First F-35A four-ship flies over Eglin. Amazing photo.

Production milestones, roll-outs, test flights, service introduction and other milestones.
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Unread post06 Feb 2013, 23:00

'orkss' apologies. I was cropping them today from originals. Always good to have the URLs for reference. Good story there. Thanks.
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Unread post06 Feb 2013, 23:54

1967 USN finger training - much to the amusement of the RAN FAA chap on the far left (not me Chief) otherwise all newly deck landed Trojan USNers at Barin Field.
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Unread post07 Feb 2013, 03:31

At least this long 1 hour 25 minute interview with a fledgling USN Goshawk pilot covers all the bases including close formation and tactical formation somewhat. Overall a great listen for lots of details about how the USN does training and of course carrier landings via FCLP (this pilot interviewee has not gone to 'the boat' as yet). I'll attempt to excerpt the 'tactical form' bits to post that here. Otherwise....

Naval Aviation Training with ENS Evan Levesque – Part 2 –Tailhook! Audio Episode Show Notes 02Feb 2013 Steve Tupper

http://airspeedonline.com/2013/02/naval ... how-notes/

“These are the show notes to an audio episode. You can listen to the show audio by clicking here: http://traffic.libsyn.com/airspeed/Airs ... reRoll.mp3 (80Mb). Better yet, subscribe to Airspeed through iTunes or your other favorite podcatcher. It’s all free!

The Airspeed audience first met ENS Evan Levesque (pronounced “leh-VECK”) as a MDN 1/C at the US Naval Academy in 2010. We then checked in with him during his primary flight training in the T-6B in February of 2012. Since then, ENS Levesque has gone on to tailhook training, flying the T-45 Goshawk.

Of course, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to talk to him again about what it’s like to fly jets and to prepare to land an aircraft on a floating runway. Our conversation in late January ran more than an hour and we covered everything from the training environment to preparing for carrier ops to the common things that all pilots share.

If you’re thinking about pursuing a career as a Naval Aviator, this series is for you. ENS Levesque is a hardworking, pragmatic, and humble guy who has taken some pretty scarce and valuable time to give you the gouge about what it’s like to be in line to fly aircraft like the F/A-18A-D Hornet and the F/A-18E-G Super Hornet. And even those who aren’t candidates for the tailhook pipeline will appreciate the wide-ranging discussion that covers everything from the Navy’s obsession with AOA to the things that even a seasoned Naval Aviator shares with a Cessna 150 driver.”
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Unread post09 Feb 2013, 03:25

Other part of this DEWline story is about F-35B/C having Hornet like performance so that bit is repeated on another thread [ http://www.f-16.net/f-16_forum_viewtopi ... rt-60.html ]. However the first part of the article is about the four ship....

Eglin F-35 pilots fly tactical intercepts By Dave Majumdar 08 Feb 2013

http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-d ... tical.html

"Pilots at Eglin AFB, Florida, are starting to do a little bit of tactical training in the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

"I was fortunate to be part of the first USAF F-35A four-ship formation this morning," Col Andy Toth, commander of the 33rd FW told me on Jan 31 (it's been a very busy week). "We conducted a tactical intercept mission versus F-16s and it went well."

Toth adds, "One of our newest instructors, Maj Scout Johnston did a great job of leading the WG/CC, Sq/CC and deputy operations group commander on the four-ship mission."

Four-ships are actually part of how a normal fighter wing operates, but given the relative immaturity of the F-35 as a weapons system, it was a morale booster for the airmen at the 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit to be able to do that. They're starting to learn how to take care of the jet themselves without help from Lockheed Martin.

"We are learning the ins and outs of the aircraft and showing we can handle the maintenance on our own," says Senior Master Sgt. Eric Wheeler, a production superintendent at the maintenance unit...."
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Unread post09 Feb 2013, 06:05

Is there a better formation for four man flying?
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Unread post09 Feb 2013, 06:12

For what purpose?
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Unread post09 Feb 2013, 06:24

Scouting, attacking, slipping in under radar, parade
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Unread post09 Feb 2013, 06:32

Then have you read the PDF mentioned earlier? Various four ship formations are outlined for different purposes. Not being familiar with either the F-16 capabilities in the PDF nor with the F-35 capabilities except by imagining then it is difficult to be precise for 'scouting, attacking, slipping under the radar (why would F-35s want to do that by the way?). Parade is easy but of course there are several variations where entering the circuit will be 'right hand echelon four' so that Leader will break first into the circuit followed by the others. Sometimes the formation will not be in the number order for the break but no big deal.

Otherwise to be non-specific about the 'scouting, attacking' options then a spread commensurate with the capabilities of the sensors makes sense to me. Bearing in mind that the two sets of aircraft don't want to be so far apart that they cannot physically mutually support one another (if otherwise these four are not supported by other F-35s or aircraft). There will be compromises probably about whatever the aim of the mission is. With outside support from AWACS or another group of F-35s then a particular formation of four - with a specific task - might remain quite close in comparison to a spread formation.

