RSAF lands fighters on highway. Are alternative Runways making a comeback?

The Lim Chu Kang Road in the northern part of Singapore has been in the news lately, as it has temporarily been shut down for Operation Torrent, 2016, an exercise conducted by the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) which includes conducting simultaneous launch and recovery operations from Lim Chu Kang road and Tengah Air Force Base.
Exercises like these have proven to be very useful in the past, when in a state of military emergency. Air Forces around the world play a vital role in the military defence capabilities of their countries, but they are restricted to operating from strategically located air force bases, which sometimes might not be close to the location where the action would actually be needed. The Navy came up with Aircraft carriers just to solve this mobility problem, but they too are confined to the ocean and sometimes might not be very helpful in a mainland based fight, and this is where (Advanced Landing Ground) ALG’s and Highway landing strips help a lot.
C-130J DBO 3


Singapore is the first South East Asian country to perform such an exercise, but what makes this more interesting is that alongside the F-16s, the RSAF used their F-15 SG in this exercise, which is in all probability the first time an F-15 SG has been used in a road landing, though other variants of the F-15 have been used in alternate runway landings before, South Korean F-15 K’s used in road landing and take-off’s in 2008 stand as an example. The F-15, more commonly known in the aviation world as the ‘Eagle’ has been an important part of the United States Air Force  for a long time now, and the RSAF bought many variations of the F-15 from the United States of America, the best one probably being the F-15 SG. The RSAF operates a fleet of 24 F-15 SG’s which is the hottest most-equipped version in the F-15 series.

RSAF F-15 SG landing at the Lim Chu Kang Road in Northern Singapore

Take a standard F-15, add APG-63(V)3 AESA Radar, Sniper XR EO/laser targeting pod, AAS-43 Tiger Eyes IRST (Infrared search-and-track system), an ALQ-135M system, an NVG-compatible cockpit, JHMCS(Joint Helmet Mounting Cueing System) and also the ability to launch a wide array of advanced weapons like the AIM-9X Sidewinder, the AIM-120C AMRAAM, the AGM-154 JSOW(Joint Stand Off Weapon), the SDB(Small Diameter Bomb) etc. then replace the Engines in the base variant of the F-15 with General Electric F-110-GE-129 engines, and one ends up with the F-15 SG.

The RSAF F-15 SG with its wide Array of Weapons

The F-15 SG is a front-line strike fighter jet in the RSAF which makes Operation Torrent 2016 very important. Alternative Runways were first found to be very important during World War II and then now in the last decade. Finnish Air Force F/A-18 Hornets, Belarusian Yak 130s and SU-25s regularly perform alternative runway exercises and even United States Air Force A-10 Thunderbolts have performed Highway landings in the past.
The Indian Air Force is not to be left far behind in this regard, as it recently made news when they landed one of their gigantic transport aircraft, the C-17 Globemaster at the mechuka airstrip, an ALG(advanced Landing Ground) in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, just 30 kilometres from the Chinese border. This alternative runway can serve as a strategic asset, especially given that hostilities exist between the two countries. It is to be noted that this area is a two-day road journey away from the nearest commercial airport and railway station, and the landing by the largest aircraft in the Indian Air Force C-17 Globemaster, is a big boost to the troop transportation capabilities of the Indian Defence Organisations.

The IAF C-17 Globemaster landing at Mechuka ALG

In May, 2015, the Indian Air Force had performed a highway landing with a Mirage 2000 Jet fighter on the Yamuna Expressway near the National Capital Region, and said that it was on the lookout for more stretches of highways where such landings are feasible.

Image Credits : Google Images, The Aviationist


Audi Motorsport quits WEC; all set to Focus on Formula E

Think of the FIA WEC series, and it is unlikely that one would not think about Audi and its mean machines running hybrid diesel powertrains, taking on the corners of Le Mans and the like. Well, if this is what you tend to get excited about, I am afraid there is some bad news for you. Audi Motorsport has officially announced that 2016 will be their last year competing in the Endurance Championship, including the 24 hours of Le Mans.
This decision will bring an era of successful motor racing to an end for the Ingolstadt based automobile manufacturer, who has taken part in the FIA WEC (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile World Endurance Championship) for 18 years, out of which they had 13 victories, two drivers’ and two manufacturers’ titles, making it the most successful brand in terms of race wins and titles in the FIA World Endurance Championship WEC since its introduction in 2012.
This development came about after Audi Motorsport teamed up with Team ABT Schaeffler to participate in the 2016-17 season of Formula-E racing series, and quitting the World Endurance Championship would help Audi concentrate more on the all-electric formula racing series.
FIA Formula E 2016/2017

