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Everything posted by gary1701

  1. Hi Bee. They certainly were. I don't recall seeing any AIM-9X training rounds on them. Even the 48th jets still sometimes have them fitted, seen them on jets in the same flight. The E units only went over to the X model recently, but the 493rd have had them since the start, yet still load M model training rounds on the odd occasion. Gary
  2. Hi Rob, Yeah, it's farming outside the base. Not being a farmer, I don't know what type of farming it is but a lot of that Northern side in between the base fence and the road that runs parallel along the base is farming land. I've never looked at it closely as it's behind the treeline when you're either in the viewing area or parked alongside it. It's also an area that has seen tragedy as the two children murdered in the Soham murder case, one of the UK's most awful crimes, were found here in 2002. Sorry I can't help any more but I can say for certain it's nothing to do with the b
  3. Thanks gents. Fairford? I'm afraid not. Other side of the country from me and given the fact that when they do fly it's obviously only a few and they normally go early morning and back quite late so it's a long, long trip with no guarantees so I tend to think it's too much of a chance for me. The local guys down there seem to do okay and with the amount of varied shots they take so it's quite free and easy to do on the fence. Certainly the local photographers have built up quite a good relationship with the U-2 crews when they're about. If it was closer I would go for it, but given the distanc
  4. Gents, Here's some pics shot at RAF Lakenheath yesterday evening. The Lakenheath F-15s are currently taking part in Exercise Point Blank and are also hosting one of the Aviano F-16 Sqns on a deployment for about a month. I was finally able to get over yesterday in the afternoon as the exercise includes night flying and this week they have only been flying afternoons and nights. The Aviano F-16s have not been launching until around 4pm, although with 16 here they have been putting the numbers up. These were all shot in the evening sunlight in about a one hour spell between 5 and 6 y
  5. Hi Bee, The RAF Chinooks ZH897 to 904 (including ZH899/900 above) were originally part of a batch of 14 that date back to around 2000/1. Six of them were delivered to the then HC2/2A standard and the remaining eight were intended for UK special forces use. But, we screwed it up in a stupid, but very typical UK attempt to save money that ended up costing far more than was ever going to be saved. Rather than buy standard MH-47Es as the US Army was, we decided to put our own UK specific avionics and special forces package on them to save a few pounds - you would have thought the MoD w
  6. Gents, A few more pictures from Thursday evening. The UK has just concluded an exercise at the Stamford training area (about 15 miles North of RAF Mildenhall/Lakenheath) called Exercise Talon Hydra. This also involved RAF support helicopters as well as the resident Apaches, all transiting between the exercise area and Wattisham at regular intervals. My work furlough has ended, so I'm back to just grabbing a few hours in the evenings again. A couple of the resident Apaches lifting just inside the fence not that far away. These guys were operating from a FARP rather than
  7. Gents, I hope you guys don't mind me putting some more pictures up. As alongside this thread I now have the Lakenheath and long standing Mildenhall thread running simultaneously. Having been on furlough from work and after many months on inactivity with the camera I now have some time too use it. With the fine evening weather all this week I've been continuing my sessions up the road at the Army Air Corps Apache base of Wattisham. Monday was spent at Mildenhall/Lakenheath as already posted, Tuesday was back to Wattisham. When the sun dipped too
  8. Hi, Lakenheath is closed again today, not sure if it will be the same pattern and they attempt a repair today and fly again tomorrow. It's obvious this pattern cannot continue but short of a lengthily closure and some major works not sure what they can do. It must be associated with the repairs that were conducted a few weeks ago as although it's hot this week by UK standards (30 degrees plus), thats hardly hot by global standards. We had a few days last year that were hotter than this - 35 degrees plus - and Lakenheath never had any problems. Mildenhall and to a lesser
  9. Hi I wouldn't be at all surprised with whats happening today. I'm not over there, too hot but they started again this morning after repairs yesterday. Been listening in and keeping up and it's gone slightly farcical again. Another hole has opened up, although this time the wind has gone around and they're working opposite way. Again, after the afternoon flights had launched so they've been told to RTB to Mildenhall. However, Mildenhall doesn't want them as they have live guns - looks like they were going to Holbeach for some live strafing - and they're not equipped for live ordnance so I don't
  10. Hi Gents, Just a couple to add here from yesterdays trip out. Already put the Lakenheath ones in a separate thread but as there's not anything special I thought I would put them in the regular thread. It was very quiet, most of the tankers are away, as are most of the MC-130Js as well, just the Ospreys seemed to be here in numbers. There wasn't a single transiting aircraft on the field. Monitoring movements in time to get too the correct spot with the camera is difficult as the radio frequencies are all screwed up at the moment. Late last year there was one of the whole sale freque
  11. Hi again gents, Thanks. Hi Bee, the size was 19' by 9', confirmed by Lakenheath on the radio when advising the inbound Retro flight. As you can see on the pics the jets rolling out are keeping to the South side of the runway as instructed. It was supposedly beside one of the cables. What may be a factor is that earlier this month Lakenheath closed for a few days for essential runway work so something may have gone wrong. Definitely no operations today, NOTAM posted confirming closure. Gary
  12. Gents, Spent a mostly quiet and unproductive afternoon at Mildenhall today when I found out that a 'Retro' flight of F-15s that had just completed their depot maintenance at Warner-Robins AFB was on the way back across the pond for Lakenheath. So I thought I would wait for them, even though they weren't expected until evening, but it was a pleasant day. Lakenheath was on 24 with Westerly winds. Then this afternoon, immediately after the local sorties had launched a 19 foot hole apparently appeared in the Lakenheath runway at the Eastern end! Cue lots of discussion between SOF and the a
  13. Hi Gents, A few more from some more fine evenings, including some visitors. Wildcats working in the area recently, this was a Royal Marine flight despite the 'Army' markings. There's been quite a lot of Chinook activity in East Anglia recently, caught this early upgraded veteran, delivered 1981 from the first UK batch, on the way in for a quick running refuel. Lots of the regulars, who seem to be catching up on missed training during the early couple of months of the virus.
