F-16 Jastrząb. 2009

Kraków 2010-01-01

Lockheed Martin F-16 C, D Block 52 + Jastrząb.

315 Section 2006-11-08. Poland

Third year of operation, from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2009.

F-16 D nb 4087. 2016 year. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman
F-16 D nb 4087. 2016 year. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman

F-16 nb 561. 2017 year. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman
F-16 nb 561. 2017 year. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman

F-16 D nb 4076 Krzesiny 26.06.2007 year. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman
F-16 D nb 4076 Krzesiny 26.06.2007 year. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman

Tactical aviation structures.

For over 20 years, the number of combat aircraft in the Republic of Poland has been decreasing. The number of combat units is decreasing. However, the organizational structure is becoming more and more complicated, and the stakeholders themselves probably do not really know what it is all about. The main culprit of this state of affairs is the weakest (so far) Minister of National Defense, Mr. Bogdan Kich. Let us recall that after the accession of the Republic of Poland to NATO in 1999, a new organizational structure was introduced consisting in separating the airport from the aviation component. This is how air bases and air squadrons were created. As a result, there was a duality in many aspects of command and control. After many discussions and disputes since 2007, it was decided to reconnect the base with the squadrons.

At the beginning of 2008, the 31st Air Base changed its name to the 31st Tactical Air Base, and the 3rd ELT and 6th ELT were renumbered as 1st ELT and 2nd ELT. This second change caused discontent among the airmen. Oh well. Mr. Bogdan Klich was not a historian, he was not even a soldier. He was a psychiatrist. After requests from the squadrons to the Ministry of National Defence, consent was given and based on the list of changes to the full-time position of 09.10.2008, their previous numbering was restored in the squadrons - 3rd and 6th air squadron. Let's remember. Tradition in the Nation, a sacred thing.

Exercises in Belgium. Tactical Leadership Programme.

From January 19, 2009, three F-16 aircraft from Krzesiny took part in a practical training called Tactical Leadership Programme. The base became the airport in Florennes, Belgium. Polish Hawks carried out the tasks of the program affecting the tactical application as well as the interoperability of the planned missions. PSP participated in this type of training for the first time. So far, Poles have participated in exercises in Denmark, where there were joint flights with Danish F-16s, as part of the Squadron Exchange program, 2 F-16 C aircraft and 2 F-16 D aircraft.

On January 16, 2009 (Friday), three multi-role F-16s were transferred to Florennes. The day before (January 15, 2009) the necessary technical staff departed from Krakow in a CASA C-295 M aircraft from 13 ELTr.

The Tactical Leadership Program is an international organization established to develop the ability to use tactics, selection of flight techniques and standardized (NATO) procedures during the implementation of multinational aviation operations. Polish F-16s flew, among others, with Mirage 2000 N, Mirage F1CT, F-16 A ADF, AMX, C-130 J, EF-18 M, Tornado IDS, F-4 F, AH-64, F-15 E.

Test in Łask.

On February 10, 2009, in the 10th ELT in Łask, at the 32nd BLotT airport in Łask, a test of readiness for duty as part of the national air defense system took place. The head of the training was Brig. drink dr Anatol Czaban - Air Force Training Chief. Also present were: Commander of the 2nd SLT - BrigGen. drink Włodzimierz Usarek, and the Commander of the 23rd BLot in Mińsk Mazowiecki - Colonel pil. Robert Cierniak. The test scenario consisted of two episodes. The first assumed the violation of Polish airspace by two foreign aircraft (two MiG-29 aircraft from the 1st ELT in Mińsk Mazowiecki appeared in this role). F-16 multi-role aircraft on duty intercepted and identified the intruders. Foreign ships were diverted to the state border. During the second control episode, the crew of a civilian transport aircraft (Bryza M-28 from 13 ELTr in Balice) lost communication and orientation in space. The F-16 duty pair intercepted the ship and assisted in bringing it to the airport. The assessment of the tasks performed by the pilots of the 10 ELTs was positive. All activities were carried out in accordance with national procedures, in conditions similar to those applicable to allied Air Policing missions. All checks were successful. The inspection was one of the stages of granting the unit a certificate of readiness to defend the Republic of Poland.

