Sunday, May 31, 2009

New Air Traffic Control Tower Improves Warfighting Effectiveness

By Jay Cope, Naval Air Station Whiting Field Public Affairs

PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- Naval Air Station (NAS) Whiting Field's air traffic controllers, the team that helps direct the traffic for one of the Navy's busiest airfield, got to move into their new air traffic contol tower May 25.

The $4.6-million air traffic control tower overlooks the south field of the base's two airfields with a view that is 20 feet higher than the old tower. With additional working space and an unobstructed view utilizing an extra two feet of window all the way around, the tower provides a more comfortable and efficient office to monitor more than 160,000 annual flight operations at south field. The improvements are a welcome addition to the controllers.

"I've been watching it be built for two years hoping I would get in it before I transferred," said Air Traffic Controller 1st Class John Vernon who was also the tower supervisor during the tower's first operational shift. "Especially with it being right next to the old tower, people would come over here periodically to see how things were coming along. It is definitely a lot nicer."

Operations commenced promptly at 9 a.m. without a glitch, although a few items were still being installed. Whiting Field's operations department pushed hard for the Memorial Day weekend installation, however, to reduce any impact on the flight schedule.

"We did everything we could to facilitate their schedule," said Harlen Wood, the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) project manager for the project. "Fortunately, we were able to keep the timeline."

Wood and his four-man team completed the installation by working 12-hour days during the holiday weekend. It was an effort that pleased the base's air operations officer immensely.

"I couldn't be happier," said Lt. Michael McDonough. "Everyone was anxious, but things are going smoothly. We are in here and flying on time."

The new control stations have better line of sight to airfield operations, the tower contains improved communication equipment and has an improved design for modernizing equipment in the future and for maintenance. Additionally, the larger space enables training to be conducted at each workstation simultaneously, which was not possible in the old tower.

NAS Whiting Field will be holding a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the new tower in June.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Early Rochester NY Air Show Report

Here is an early report from the Rochester NY Air Show.

Air Boss 122.4750
Civi Performers 123.1500
Golden Knights 123.4750
Snowbirds 116.0000 272.1000
F-18/F-15E/A-10 Demos 376.0250

Remember if you have a report from one of the airshows, we can use your help. Remember, even if we have a freq you heard, pass it along as that verifies and keeps our list up-to-date. Please pass your report along to the email address above and you can remain anonymous if you want or need to.

If you need frequencies remember the 2009 MT Airshow Guide has been posted to the net at

Also remember to check out the links on the Milcom Blog Guide to Airshows in the strip to the right of this post for late breaking info and frequency updates.

And this weekend the flight demo teams will be performing at the following shows:

AF Thunderbirds: Ellsworth AFB, SD - Dakota Thunder and

Navy Blue Angels: Janesville, WI - Southern Wisconsin AirFEST

Golden Knights: Janesville, WI - Southern Wisconsin AirFEST and Rochester, NY - Rochester International Air Show

Canadian Snowbirds: Rochester, NY - Rochester International Air Show

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sicral 1B milsat testing

Ronald Rensen in The Netherlands has been observing testing of the Sicral 1B milsat on the satellite's UHF downlinks.

Ronald passed the following obs on the Hearsat newsgroup (monitoring on May 28): "Nice strong signals on 252.4750, 252.5250, 260.0000, 260.0750, 260.1250, 267.9500 and 268.0000. The only voice comms observed today were an Asian sounding phone conversation on 260.0935 and an Italian phone conversation on 252.520."

Here is what he posted for his May 27 observations:

252.4250 weak noise
252.4750 weak noise
252.5250 weak noise
260.0000 weak noise
260.0750 weak noise
260.1250 weak noise
267.9000 weak noise
267.9500 accidental relay, Asian or Arab accent, station (GARLIC?) working fighters STINGER 1/2, NATO style GCI
268.0000 accidental relay, Saudi Arabia, N739A (Aramco Boeing 737) working DHAHRAN MILITARY.
268.0500 weak noise
268.1000 weak noise

Thanks Ronald for sharing your observations with the rest of us.

