
January 2005 - Coltishall's Arctic scene
at Coltishall were a pair of Arctic-camo 54 Squadron Jaguars, meaning
a deployment to Norway must be on the cards - more news soon hopefully.
As the squadron is due to disband in April, it will be its last
exercise overseas. Pictures courtesy Damien Burke.
January 2005 - 5(AC) Squadron commences training at RAF Waddington
reformed 5 (Army Co-operation) Squadron started its initial training
to enable it operate the new Airborne Standoff Radar (ASTOR) that
comes into service in the next few years.
Cooperation(AC)) Squadron is a unique new unit to defence, as is
the ASTOR capability. As a jointly manned Royal Air Force unit,
5(AC) Squadron will be manned not just by the RAF, but by a variety
of Army cap badges to make a unit of over 300 personnel once fully
manned. The Squadron will operate the brand new ASTOR System, which
comprises five Sentinel aircraft based on the Bombardier Global
Express long-range business jet and eight ground stations that will
receive the information from the aircraft, before passing it on
to military Commanders. ASTOR will provide defence with a battle
winning collection capability through the provision of an airborne
mounted radar on the Sentinel, which is linked electronically to
its ground stations. Once operational, the system will be able to
support Land and Air Headquarters with a near real time picture
of the enemy situation on the ground.
the current personnel at 5(AC) Squadron have been handpicked from
across the RAF and Army, and the first stage of training has been
eagerly anticipated by all. Cpl Jamie Jones who will man one of
the computer terminals in a ground station said, "I have been
waiting for an opportunity like this all my career to contribute
to a fantastic piece of new technology. All the waiting is now over
and we can all get on with contributing to the new course that will
teach us how to operate ASTOR."
Squadron Commander, Wing Commander Bill Hughes, added that, "This
is a milestone event and an exciting day for us all. The training
we are about to embark upon will enable us bring into service the
incredibly powerful ASTOR System that will significantly enhance
UK defence for decades to come. I am particularly proud of the way
the men and women of the Squadron, who have come from all walks
of life across the RAF and Army, have integrated so quickly and
professionally to develop the foundations of this unique unit; we
are now in a position to start our formal training for ASTOR."
the initial training has started, the unit itself will not become
fully operational for some years to come, although we may well see
the 'whisper-jet' Sentinel aircraft grace the skies of Lincolnshire
later this year.
January 2005 - Brize Norton
exotic visitor of the New Year was this Gulfstream IV 12-003 of
the Turkish Air Force visiting Brize Norton for a night stopover.
Based at Ankara, it is operated by 212 Filo which also uses Citations
and UH-1Hs. Picture by Mark Rouse.