F-16 incident. February 17, 2009.

On February 17, 2009, during a flight in the zone over the north-eastern area of Poland, an aviation incident occurred involving an F-16 D aircraft from 31 BlotT. The pilot of the machine described the whole incident as "loss of control". The incident started at an altitude of about 10,000 m. The aircraft lost about 2,000 m of altitude. As a result of the actions taken, specified in the relevant procedure, the pilot regained control of the aircraft. Then, in accordance with the rules applicable in such cases, he interrupted the planned task and directed the aircraft to the base.

Also in accordance with the procedures, the aircraft was handed over to the State Aviation Accident Investigation Commission, established to investigate the circumstances of this type of aviation accidents. After completion of the inspections required by the procedure, the aircraft was returned to flights. The commander of the Air Force was to suspend the operation of all F-16 aircraft. In fact, it was not necessary to suspend the flights of all Polish F-16s and the PSP Commander did not issue such an order, because the event was classified as an incident, and this does not require the suspension of all F-16 aircraft.

On the other hand, texts printed in the only legitimate, Masonic newspaper were suitable for the cabaret. Namely, that the plane was falling making uncontrollable rolls. This journalist has no idea what an unsteerable barrel is. Additionally, there was information that "it was on the verge of a catastrophe". So every flight is a potential disaster.

Since there was no more official information on this subject and no one made a fuss about it, it should be considered that such a situation was predictable, normal and with procedures (POH) to deal with it.

This situation is known in English as "deep stall". Occurs when the aircraft is dynamically stalled at a low CAS speed, which causes a rapid loss of lift. The machine begins to descend. The control computer tries to bring the plane out by controlling the stability. The plane comes to level and starts to oscillate, that is, its nose goes up and down. Such a fluctuation changes every 1-2 seconds. Rotation around the vertical axis may also occur. The machine keeps losing altitude. The POH procedure provides for the following procedure; engine thrust to minimum, possible rotational movement corrected by pedals, turning off the stabilization with the Overrid switch (on the left side of the control panel), forcing the increase of oscillations by tilting the control stick (usually towards yourself), after a few oscillations and seconds, the machine should rebel and go nose down . Then it recovers the aerodynamic forces on the control surfaces. Of course you need to increment the string and run Overrid. During such situations, you can lose 5,000 - 8,000 feet of altitude.

More exercises. Tactical Leadership Programme.

In March 2009, F-16 pilots had the opportunity to take part in NATO maneuvers for the second time. They improved their tactical flying skills in large groups. The exercises were held as the Tactical Leadership Programme. The base was the town of Florennes, Belgium. Participation of Greece, Sweden and Spain. The training in the air was carried out in the airspace of Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France and the UK. This training was aimed at preparing the flight crews and support (planning) teams to perform tasks in the aviation component during the implementation of NATO operations. The exercises confirmed the good level of preparation of Polish pilots to cooperate with the air force and other NATO countries. The departure of three F-16 C aircraft to Florennes took place on March 5, 2009. The Polish WSB was accompanied by CASA C-295 M with technical and security personnel. Polish aircraft flew 28 training missions in 70 hours, which is an impressive result. The return to the country took place on April 3, 2009.

Exercises. Loyal Arrow 2009.

The Loyal Arrow 2009 exercise in Sweden is a typical NATO air exercise. For the Polish side, they were distinguished by the fact that, apart from the pilots and Polish F-16 aircraft, soldiers from the ground staff also took part in it. The 2nd Krzesiny Airport Service Squadron is a group of ground personnel, thanks to which no Polish F-16 would take off. In June 2009, these soldiers were sent to exercises code-named Loyal Arrow 2009 in Sweden. The departure took place on June 4, 2009, by sea. The team consisted of 40 people. They took the necessary equipment with them to Sweden: air conditioners, nitrogen generators, trolleys for all suspended tanks, a lot of tools necessary to service the F-16 and some spare parts. Service technicians from Portugal, Turkey and the USA took part in the exercises. A week later, the Hawks flew to the exercises. The organizer of the exercises, in which 10 countries participated, was the Joint Command in Lisbon. The exercises were conducted by the Command of the Air Force Component from Ramstein. The exercises were attended by Tornados, Harriers, F-15 E, F-18, JAS-39, Super Puma, KC-135 and F-16 from: Poland, UK, US, Germany, Norway, Portugal, Italy, Sweden, Turkey and Finland . On June 18, 2009, after 10 days of training in Sweden (Kallax base), 6 F-16 aircraft returned to Krzesiny.

