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IN THE LATTER HALF of 1942, German U-boats were sinking an average of 750,000 tons of Allied shipping a month — the Battle of the Atlantic was being lost. Not only were the vital cargoes not getting through but ships and merchant seamen were being lost faster than they could be replaced. Within a year the situation had changed and the U-boat ‘happy time’ was over as their losses rose dramatically.
This turnabout was in large part due to the increase in the anti-submarine capability of Coastal Command, air cover of the convoys in previously unguarded areas meant decreased losses
Continue reading The mighty nimrod
The USS George Washington (CVN 73) is currently making history as it sails in the 5th Fleet Area of Operations with two squadrons of F-14 Tomcats on board as part of the embarked Carrier Air Wing 7 (CVW-7). This is the last deployment of an Air Wing with two squadrons of the mighty F-14 assigned before all Tomcat squadrons are disbanded or converted to the different variants of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.
The carrier started the work-up period for this, its sixth deployment to the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf following a six-month Planned Incremental Availability (PIA) at the US Naval
Continue reading The Last TOMCAT Crusade
On the afternoon of October 8, 1953, eight assorted aircraft came under starter’s orders at London Airport. As HRH The Duke of Gloucester waved his flag he would have witnessed a cornucopia of aircraft, including the latest military jets, an assortment of older machines and a smattering of airliners. Included in the latter was the pride of BEA — the latest Vickers Viscount turboprop.
Arrangements for the race began in 1948 and it had originally been planned to mark the centenary of the Province of Canterbury, NZ in 1950 but delays meant the race slipped until 1953. Modelled on
Continue reading THE LAST GREAT AIR RACE
THIRTY YEARS ago this month, a red-and-white-painted Hawk took to the skies over Britain. Today this aircraft has become one of the most successful, and by far the most successful jet trainer. With nearly 850 orders and 1.5 million flying hours to its credit, the BAE Systems Hawk has continued to evolve and remains at the forefront of jet trainer technology. This is largely the reason it continues to flourish, with a constant stream of orders flowing in.
The Hawk is a proud symbol of technological and marketing achievement for BAE Systems, and for Britain as a whole. As the
Continue reading THE HAWK TURNS 30
As a result of the December 1996 Peace Accords that ended 36 years of brutal and tragic internal armed conflict, Guatemala is facing the greatest period of social and economic change — and opportunity — in its 178-year history as an independent nation. Like every other national institution, the armed forces are now in the midst of transitions reflecting changing values and outlooks, and the immense challenges of a nation coming to terms with its past, while moving into the future.
For the Fuerza Aerea Guatemalteca (FAG), a period of reflective learning and reorganisationwill prepare it for new
Continue reading The Guatemala air force.
NAVIGATION is both an art and a science and, like both disciplines, must develop to meet changing environments and scenarios This is particularly true of military air navigation.
In June 1982 the first RAF Tornado unit, IX Squadron at Honington, was formed and since that date the Tornado, with its two-man crew of pilot and navigator, has gradually replaced the Vulcan. Jaguar and Buccaneer in the overland role and the Lightning and Phantom in the Air Defence role. The Tornado is now one of the most potent and capable aircraft in NATO, being operated by the RAF, the German Air
Continue reading The Fix
Mark Ayton visited 801 and 899 Naval Air Squadrons at RNAS Yeovilton to review the conversion training and frontline tasking of the Royal Navy’s Sea Harrier FA.2 fleet, now in its final 22 months of operation.
RNAS YEOVILTON, Somerset, is the home of the Royal Navy’s Sea Harrier FA.2 fleet, comprising one frontline squadron, 801 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) and the Sea Harrier training unit 899 NAS. As of July 2004, the Sea Harrier has 22 months of service remaining with the Royal Navy. Originally planned to be in service until 2012, its early retirement is the result of a
Continue reading The Fights Still On
The West Sussex holiday resort of Bognor Regis, noted for sunshine and fun, was once hit by a typhoon, killing two people and destroying two houses. This was no freak weather phenomenon but a Hawker Typhoon aircraft crash in WWII.
Len Martlew, 65, and his 63-year-old wife Annie lived at number 13 Beatty Road Bognor Regis, a home they had lived in for many years, with a small but well-tended garden. It was mid-afternoon on Thursday 22 April 1943 and the morning rain and drizzle had been replaced by slight winds and watery sunshine, when tragically an RAF aircraft crashed
Continue reading The Day a Typhoon hit Bognor Regis
FOR CENTURIES THE Canary Islands -700 miles (1,126km) from Spain and 180 miles (290km) from West Africa -provided an important stepping-stone to Africa and America. Today, Ala (Wing) 46 and Escuadron (Squadron) 802 of the Ej6rcito del Aire (Spanish Air Force) are maintaining almost 60 years of continual Spanish presence at this remote location. Just as the islands play host to thousands of holiday-makers, they also welcome Spanish and foreign squadrons keen to use the unrestricted Air Combat Manoeuvring (ACM) range south of the Canaries.
Gando airport at Gran Canaria is a mixed-use field — its two parallel runways (12,000ft
Continue reading The Canarys Grand Guardians.
As soubriquets go, it’s decidedly unenviable. So heavy were the 100th Bomb Group’s losses on certain missions that — even if its overall wartime loss rate was not the European theatre’s worst — it attracted the morbid nickname ‘The Bloody Hundredth’.
Formed without any aircraft at Orlando Army Air Base, Florida on 1 June 1942, it was from Kearney Field, Nebraska that the 100th BG’s Flying Fortresses — B-l7Fs then — and aircrews began to depart for Britain on 25 May 1943. Initially they began arriving at Station 109, Podington in Bedfordshire, but after just a few days there the
Continue reading The Bloody Hundredth in harms way