Posts tagged ‘Taiwan’

FRIDAY FOTO (January 3, 2020)

Gray (and Graying) Formation.

JBSA-Randolph focuses on building Instructor Pilot’s Skills

(U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sergeant Christopher Boitz)

Looking (from this angle) more like wingless, flying cars out of a science fiction movie, a trio of T-38C Talons travel in a tight formation over Texas. This December 19, 2019 photo was taken while the T-38s — which do have wings — were returning to Joint Base San Antonio after a training flight.

The Northrop T-38 was the world’s first supersonic advanced jet trainer and has served as the Air Force’s primary aircraft for training fighter pilots since 1961. The Air Force Air Education and Training Command uses the T-38C variant to prepare pilots for front-line fighter and bomber aircraft such as the F-15E Strike Eagle, F-15C Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, B-1B Lancer, A-10 Thunderbolt and F-22 Raptor.

The twin-engine, high-altitude Talon has been used in a variety of roles because of its “design, economy of operations, ease of maintenance, high performance and exceptional safety record,” according to the January 2014 Air Force fact sheet. The dart-like jet is also used by NASA and the Turkish Air Force and was flown in the past by the air forces of Germany, Portugal, South Korea and Taiwan.

However, there have been at least a half a dozen crashes involving ageing U.S. T-38s since November 2017, according to the Stars and Stripes newspaper.  The worn out T-38s are restricted from making the tight turns of today’s fighters, lest they disintegrate in midair, Smithsonian’s Air & Space magazine reported in 2018. Pilots training on the F-22 and F-35 must undergo additional training in F-16s to verify that they can handle the G-forces, Air & Space noted.

On September 27, 2018, the Air Force awarded The Boeing Company a contract, worth up to $9.2 billion, to procure 351 Advanced Pilot Training (APT T-X) aircraft and 46 Ground-Based Training Systems to replace the existing fleet of T-38C jet trainers, according to the Congressional Research Service.

The new trainer was officially named the T-7A Red Hawk, to honor the Tuskegee Airmen, the African-American fighter pilots of World War II — who were known as the Red Tails because they decorated their P-47 Thunderbolts and P-51 Mustangs with a red-tailed paint scheme.

Oh, and by the way — Happy New Year everyone!

January 3, 2020 at 1:03 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (April 29, 2011)

Boots on the … Face

Photo by Sgt. Ian Forsyth RLC. Crown Copright/MoD

In the spirit of the royal wedding that took place in London today, we thought we’d visit the British Army website to see what they were up to – when we came across the arresting photo above.

It shows a Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) cadet negotiating the obstacle course – with the assistance of Officer Cadet Oliver Wootton’s face – in the 2011 Sandhurst Cup military skills competition at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York.

The 11-event competition, named for the British military academy, has been a showcase for cadets to demonstrate their soldier skills, and also exchange ideas, since the late 1960s. This year, 50 teams took part in the April 15-16 event.

The competitors formed nine-member teams with at least one female member. They included squads from the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force academies and college ROTC programs, as well as from Britain, Canada, Australia, Taiwan, Chile and Afghanistan.The ROTC competitors came from schools in Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan, North Dakota and Vermont.

They were tested by a timed marksmanship event as well as a four-and-a-half hour combat assault challenge. That segment included obstacle courses, endurance challenges – such as crossing a ravine by rope – a 90-minute land navigation (orienteering) course, and a river crossing by small inflatable boat. There were also command tasks, a written test and final a weapons check to deal with.

“We try to make it different each year to challenge the cadets to solve problems,” said Capt. Edd Oldfield, the British Exchange Officer at West Point. The idea is to prepare future officers for situations like the ones encountered in current operations “where there are scenarios you can’t predict,” he adds.

For the first time since 1993, a West Point squad won the overall title. During that 17-year hiatus, the top honors went to either a RMAS team or one from the Royal Military College of Canada. This year, one of the two British teams finished third overall but was the highest-scoring foreign team. The other British team won the overall orienteering competition.

The Afghan squad was unable to send more than three cadets. They were able to round out their nine-slot team by “borrowing” three West Point cadets, two British cadets and one from a U.S. ROTC program.

For more information, including rules, video and final team standings, click on the Sandhurst Competition website.

Lest anyone think we are mocking the Sandhurst cadets or the UK military, please note the photo was placed third on the British Army news page of the MoD website. It was featured just below pieces about the household cavalry’s preparations for Prince William’s wedding and the return of a Scottish regiment from Afghanistan.

Still dissatisfied with 4GWAR’s photo selection for this special day in the UK, see the Friday Foto Extra below.

April 29, 2011 at 9:20 pm Leave a comment


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