F-16 exercises in Greece. Squadron Exchange 2009.

In the period from June 15, 2009 to June 26, 2009, air exercises with the participation of Polish F-16 multi-role aircraft were held in Greece. Exercise within the squadron exchange, Squadron Exchange 2009. This is another test of the Jastrzębie pilots.

The squadron exchange program was carried out at the Souda base in Crete, to which on June 15, 2009, 5 F-16 Block 52+ multi-role aircraft flew from Krzesiny (four in the C version and one in the D version) and the CASA C-295 M aircraft transporting the necessary technical staff with equipment (a total of 44 people).

Greece is the fourth country where Polish pilots practiced the art of pilotage tactics in large groups. Polish Hawk pilots have already improved the skills of tactical flights in large groups (COMAO group) with other aircraft of NATO countries in Denmark and three times in Belgium and at the same time as in Greece also in Sweden. In 2009, Polish F-16 flew to Spain and Denmark. In Greece, Polish pilots practiced tasks involving interception, attacking ground targets, air-to-air and air-to-ground missions, divided into defensive forces (Blue Forces) and aggressor forces (Red Forces). In Greece, Polish aircraft made 55 flights (missions), usually accompanied by Greek F-16s. On June 26, 2009, five F-16 and CASA C-295 M aircraft returned to Poland.

USAF instructors.

Since 2006, i.e. since the arrival of the first two F-16 aircraft in the Republic of Poland, pilots-instructors from the USAF have been constantly at the airport in Krzesiny. They served the experience and knowledge of the first Polish Hawk pilots. There were always two pilots from the Mobile Training Team, who stayed in Poland for about 3 months. For three years there were almost thirty of them.

On October 9, 2009, after three months of joint work, the last two American pilots left the 31st BLotT. They were Major Korey Amundson "Axe" and Major Richard Wigle "Tricky". They were bid farewell by the commander of the 31 BLotT, colonel and certified pilot Rościsław Stepaniuk. Undoubtedly, thanks to instructors from the USAF, our pilots achieved a high level of mastery of the F-16 in a relatively short time, which was repeatedly confirmed by pilots from other NATO countries during joint exercises.

Exercises code-named Raróg 09.

On October 12-16, 2009, joint wax exercises were carried out in Poland under the codename Raróg 09. The organizer was the command of the 2nd Tactical Air Wing in Poznań. They were carried out according to a fictitious scenario. The aim was to check the readiness of subordinate combat units to carry out operational tasks in combat and crisis conditions. Several episodes were used in the exercises. Among them; mortar fire at the command post, attack by a sniper on flying personnel, planting an explosive charge, disinformation of the duty services by giving false messages, attack with biological weapons.

Eight F-16 C aircraft took part in the exercises (4 out of 31 BLotT Krzesiny, 4 out of 10 ELT Łask). Planes performed typical aviation episodes; duty in the zone (FAOR), attack on ground targets (Air to Ground), interception missions at the Ustka training ground (Air to Air), reconnaissance missions.

Components from 33 BLot Powidz participated in the exercises. On October 15, 2009, a briefing, conferences, interviews with commanders, F-16 take-off and landing demonstrations for one of the tasks, and presentations of one of the episodes were organized for the media. This episode was a terrorist attack (a dozen or so people) on the Powidz Airport. The attack was repelled by a 36-person facility security unit. As you can see, the army met the media, which, however, did not show much interest. Only military websites could find any information. The media is still looking for sensationalism and claims that everyday service to the Fatherland is unattractive to society.