1
--2
----3
------4
Echelon Right
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Unread post09 Feb 2013, 07:48

I think the photo of a chalkboard brief about a Divisional Attack with A4Gs from NAS Nowra to nearby armament range Beecroft via a tortuous route down the South Coast of NSW and return (possibly inland in the nearby 'mountain chain' away from habitation has perhaps already been posted on this forum. I'll imagine that today such briefings for a flight of four is more hi tech. Anyway attached are the 'four ship' formation bits (with some others missing including all the tactical how to attack a target via different style attacks but you can read them in the main PDF).
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4ship F-16formationTactical 16v5.pdf
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Unread post09 Feb 2013, 08:39

Here is one detail example of a practice Divisional Attack at Beecroft Range nearby NAS Nowra on the coast on the eastern side of Jervis Bay. At the bottom left of the square racetrack pattern approaching from below to top you can see initially the four are in Battle Formation (or Fluid Four as in PDF) at extreme low level - most of the 'map' is water with only the outline of the finger of the range at top of photo. Near the pullup point the four get into loose echelon left because at the top of their pull up climb they are going to peel into their armament delivery dive at probably a 1-2 second interval. Each will concentrate on delivery whilst keeping the position of those in front in mind. Note that after delivery there is note that a turn to the right must not be done below 20 degrees nose up to ensure that pilots clear the fragmentation zone as quickly as possible. Then they get into Battle Form again for another go.

One new A4G pilot to VF-805 died from a mid-air collision with Leader during the armament dive probably from target fixation and not enough 'situational awareness'. The leader survived to bring his damaged A4G back to Nowra for a short field arrest.

You will find this type of delivery in the PDF. Today this sort of attack is ridiculous. Remember we are in the days of dumb bombs (in Oz anyway in 1978) with a fixed gunsight and likely no re-attack in real life so getting the maximum amount of aircraft/bombs on target in the shortest possible time is the objective.

The pilot briefing is CO LCDR Errol Kavanagh in the second photo. Details will have been briefed many times earlier with that info on other boards. This briefing is an immediate reminder of the main points before flight.

Divisional Bombing Target at Beecroft Range photo added showing the A4G crash site in mid 1975.
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VF-805Briefing1978detailBeecroftDivAtak.jpg
VF-805Briefing1978wideViewSMALL.jpg
BeecroftRangeDivisionalAttack.jpg
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Unread post09 Feb 2013, 23:01

Because this page was made for my PDFs here it is + anotherie: http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ac/docs/16v5.pdf
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FluidFourBattleFormation.gif
OffSetPopUpProfileAttack.gif
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Unread post10 Feb 2013, 02:43

Six page 2Mb PDF accident report/report on the RAN A4G 872 Divisional Bombing crash attached.
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FatalLossRANFAA_A4G872pp6.pdf
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Unread post14 Feb 2013, 02:27

This 'comment' appeared on JizzModo today WTF?

At Last, the USAF Has Enough F-35s to Fly a Decent Formation Jesus! Diaz 13 Feb 2013

http://gizmodo.com/5984074/at-last-the- ... -formation

"...http://gizmodo.com/5984074/at-last-the- ... -formation. And of course we will see in the BVR distance the four+ about to get something somewhere sometime a heck of a lot, soon enough.
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Unread post15 Feb 2013, 20:03

A poignant story for an old 'fighter directed by ship/carrier' pilot to read... [A4G did not have A/A radar and could operate day only in 'poor man fleet defence' mode being controlled by skilled 'fighter directors' - if not skilled then AMF.]

728th controls F-35s for final mission 15 Feb 2013 By SAMUEL KING JR. / Team Eglin Public Affairs

http://www.nwfdailynews.com/military/eg ... on-1.95880

"The 62-year-old 728th Air Control Squadron Demons completed their final mission Jan. 31, adding the Air Force’s newest aircraft, the F-35A Lightning II, to its exponential tally of controlled combat aircraft.

“Talk about going out on top,” said Lt. Col. Jon Rhone, the 728th Air Control Squadron commander. “People will always remember our history, but they will also remember the last thing we did as well. This is how you want to complete a legacy.”...

...For their final mission, they provided communications and data to a four-ship of F-35s from the 33rd Fighter Wing, the wing the 728th was assigned to from 1992 to 2008. To honor and say goodbye to their former squadron, the 33rd FW’s commander and 58th Fighter Squadron leadership flew the mission.

The sortie was a tactical intercept mission against two F-16s over the Gulf of Mexico. With information and direction provided by 728th weapons directors, the joint strike fighters tracked their targets, engaged and destroyed them within the exercise. This scenario was repeated six times, meeting various aircraft and controller mission objectives.

Typically, the 728th operators control both of the aircraft players in the scenario. To make it a special last mission, the 552nd Air Control Wing, the host wing for all CRCs at Tinker AFB, Okla., sent an E-3 Sentry to control the simulated enemy aircraft.

“This mission was really a capstone of a long heritage of impressive command and control operations,” said Col. Alexander Koven, the 552nd Air Control Group commander. “Having the 33rd involved was a reminder of where they’ve been. For the 552nd, it was a symbolic passing of the torch as we carry on the battle management and command and control capability.”...

Best read it all at the jump.

http://www.nwfdailynews.com/polopoly_fs ... ission.jpg

Picture Caption: "A 728th Air Control Squadron weapons team prepares before their squadron’s final mission Jan. 31 at Eglin Air Force Base. The 62-year-old squadron, an air command and control unit, will be deactivated in May. Their final mission was to control 33rd Fighter Wing F-35s for a tactical intercept mission.
SAMUEL KING JR. | USAF"
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