Archive for October, 2009

Somali Islamists claim to have shot down US drone

According to the BBC – the Somali Islamist’s have shot down a US drone of the Somali coast.

And this is exactly why a drone is supposed to go into area’s that would normally be questionable for a manned aircraft. Without a crew being killled or captured – there is little chance for a politically minded escalation.

[this story might not make CNN – because no one in the US seems to care about Somalia any more. Which will just about guarantee that this is the next global hotspot.]

 

AWACS – key to the modern Air War

Every modern airforce has Airborne Radar and Command & Control aircraft to not only direct offensive operations – but to also control their air defenses. But these aircraft are not cheap. Up until recently – only the major powers (US, NATO & Russia) could afford a fleet of these highly specialized aircraft.

The Western powers have standardized on the US Boeing E-3 Sentry (based on the Boeing 707 airliner), while the Russian’s based their AWACS on the Ilyusin IL-76 transport, refered to as the Beriev A-50 ‘Mainstay’.

RAAF 737 Wedgetail

[As technology has advanced and electronics have shrunk – Air Forces have no longer needed the size and capacity of a four engined aircraft. Newer AWACS-type aircraft are based on smaller aircraft – like the Boeing 737 pictured above undergoing shakedown tests before being delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force.]

One of the side affects of the Gulf War (I and II) was that the world saw the effect of a quality command and control system (and what happens when you don’t have one), so many countries have tried to add this capability to their own armed forces.

One of the most watched countries in the world – Iran – had recently upgraded its sole large AWACS aircraft. It was a hand me down IL-76 that originally came from Iraq (before the first Gulf War kicked off several Iraqi Air Force aircraft were ‘evacuated’ to Iran, rather than being shot down by Coalition forces), and was upgraded by the Russian’s last year.

Il-76/A-50 Mainstay

Read the rest of this entry »