Saturday, May 02, 2020

MAY 2ND, 2020.

9 years ago to the day, my father died.

My father never claimed to be a leader; indeed, he was of a rather individualistic nature, far too much a perfectionist to ever direct, and allow, personnel to do his job.

And yet he was a leader. By example.

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me."
~ Psalm 23:4 ~

Rest in peace father. You are not forgotten.


Friday, May 01, 2020


The BAF has, over the past eight months, again been participating in a Baltic Air Policing mission. In SEP 2019, four F-16s from Florennes AFB arrived in Siauliai, Lithuania, and in JAN there was a change of the guard by four jets from Kleine Brogel AFB. From Siauliai, they regularly conducted missions over the Baltic Republics and their territorial waters.

The week of April 17 was quite a busy one, with interceptions of a host of Russian planes. Among them Su24 Fencers:

It's probably these very same Fencers that had made quite a nuisance of themselves in the preceding week, involving the same US destroyer USN Donald Cook:

One should nevertheless also give some thought to the Russian POV. For them, the presence of strong NATO air elements so close to Russian territory must also be, if not unnerving, at the very least annoying. Yet, given the history of the Baltic Republics at the hands of Russia's predecessor, the USSR, I still think them joining NATO was an appropriate move. It's a solid guarantee they won't be overrun again as happened in 1940. If you think that's unlikely in today's world, think again and ask the Ukrainians about the Crimea. Weakness invites agression.

Be all that as it may, I think NATO's eastward expansion has reached its limit and the organization should respect Russia's sphere of influence. I hear e.g. that Georgia is angling for NATO membership. Sorry; as sympathetic as one might be towards the aspirations of this small republic on the wrong side of the Black Sea, they should politely receive notice that that is out of the question.

As for the air elements deployed by the Russian Air Force, it's interesting to see that apparently the Fencers (with their trademark smokey engines!) remain firmly in the inventory. They can't have flown fast - wings are in the take off/landing position. And those swing wings got me thinking again about something that's been on my mind for a long time: the ordnance, or jettisonable fuel tanks, stored under those swing wings... if the wings turn, so must the pylons on which the bombs, missiles etc are mounted turn too, right? That means automatically that the entire weight is suspended from only one rotational point. I was glad enough that on Twitter, the gentleman known as @PrivateFrazer, who is an aerospace professional, presented me this magnificent scheme of the swing wing/pylon system for the F-111! I'm happy to share it with you:

(Some fleshing out this evening yet)