F-16 Jastrząb. 2012 - History

Category: Airplanes Last change: June 2020 History Construction Tally

Kraków 2013-01-01

315 Section 2006-11-08

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


Operation F-16 Jastrząb

Fifth and sixth year of operation, from 01/01/2011 to 31/12/2012.

F-16 D nb 4085 Radom 2011 year. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman
F-16 D nb 4085 Radom 2011 year. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman

F-16 Jastrząb nb 4061. 2016 year. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman
F-16 Jastrząb nb 4061. 2016 year. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman

Polish F-16 on RED FLAG. June 8, 2012

Red Flag is an advanced combat activity exercise carried out several times a year. The base for training troops is Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada and Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska. Red Flag exercises have been carried out since 1975. and interestingly, with the collapse of the Warsaw Pact they were not liquidated. Analyzes carried out during the Vietnam War showed that in the first days of the war, the first missions are the most dangerous and bring the most losses. In subsequent tasks, those who survive gain experience and find ways to defeat the enemy. Therefore, during peace, exercises should be as real as possible so that soldiers overcome their first emotions and know how to use previously acquired knowledge. The goal is to train pilots from the US, NATO and other allied countries in real combat situations. The organizer is the United States Air Force (USAF) and other US military units and allies. Each exercise lasts 14 days. They can engage over 100 planes and helicopters. They are very realistic, using all available types of armaments in aviation equipment (except for nuclear weapons and special bulky cargo). Laser-guided or GPS-corrected bombs are used. It also includes the use of enemy equipment and ammunition as part of testing and learning the scope of their capabilities. Practicing soldiers also have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the old and new enemy weapons they may come into contact with in combat; tanks, cannons, helicopters, small-caliber launchers. Each exercise has a precise plan. The tasks are clearly set, but the way it is done is left to the training teams. Usually, the command post is on board the command aircraft.

Eielson Air Force Base (AFB) (IATA: EIL, ICAO: PAEI, FAA LID: EIL) is a USAF airbase located in the middle of Alaska, about 26 miles (42 km) southeast of Fairbanks. Eielson AFB was founded in 1943. The name was given to the base in honor of the polar aviator Carl Ben Eielson. The base not only cares for its yard, but also for the huge training ground where the exercises take place. Eielson Base has been conducting Red Flag exercises since 1992. Bases in Alaska are separated from Poland by a distance of 9,000 km.

Every exercise involving Polish Jastrzębia, outside the borders of the Republic of Poland, arouses considerable interest. However, participation in the RED FLAG exercise is something special. There is simply no better exercise in the world. For the first time in history, Polish aircraft took part in them. And not only the F-16 Jastrząb, but also the C-130 Hercules transport plane. Eight F-16 Jastrząb aircraft from both bases flew to Alaska, 24 pilots of these machines. The commander of the Polish unit was Maj. Pil. Paweł Marcinkowski, in command of 6 ELTs every day. The flight to Yankee Eielson base in Alaska was divided into stages. The first of these is a flight to Mildenhall in Great Britain, where, among others, stationed American tankers. The further route led over the Atlantic Ocean. Hawks were divided into two groups of four aircraft. Each grouping was accompanied by a tanker. Each F-16 took fuel 6-8 times. The next stop was at the airport in Bangor on the East Coast of the USA. Then only 6.5 hours flight to Eielson base, during which refueling in the air was also planned. During RED FLAG, F-16 pilots from Krzesin and Łask performed mainly offensive missions related to strikes on ground targets. "Air to air" missions were entrusted primarily to pilots of aircraft specialized only in conducting air combat, such as F-15 C or Eurofighter.

Polish C-130 Hercules had other tasks in addition to the transport mission. For example, he simulated an aerial command post. The F-16's task was to cover this aircraft as HVAA (High Value Airborn Asset). One should know that a significant part of the equipment needed to carry out the mission was transported on board the rented An-124 Rusłan, which took off from Strachowice Airport. Some equipment and other service personnel flew to Germany at the airport in Cologne on the C-295 M plane, followed by the A 310 aircraft of the German Air Force.

The basic phase of the exercises lasted from June 7, 2012 to June 22, 2012. Because flying to Red Flag exercises is a big expense for the Polish Air Force, that's why our soldiers practiced in Alaska for over one month, which is much longer than Red Flag type exercises. Over 80 aircraft and helicopters from; participated in the RED FLAG exercise; USA, Japan, Australia.

Participants in the exercises are divided into coalition forces "Blue" and aggressor forces "Red" ("White" controls the course of the conciliator's exercises). Aviation activities take place in the full spectrum of simulated threats related to, among others with the use of anti-aircraft weapons and electronic warfare devices, as well as the presence of aggressor aircraft.

Written by Karol Placha Hetman