Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Oregon Air Show 2009

Between 29th and 30th of August the airport of Hillsboro, some miles from Portland, received the Oregon Air Show 2009 which is considered the most important airshow in the west coast of United States.

The 2009 edition included the exhibition of several warbirds such as a CL-13 Mk.6 Sabre and a soviet-built MiG-17F, the USAF acrobatic team Thunderbirds with F-16 fighters, fly-by over the public of F-15 Eagle fighters from USAF and C-17 cargo aircrafts or the impressive flying display a US Navy F-18C Hornet fighter from the West Coast TACDemo Team. The photos presented here were taken in the Saturday show.

Four F-16 fighters from the USAF acrobatic team Thunderbirds fly over the public in the end of their performance.

This soviet-built MiG-17F fighter with the markings of the Polish Air Force was one of the highlights of the airshow. The Korea War veteran is still in service in some countries inclunding in Sudan, China and North Korea.

Truthly a vision from the past: a CL-13 Mk.6 Sabre fighter rolling on the runway of the Hillsboro airport after a flying display with a Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17F and a Fouga CM-170 Magister.

A WWII North American B-25 Mitchell bomber named Pacific Prowler was present in static display during the airshow.

A 1950s single-seat attack bomber Legacy A1 Skyraider, piloted by Alan Anders, lands at the airport after a flight along with a US Navy F-18C Hornet fighter.

Pedro Monteiro

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Elefantes: Operating the new C-295M tactical transport aircraft

In a visit to the Montijo air base I have visited the 502 Sqn. Elefantes, the unit of the Portuguese Air Force which is receiving the new C-295M fleet. Officially moved to the air base of Montijo, with the city of Lisbon in the background, in the begin of 2009, the Elefantes had previously operated in Sintra with the C-212 Aviocar. The unit has a long history including the operation of iconic aircraft such as the Junkers Ju-52 and the Nord Noratlas transport aircrafts.

The new Airbus Military C-295M is a medium-range transport aircraft with a payload of 9t and a capacity for up to 71 passengers. Among its users are Spain, Brazil, Colombia, Algeria, Finland, Poland, and others.

The C-295M fleet boosts the operational capabilities of the 502 Sqn. both for tactical transport, medical evacuation, logistic support, operations with paratroops, search and rescue missions and maritime surveillance. From the 12 aircrafts acquired by Portugal, 7 will be of the transport version and 5 will operated primarily in the maritime surveillance configuration equipped with the CASA FITS (Fully Integrated Tactical System). However, the characteristics of the C-295M allow that these last aircrafts can be quickly transformed for transport missions. The deliver of the first maritime surveillance aircraft is expected for the end of this year. By the end of 2010, it is expected that all the 12 ordered C-295M are already in the air base of Montijo. Meanwhile, the priority is the preparation of the crews for the operation with the new aircraft.

I would like to acknowledge to the military personal from the 502 Sqn. which received me in the unit and their explanations about the new C-295M.

Pedro Monteiro

Spotting in the air base of Monte Real

Some photographs of the morning missions during a spotting session in mid-July in the air base of Monte Real. This is the home base for the F-16 fleet from the Portuguese Air Force. This year, the air base of Monte Real celebrates its 50th anniversary. Commemorations include an air show, in 22th of July, which will bring to Portugal the A-7H Coirsair from the Greek Air Force - the last operator worldwide of this historical aircraft that once operated with the Portuguese colors.

Currently, two squadrons operate the F-16 fighter in Monte Real: the 201 Sqn. "Falcões" with the F-16 OCU fleet and the 301 Sqn. "Jaguares" with the modernized F-16 MLU. The OCU cells, received by 1994, are now starting a modernization programme which will bring the entire fleet up to the MLU variant.

A F-16BM fighter from 301 Sqn. arrives from a mission in the Portuguese skies. Notice that the pilot is using the new JHMCS (Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System) and the aircraft is equipped with a Litening AT (Advanced Targeting) targeting pod. The operation of the Litening AT started in 2009 and it has been already used in the international military exercise Real Thaw.

The older but still trustable F-16B from the 201 Sqn. which has an important operational background with a dettachment in the Balkan war in the 1990s and the participation in the well-known Red Flag exercise from the US Air Force.

A Portuguese F-16 fighter from 201 Sqn. in a fly-by above the air base of Monte Real minutes before landing.