  14. Hi Bee, Not that I know of. I've always wondered why we've never fitted them myself. The UK spec Apache may have a different engine fitted - although that's now going to change - but the engine nacelles and airframe externally in that area is identical so I don't see why such a simple and surely not that expensive fit hadn't been applied years ago! One of these days I'll ask somebody when I get the chance. I've seen the pic of the first of the 'new' UK Apaches after being handed over to the UK at Mesa, just before a crew flew it out, and it still - at that point anyway
  15. Hi gents, Now that lockdown has been relaxed here in the UK to some degree I've popped up to the fence of my local airfield on the last two fine evenings as the Army Air Corps seem to have burst into activity this week, which is most unusual - they must have a load of training to catch up on. Which is probably quite accurate if what I'm hearing is true, my cousin is now dating a NCO in the AAC Apache pipeline and his course is way behind schedule. No real virus dangers here, Wattisham airfield is in deep rural Suffolk (which is why many of the Army youngsters don't like it!) and un
  16. Gents, Just some info from earlier today. One of the popular Lakenheath heritage F-15s that was marked up last year for the D-Day anniversary's has returned to the US for rework and repaint so will not be seen again. The red tailed jet from the 492nd left earlier today and has apparently landed at Westover ARB, along with another Eagle, presumably heading for Warner-Robins where they do the F-15 overhauls I believe? The yellow tailed jet from the 494th has already gone back, so that just leaves the single seat blue tailed F-15C from the 493rd left here at Lakenheath.
  17. Gents, News that should surprise nobody considering how many times this had been delayed. https://www.stripes.com/news/plans-to-move-tankers-special-operations-wing-from-mildenhall-to-germany-are-put-on-hold-1.621904?fbclid=IwAR37RH289W9EW734zSIoMTTKlfRP-XiWVWagSURJjfpHA1anSp6PXy6pjmo#.XmfdPIDiH5k.facebook Gary
  18. Thanks guys. Hi Andrew, yeah, that's what I've heard and there are some lists around that tell you who they are - not my area of expertise I'm afraid! Here's a link showing all 16 that have returned too date. The 492nd birds with the 494th deployment don't have nose art. Only 4 apparently came back on Monday so there's still 2 downrange somewhere. https://www.fightercontrol.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=186518 Gary
  19. Gents, I made a last minute dash to Lakenheath this afternoon to try and catch the 494th FS coming home after their six month tour out East. The weather was rather changeable and unfortunately the ETA's for the two cells due today had them arriving pretty much with the sun straight down the nose, and I was hoping for some nose art in line with previous tours. I couldn't get away too early on a Sunday and I missed the first cell of six as 'Tabor 71' flt were turning in on the circuit as I was some distance away. I made it in time for 'Tabor 81' and they appeared in the overhead just as the
  20. Hi Bee, That's a new book on me, might well have a look at it as always looking for new stuff. I see a lot of pics showing US aircraft, including B-47's and aircraft from that era as I'm a member at the local aviation society and we have quite a few members who took pics at Mildenhall and elsewhere back then, I'm one of the younger members and I'm no youngster! We often have slide and digitized presentations at club showing all the types from the 50's and 60's. I'm old enough to remember SR-71 ops at Mildenhall and did photograph them in operation (not airshow pics) ba
  21. Thank you. I'll try and add when I can. Weather and work tend to get in the way too much nowadays. Love the profile pic - one of my favorite film characters! Gary
  22. Gents, Another run today, exactly a week after the last one, but another bright clear day so with nothing better to do over the holiday period it seemed like a good idea. I still had it in mind that the C-5M that came in on Saturday had not been noted leaving so I had hopes of getting my first shots of that variant, if he actually left and didn't go u/s obviously. Got him.. Not the best place to park a truck. Not a lot else going on, the usual local circuit work from the 67th SOS. Different air
  23. Well spotted that man! 11-0059/60 are both long term residents with the 7th SOS here, and formed part of the initial establishment back in 2013/14. That dome has only recently started to appear on the airframes and this is the first time I've photographed it. I would guess it's a SATCOM antenna but don't know. The upper aerial array configuration has always varied to some degree but that is new. Note the new addition of the full serial on the upper rear fuselage - clearer on '59 than '60. Also first time I've shot them with a Browning in the back. Local rumour is of a fleet swap ov
  24. Hi gents, Big gap from the previous visit but having finished for Christmas I thought I'd pop over and see what was going on as it was a bright (but cold!) day. Lakenheath was NOTAMed as open but a drive past at 8 this morning and it was clear that nothing was going to happen so I turned for Mildenhall which ended up being surprisingly good on the last day before closing for Christmas. 'Mario 64' was on a early dawn launch to go snooping out East. This was more difficult to get than usual as some strange reflections were dancing around the forward fuselage and engines t
  25. Hi again, That's the article I found when looking around the web. I was familiar with some of the article as the company that planned to base Su-27/30's out of Iceland was connected to a professional photographer who I know and around the time of the article he was quite keen on photographing them. I didn't for one moment think it would come to anything and obviously it never did. It still looks like a photoshop job on those two pics, an impression of what a adversary scheme could look like on a EF-2000. I doubt such a scheme on any of the airframes flying with the Euro
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