Toxic Trip 2009 exercises.

In the first week of September 2009, Polish officers took part in the NATO exercise Toxic Trip 2009, organized at the S.W.A.F Air Combat Training School in Uppsala, Sweden. Exercises in the field of defense against weapons of mass destruction are organized annually by other NATO countries. This year's exercises were attended by officers from the Command of the 2nd Tactical Air Wing and 31 BLotT.

Every year, several countries - in 2009, the USA, France, Sweden and Germany - present to the other participants, acting as observers and assessors, national Contamination Control Area (CCA) procedures - procedures for eliminating contamination of flying personnel. In addition, methods of sampling contaminated materials for evidence purposes have been presented. The Germans specialized in chemical and biological contamination, the USA in ground-based, and the Czech Republic air-based reconnaissance of radioactive contamination and the evacuation of personnel in chemical contamination, presented by France. The experience gained during such international exercises is the basis for the development of many necessary instructions and procedures for the Air Force soldiers.

Bold Avanger exercises 2009.

On September 14-25, 2009, Bold Avanger 2009 exercises took place in Denmark. This is another exercise in which the Hawks took part. F-16s from 32 BLotT Łask flew to Denmark; four in the C version and two in the D version. The insurance was two CASA C-295 M aircraft from 13 ELtr. More than 50 combat, transport and support aircraft from 12 Member States (Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, UK, Italy, Turkey and USA) participated in Exercise Bold Avenger. The pilots of various aircraft performed their tasks under a fictitious scenario involving the conduct of operations under a UN mandate. Command and control of the flights was carried out by the Joint Force Air Component (JFAC) transferred to Karup Air Base (Denmark) from Ramstein and also by CAOC 1 in Finderup (Denmark). Sweden and a dozen NATO countries also took part as observers in the exercise.

During the exercises, Polish F-16 pilots performed 72 missions, over 147 hours of flight time and performed many tasks: Air-to-Air Refueling - a task requiring great precision and aviation craftsmanship consisting in approaching a tanker aircraft at a very short distance and directing the aircraft to refuel. Air Combat Tactics - tactical maneuvering, flight to the action zone. Familiariazion Flight - an introductory flight consisting in familiarizing the pilot with the area of operations. Composite Air Operation - a combined air operation consisting in the joint operation of several to a dozen aircraft performing various tasks. Close Air Support - direct support from the air, covering the activities of ground forces. Defensive Counter Air - defensive actions against enemy air assets. Offensive Counter Air - offensive actions against enemy air resources. Red Air - performing tasks as an opponent. Surface Attack Tactics / Opposite - attacking ground targets / opposing side, consisting in tracking and attacking ground targets. Sweep - sweeping, consisting in "clearing" a given area of airspace from enemy aircraft.

Americans visit Krzesiny.

On September 29, 2009, the base in Krzesiny was visited by a delegation of the 52nd Fighter Wing (USAFE) stationed in Spangdahlem (Germany). The commander of the 31st BLotT, Col. pil Rościsław Stepamiuk together with the Deputy Commander of the 2nd SLT, Col. drink Dariusz Mikołajczyk welcomed the commander of the American base col. Lee T. Wight and his accompanying commanders, equivalent to group commanders at our base. During the visit, the guests got acquainted with i.a. with the airport infrastructure, the flight training process, the level of training of our pilots. The commanders had the opportunity to exchange experiences, compare the manner and scope of operation of the twin bases and share their observations in order to be able to start closer cooperation in the future.

52 Fighter Wing has been stationed at Spangdahlem Air Base (Germany) since December 31, 1971. There are 5,560 soldiers serving in the Wing and about 210 civilian employees. The organizational composition of the Wing consists of: staff and four groups responsible for operational activities, technical security, support for activities and medical security. The Wing's equipment includes: 42 F-16 aircraft, 18 A-10 aircraft and two TPS-75 mobile radar stations. The Wing consists of: 22, 23 and 81 Fighter Squadron (FS - fighter squadrons) and 606 Air Control Squadron (ACS - airspace control squadron). 22 and 23 FS are equipped with F-16 C/D Fighting Falcon aircraft, while 81 FS is equipped with A-10 Thunderbolt II. In addition, the Wing includes four technical squadrons, a security squadron and medical support squadrons.