And finally Paul Marsh shared the following recently on Hearsat:

"It is thought that the operators of Sicral 1B have begun their transponder tests. It may well be worth keeping an eye out on the UHF downlinks for new signals. I'm currently looking at the Ka band downlinks and some are in excess of 50dB over noise, absolutly huge signals! shows one example of what is thought to be a transponder centre frequency on 20668.750 MHz."

Paul reported that the satellite appears to settle on station at 11.75 degrees East on May 7, 2009.

Financed by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, SICRAL-1B, which is dedicated to the Italian Armed Forces, will ensure strategic and tactical communications on the Italian and foreign territories as well as mobile communications between terrestrial, naval and air platforms. It will also provide UHF and SHF band satellite capacities to NATO forces, further to a Memorandum of Understanding which was signed in 2004 between the Ministries of Defense of Italy, France, the United Kingdom, and the Atlantic Alliance.

SICRAL-1B will increase the availability and the complete reliability of the SICRAL system and will satisfy the operational requirements that the Italian Armed Forces are facing, mainly coming from "foreign areas". SICRAL-1B will be operational until 2019 and will be followed by SICRAL-2, which should be operational from 2011 until 2026.

Blues Practice for Janesville WI Airshow + X-Country

Peter Sz passes along the following frequencies used during a Blue Angel practice at Janesville WI for their weekend airshow: 237.8000 275.3500 284.2500 305.5000 MHz

Michael Sharritt (Alabama) reported hearing the Blues northbound from Pcola yesterday using the following X-country air-to-air frequencies: 237.8000 and 275.3500 MHz.

Thanks gents for sharing your observations.

Last Utah ANG KC-135E Stratotanker retires

For my readers who are serial/buno trackers.

By Master Sgt. Burke Baker, 151st Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Col. Kelvin Findlay, 151st Air Refueling Wing commander, sits in the flight deck of the Utah Air National Guard’s last KC-135 E-model Stratotanker before it was flown from the Air Guard base here to nearby Hill Air Force Base where it was officially accepted into the Hill Aerospace Museum for public display. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Emily Monson)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The last KC-135 "E" model Stratotanker assigned to the Utah Air National Guard's 151st Air Refueling Wing flew its final flight May 21.

Aircraft tail number 57-1510 was flown approximately 15 miles from the Air Guard base in Salt Lake City to nearby Hill Air Force Base where it was officially accepted into the Hill Aerospace Museum for public display.

Number 57-1510 came to Utah on Aug. 21, 1978, when it was assigned to the 151st ARW and had been with the Utah ANG ever since.

"This is an airframe that has a 30-year history in Utah," said Scott Wirz, director of the museum. "I think that it is only fitting that it comes here for exhibit."

The flight of the E-model to Hill AFB took planning and coordination between the Hill Aerospace Museum, the Utah Air National Guard and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.

"This will be our first tanker on display at the museum," said Mr. Wirz. "The KC-135 has filled a vital mission and one that is oftentimes overlooked. We take a lot of pride in the Air Force and the Air National Guard plays a huge role in the total force partnership. I think this exhibit will reflect that pride and partnership nicely."

In addition to the museum planning, coordinators also had to reserve a special aircrew from Scott AFB, Ill., to fly the plane to Hill. Pilots from the 151st ARW are no longer qualified to fly the "E" models anymore.

"Our unit is one of two in the country that maintains an E-Model qualification," said Lt. Col. Jim Pauling, a pilot with the 126th ARW at Scott AFB. "We stay current on them to deliver them to museums and places like the "boneyard" at Davis Monthan."

The 151st ARW has been flying the Stratotanker since 1978, but the aircraft has undergone several engine modification programs during its tenure. The E-model engine modification program started in the early 80's and 157 Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve tankers eventually were re-engined with the Pratt and Whitney TF-33-PW-102 turbofan. The modification was a major improvement over the previous A-model engine.