ABT Schaeffler FE02

Manufacturers are generally known to take away knowledge and experience from their motorsport ventures in order to use them in the development of their production cars, and this move by Audi can be seen as another such attempt, as Audi now wants to focus on development of zero emission electric vehicles, facing competition from the likes of Tesla. Audi had earlier revealed plans to include multiple zero-emission vehicles in their portfolio by 2025, and their Formula E venture would definitely benefit their development.
After Audi quits the WEC at the end of the year, there will be just two manufacturers left in the endurance championship – Porsche and Toyota. The Formula E series on the other hand has attracted many manufacturers like Jaguar, Renault, Mahindra, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Citroen.
Image Courtesy : Google Images

Sebastian vettel apologises to FIA and Charlie Whiting

Formula one driver Sebastian Vettel on Sunday made news after his rant during the Mexican Grand Prix, which was laden with expletives.
Vettel swore against race director Charlie Whiting and competitor Max Verstappen in a conversation on the team radio, as he crossed the line in response to Verstappen failing to cede his third place to the Ferrari driver when he cut the T1 chicane whilst attempting to defend. Vettel’s swearing was broadcast to a worldwide audience on Sunday, with the swear words beeped out. Vettel later apologised to Charlie Whiting, hence avoiding any action from being taken against him.

But Verstappen’s cutting of the first corner was investigated by the stewards on the grounds he might have gained an advantage by leaving the track and in dramatic scenes Verstappen was given a five-second penalty immediately after the race and was demoted to fifth. Verstappen was forced to leave the pre-podium room as Vettel ran to take up his place on the podium.

However, in a further twist, Vettel then lost third place after becoming the first driver to be punished under a new dangerous driving rule for his defence against Ricciardo’s attempted pass.

Vettel was penalised 10 seconds for moving while in the braking zone and given two penalty points on his licence – ending up fifth and Ricciardo eventually being classified as third.
The Radio Conversation between Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari, his team:

“Move, move. For f*** sake. He [Verstappen]’s a f***k… that’s what he is.”

“I mean am I the only one or are you not seeing what I am seeing? He is just backing me up into Ricciardo? For f**ks sake.”

Ferrari: Charlie said [inaudible]…

“Here is a message for Charlie: F*** off! F*** off! Honestly”

“I mean honestly, I am going to hit someone. I think I have a puncture, rear left [after Turn 4 incident with Daniel Ricciardo].”

Ferrari: Tyres are fine, tyres are fine

“He has to give me the position. End of the story.”

Ferrari: Charlie say no.

“Well here’s a message for Charlie. F*** off! Honestly, f**k off.”

Maurizio Arrivabene: Sebastian, Sebastian calm down. They are under investigation. We know it is not fair, but calm down. Put your head down and we talk afterwards.

Okay, copy. Received.

Vettel in the Ferrari Trying to overtake Verstappen in the Toro Rosso

Other teams in the sport put blamed Ferrari for the built up frustration within Sebastian Vettel. Red bull team principal , Christian Horner was quoted as saying, “in any sport,  what you cannot do is, give abuse to the referee”. In a sport like Formula One, though things have calmed down in only the last decade or so. Instances like these are not totally new, as in the olden days when things were not so commercialized in the sport, usage of swear words in the pits and in the car was very normal and in some instances pure entertainment.
Sebastian Vettel was quick to point that out in an interview after the Mexican Grand Prix with Juan Pablo Montoya.  “I was using a lot of sign language and using a lot of your language I think, Probably looking back I felt like you when you got angry in the car.” Vettel told Montoya, who himself had a pretty respectable Formula 1 career in the past.
The Mexican Grand Prix ended with Lewis Hamilton Taking first place, Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third. After the 10 second Penalty, Sebastian Vettel was placed in the fifth position.