The tasks of the 52nd Fighter Wing include: keeping fighter aircraft ready, deploying them and using them in combat in support of NATO operations and operational units of the US armed forces. In addition, the Wing performs airspace control tasks in the area of operations and supports strategic air transport tasks.

Exercises in Spain Squadron Exchange. 2009.

In the second half of November 2009, another NATO air exercise with the participation of Polish Hawks took place. This time with 10 ELT Favors. Country - Spain, Torrejon near Madrid. Partner - Spaniards from ALA 12 using EF-18 M Hornet aircraft.

On November 22, 2009, a CASA C-295 M aircraft from 13 ELTr Balice with technical personnel and necessary equipment flew to Spain. On November 23, 2009, Hawks flew out for exercises; 3 F-16C and 3 F-16D with nine pilots. The entire Polish component consisted of over 60 people.

On the morning of November 23, 2009, the pilots waited tensely for the weather forecast and permission to fly to Spain. The weather has been kind for this time of year. The flight was carefully planned, mainly because it was one of the farthest so far carried out by the Hawks. In addition, without stopovers and refueling in the air. The pilots were concerned about the possibility of strong overhead winds and jetstreams, which are common at this time of year. However, the flight went without any surprises, and the pilots were greeted by great, high-pressure weather with beautiful sunshine over the Pyrenees. The flight from Poland to Spain took over 3 hours. and the F-16, covering a distance of over 2,000 km, without a stopover, did a great job.

The base in Torrejon is a former American base. It has a runway with a length of over 4,000 m and a huge CPPS, originally built for the largest transports and strategic bombers. Interestingly, the entire DS is much longer, but its western part has been excluded from use due to the proximity of the final approach of the flights heading to Madrid.

Therefore, hosts flying Hornets have a lot of air traffic around their base. However, using local procedures, they are doing great, which is another proof that the coexistence of combat and civil aviation in large agglomerations is possible. The Squadron Exchange program is extremely rich and varied. The Poles had a unique opportunity to test the capabilities of the Hawks in direct confrontation with fighters of other types, piloted by experienced pilots.

For 11 days, Jastrzębie, together with Spanish and Portuguese pilots, performed familiarization flights, CAS missions (Close Air Support - direct support from the air, covering ground forces) or with other types of aircraft as part of the division into "Red" and "Red" forces Blue Forces. COMAO (Composite Air Operation) missions. In addition to the F-16 from Portugal, the Spanish EuroFighters Typhoon, Mirage F1 and F-18 also took part in the exercises. The hawks flew 42 missions in 90 hours. The participation of the Hawks in exercises in Spain during the late autumn is an excellent way of not interrupting the training process. Because at this time in Poland, pilots often have long non-flying weeks. The return of the Polish team took place on December 4, 2009.

Training of future F-16 pilots.

The Air Force Command has begun looking for solutions to supplement the F-16's flying staff. One of the ways turned out to be internal recruitment of candidates for future F-16 pilots. Not only combat and transport aircraft pilots were taken into account, but also helicopter pilots. After the initial verification, the first group of candidates was created.

On December 14, 2009, at 31 BLotT Krzesiny, the first basic course of training pilots for the F-16 multi-role aircraft (Basic Course) began. The first part was theoretical training. After the exam, the candidates began practical training on a simulator under the watchful eye of instructors. Four pilots and two GSI (Ground School Instructor) specialists joined the training. The theoretical course will last until mid-February 2010. During its duration, 236 hours of lectures and 84 hours of classes on a flight simulator are planned. After completing the course, the pilots will fly the training and combat version of the F-16 Block 52+ aircraft and, depending on the skills acquired, they will perform independent flights. The entire Basic Course was supposed to last 9 months.

Summary of 2009.

In 2009, Polish Hawks took part in 8 tactical exercises, including 6 outside the Republic of Poland, in Denmark, Sweden, Greece and Spain. They performed about 300 missions in them. To this should be added field exercises and normal training in bases.