Pedro Monteiro

Monday, July 13, 2009

Coimbra Air Show 2009

As it has been hapenning every year (you can also check the reports for the 2007 and 2008 editions), the Bissaya Barreto airfield in the city of Coimbra has received a new edition of the Coimbra Air Show.
The airshow took place between 11th and 12th of July including the performances of the Smoke Wings civilian acrobatic team which flies two soviet-build Yakovlev Yak-52 and the military acrobatic team Asas de Portugal from the Portuguese Air Force equipped with two Alpha-Jet A. Civilian aircrafts as well as a rare operational Dornier Do-27 of the Air Force museum also participated in the airshow.

The impressive demonstration of the Asas de Portugal, here flying their two Alpha-Jet A in a close formation and at high speed.

One of the two soviet-build Yakovlev Yak-52 from the Smoke Wings civilian acrobatic team. The portuguese pilots pushed their aicrafts to the limits and impressed the public.

Close view of the impressive the soviet-build Yakovlev Yak-52. Originally, this aircraft was developed as a trainer. A classic aircraft in an air show whith a recent tradition.

Pedro Monteiro

Friday, June 19, 2009

Monte Real: Home of the Portuguese F-16 fleet

The May and June issues of the Spanish magazine War Heat have published the first and second part of an article which I wrote together with Juan Carlos Pando (you can also visit his webpage) about the Portuguese F-16 fleet.

The article covers the history of the air base of Monte Real, where the two F-16 squadrons of the Portuguese Air Force are located, as well as the operational life of the Fighting Falcon with Portuguese colors. The MLU programme as well as new equipments, weapon systems and international exercises are also mentioned in this article.

Pedro Monteiro

Monday, May 18, 2009

Gazela, Leopardo and Pantera: The history of the familiy of Portuguese military trucks (2)

The June issue of the Portuguese magazine Motor Clássico brings the second part of the work covering the history of the Portuguese family of military trucks. This family of vehicles, developed by the same company which produced the Chaimite armoured vehicle, included the Gazela, Leopardo and Pantera trucks.

This second part covers the operation of the Gazela and Leopardo in the Portuguese Army, the adaptation of some vehicles for fireman corporations or the heavy Pantera truck. Besides, this article includes an one-page summary with new findings about the history of the Chaimite Portuguese-built armoured vehicle. Those include, for example, the interest of Brazil on the vehicle and tests in this country, the operational deployment in Africa with Portuguese forces and the operation by Lebanon with updated information of the recent modernization of the local fleet.

Pedro Monteiro

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

EHM: The Portuguese Naval Aviation

The May issue of the Spanish magazine Fuerzas Militares del Mundo published a new article focusing the Esquadrilha de Helicópteros da Marinha (EHM, Navy Helicopter Squadron).

This new work brings updated information about the EHM, namely the future of the fleet, new detachments for the new Bartolomeu Dias frigates or the recent deployment with the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) which is conducting an anti-piracy naval operation off the coast of Somalia. Moreover, it covers technical aspects such as the new equipments and weapons systems for the Super Lynx fleet.

MAGAZINE DISTRIBUTED IN: Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Chile, Peru and USA.

Pedro Monteiro

Friday, May 1, 2009

Report: Portuguese Navy receives its first Karel Dorman frigate

The Brazilian defence website Defesa Net has published a report about the arrival to Lisbon of the first of the two frigates from the Karel Dorman class acquired by Portugal to The Netherlands in 2006 in a EUR260 million deal. The ship named Bartolomeu Dias has similar capabilities to the Vasco da Gama class (Meko 200PN) currently in service and it will replace the frigates from the former João Belo class, which was sold to Uuruguay (check here the previous article). The second ship, renamed Francisco de Almeida (F334), will be transferred on November of 2009.
The Karel Doorman class is composed by eight 2,800t multi-purpose frigates, originally operated by the Royal Netherlands Navy. Today the eight ships built during the 1990s are operated by The Netherlands, Belgium, Chile and Portugal.

Bartolomeu Dias multi-purpose frigate (F333) has arrived to the Portuguese capital this Thursday, April 30th, after months of sea trials and crew trainning (Photo: Portuguese Navy).