From the information available, only one incident occurred and it had no repercussions. PSP, as planned, is aiming to cast 72 F-16 pilots. At the end of 2009, there were not so many. There were 35 F-16 pilots with Basic Mission Capable status and the ability to fully utilize the F-16 for its intended purpose. There were 6 F-16 instructors with different qualifications. By April 2010, there will be two more. The simulator was intensively used in the training process. The one in 31 BLotT started working in March 2007, the one in 32 BLotT in November 2008. In 2009, pilots averaged 180 hours in the air, with some exceeding 200 hours. In 2009, 10 ELTs reached combat readiness for NATINADS.

F-16 C/D Block 50/52/+ construction.

In December 1992, General Dynamics Tactical Military Aircraft Division was bought by the giant Lockheed concern, which in turn, in 1993, merged with Martin Marietta to form Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed Martin F-16 C/D Block 50/52. 1991.

At the end of the 80s of the twentieth century, the Block 40/42 aircraft underwent several further modernizations, which further increased the combat capabilities. The main change was the modernization of WRe devices - a radiation warning device and flare and dipole ejectors. The former was replaced with the AN/ALR-56M - a slightly simplified variant of the device used in the F-15 aircraft, and also used from the beginning on the F-16 Block 50/52 aircraft. The AN/ALR-56M device operates in a much wider frequency range than the devices used so far, e.g. it also covers the "K" band (20 to 40 GHz), and the removable data library contains information about the latest known Russian OPL kits. AN/ALE-40 flare launchers have been replaced by AN/ALE-47.

Containers with towed AN/ALE-50 Advanced Airborne Expendable Decoy (AAED) decoys are also mounted on the middle, under-wing armament catches. The first traps of this kind began to appear on F-16 aircraft in September 1996. The trap is towed behind the aircraft on a fiber optic cable. The decoy is equipped with an infrared radiation source and a special angular radar reflector. The F-16 aircraft carries four traps, two in both beams.

The culmination of the next stage of work was the F-16 C/D Block 50/52 aircraft. The aircraft became specialized in breaking ground air defenses mainly using CPR. class p-z AGM-88 HARM. The first aircraft of this type took off on October 22, 1991, and already in December 1991, the first machines were delivered to the army.

Modernization of F-16 C/D Block 40/42 aircraft to the Block 50/52 version.

In 1995, in the USAF, 38 F-16 C/D Block 40 aircraft from the 31st Fighter Wing from Aviano underwent modification under the Sure Strike program. The equipment of the aircraft cabin was adapted to the use of NVG night vision goggles and IDM Improved Data Modem modems were mounted on them. IDMs are used to exchange information in the Link 16 system (JTIDS). They enable mutual transfer of data between aircraft and between aircraft and ground units, for example FAC outposts. The AH-64 D Apache helicopters also received the same terminals, which enables mutual exchange of information and cooperation between aircraft and helicopters.

In 1997, another modernization program was launched, called Gold Strike, the purpose of which was to provide the ability to transmit color video images via IDM, for example maps with the tactical situation introduced at ground command posts. The Gold Strike program covered virtually the entire fleet of Block 40/42 aircraft, which received equipment as part of the Sure Strike and Gold Strike programs. Modernization was completed by 2003.

The modernized AN/APG-68 (V) 5 radar station with a more powerful processor was installed in the used USAF F-16 aircraft.

The airframe has a service life of 8,000 hours, which, with an annual flight time of 200 hours, gives a 40-year service life.

Newer engines.

In parallel with the modification of the avionics equipment, more powerful engines were fitted; F-100-PW-229 with 1 x 79.10 kN thrust, with 1 x 128.90 kN afterburning or F-110-GE-229 with 1 x 75.70 kN thrust, with 1 x 129.40 kN afterburning. However, these engines, in the initial period, began to cause problems in use, so in July 1991, the engine of the F-110 GE-100 version was returned, until the fourth stage of the fan, which was causing the problems, was redesigned.

Written by Karol Placha Hetman