You can check the full report in Portuguese on the following link:

Pedro Monteiro

Monday, April 27, 2009

Gazela, Leopardo and Pantera: The history of the familiy of Portuguese military trucks (1)

On its May issue, the Portuguese magazine Motor Clássico publishes the first part of a work covering the history of the Portuguese family of military trucks. This family of vehicles, developed by the same company which produced the Chaimite armoured vehicle, included the Gazela, Leopardo and Pantera trucks.

The work is partially based on some interviews and documents from the Chaimite research project.
The first part of the article covers the origin of this family of vehicles, the development of their projects as well as the beginning of production of the Gazela and Leopardo trucks which were later deployed by the Portuguese military on operations in Africa. The May issue also covers the projects of the Comando Mk I light vehicle and Tigre Mk II and Comando Mk III armoured vehicles with new material, informations and photos.

Pedro Monteiro

Onboard the N.R.P. "Côrte-Real" frigate

Some photographies from a report made onboard the Portuguese Navy frigate N.R.P. "Côrte-Real" ("Vasco da Gama" class, Meko 200PN). This is one of the three ships received by Portugal by the 1990s.
The ship was then participating on the naval exercise Instrex 082 with the Super Lynx helicopters from the Esquadrilha de Helicópteros da Marinha (EHM, Navy Helicopter Squadron). Currently it is participating on the NATO’s anti-piracy mission in Somalia.

My acknowledges for the collaboration given by all the crew during the report made onboard. Good winds for them!

Pedro Monteiro

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pristina 091: New Pandur II armoured vehicles participate in military exercise

The Agrupamento Mike, which was covered on a previous report (check the article here), is presently completing its mission in Kosovo in the role of the KFOR Tactical Reserve Manoueuvre Batalion. A new battalion of the Brigada de Intervenção (Intervention Brigade, the medium brigade of the Portuguese Army) will replace it by March.

A small number of troops from the special operations are part of the 290 men Portuguese battalion [click to enlarge].

The north region of Mirandela was the scenario chosen for the military exercise Pristina 091. During a week, the 290 men of the battalion have trained several situations which they might find once in Kosovo, such as crowd riot control. One of the news of this edition of the Pristina exercises was the participation of a small group of Pandur II armoured vehicles which are being received by the Portuguese Army. So far, there are 11 vehicles in service with the infantry regiment of Vila Real, all of them in the Infantry Carrier Vehicle variant.

A total of 81 vehicles have participated in the Pristina 091, including five Pandur II armoured vehicles [click to enlarge].

The Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV) variant of the Pandur II armoured vehicle. This combat variant is armed with a 12,7mm caliber machine gun. Other versions, such as the Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) armed with a Steyr SP 30 turret with a 30mm canon, are part of the Portuguese purchase [click to enlarge].

A full report of the exercise was published, this week, by the Brazilian defence website Defesa Net:

Pedro Monteiro

New Link: Tally Ho!

Following an increasing number of Portuguese blogs focusing military aviation and aviation photography, Sérgio Trindade, a regular presence in air shows and oppen days, has created a new one for sharing his photos and videos. A regular visit is highly recommended.

Pedro Monteiro

Friday, February 13, 2009

UPF: Force Protection

The Brazilian website Defesa Net has published an article introducing the recent created Unidade de Protecção de Força (UPF) of the Portuguese Air Force. This is an elite infantry force which assures the protection of the Portuguese aircraft and personnel deployed on foreign missions.

You can check the full article on the following adress:

Pedro Monteiro

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Real Thaw 09

The Brazilian website Defesa Net has published an article covering the military exercise Real Thaw, organized by the Portuguese Air Force, with the participation of units from Dennamark and Spain. The article also focus the new Litening AT targeting pod which has just entered in service with the MLU fleet.

You can check the full article on the following adress:

Pedro Monteiro

New link: Cannon Two

Jorge Ruivo is a gifted photographer and a truelly passioned enthusiast of military aviation. With 30 years of memories and photos to share, he has recently created a personal blog. The firts report could not be better: the impressive description and photographic report of his first flight on a F-16B fighter. Bravo Zulu, Jorge! A blog to visit regulary.

Pedro Monteiro

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The prototype of a portuguese armoured vehicle

Do you know this vehicle? Do you know that it is the prototype of a light armoured vehicle developed in Portugal and successfully tested by the Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR, Portuguese gendarmerie)? What was the destiny of the only two prototypes?

Find out the answers to those and other questions and many unpublished photos with the research article next month in a Portuguese magazine Topos & Clássicos...

Pedro Monteiro