"Senator Jake Garn was the principal legislator to propose the idea of using surplus Boeing 707 engines and putting them on the KC-135. The Air National Guard sent one of the first two re-engined aircraft here to Utah," said Col. Kelvin Findlay, 151st ARW commander. A command pilot, Colonel Findlay has more than 6,000 hours in the KC-135, with more than 5,000 hours in the E-model.

Col. Ron Blunck, commander of the 151st Maintenance Group, served as both an enlisted crew chief and later a navigator KC-135s.

"The E-model modification was a far-sighted and cost-effective decision by the ANG," he said. "The E-model's performance was a vast leap forward from the A-model, and was a workhorse for the ANG and Air Force Reserve for over 20 years. We could carry heavier fuel loads, and could stop on very short runways with the reverse thrust.

"The E-model was a very capable aircraft and would still be viable today, but the engines are no longer supported," he said.

In addition to being able to offload more fuel, the E-model was 14 percent more fuel efficient than the KC-135A, allowing greater range for the tanker fleet.

The 151st ARW converted to the newest version of the KC-135, designated the R-model, in late 2005. The unit then began the process of transferring the outdated E-models to other ANG units still flying that model, or to the aircraft "boneyard" facility at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Ariz.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

USS Ronald Reagan Deploys

USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) departed San Diego May 28 on a deployment to the 7th and 5th Fleet Areas of Responsibility.

The carrier joins the other ships of its strike group which departed the day prior, including the guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), and the ships of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, which include the guided-missile destroyers USS Decatur (DDG 73), USS Howard (DDG 83) and USS Gridley (DDG 101), and the guided missile frigate USS Thach (FFG 43). Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 is embarked aboard Ronald Reagan.

"I'm proud of these Sailors, and I'm proud of their families - proud of their commitment, their excellence and their dedicated service," said Rear Adm. Scott Hebner, commander, Carrier Strike Group 7. "They understand the importance of their mission and the challenges ahead of them - they have worked hard, and they are ready."

Friends and family members of Sailors aboard Ronald Reagan bid their Sailors farewell from the pier on Naval Air Station North Island.

"Be safe and strong. We are here to support them. It's a tough job, and we are proud of them," said Pam Ortiz-Martin, a wife of a Sailor aboard Ronald Reagan.

The deployment is the fourth for the San Diego-based Ronald Reagan, which recently received its second Battle "E" award for being the most combat-efficient carrier in the Pacific Fleet. The Ronald Reagan/CVW-14 team also received the Ramage Award for most efficient carrier-air wing team in the entire Navy.

During its last deployment, the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group performed a humanitarian assistance mission, supporting the armed forces of the Philippines delivering more than 519,000 pounds of fresh water, rice and medical supplies to people affected by Typhoon Fengshen. Additionally, CVW-14, staging from Ronald Reagan in the Gulf of Oman, flew more than 1,150 combat sorties in support of coalition troops in Afghanistan, while the ships of DESRON 7 supported maritime security operations in the 5th Fleet Area of Operations.

The squadrons of CVW-14 include the "Redcocks" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 22, the "Fist of the Fleet" of VFA-25, the "Stingers" of VFA-113, the "Eagles" of VFA-115, the "Black Eagles" of Airborne Early Warning Squadron 113, the "Cougars" of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 139, the "Providers" of Carrier Logistics Support 30, and the "Black Knights" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 4.

Ronald Reagan is the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 7 and the ninth of 10 Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. The ship is named for the 40th president; its motto, "Peace through Strength," was a recurring theme during the Reagan presidency.

Jones Beach NY Airshow Report

Our friend up New York way, Phil - W2LIE, passes along this excellent airshow report for the Jones Beach Airshow held last weekend. Thanks Phil and welcome to the MMP team.

141.0750 MHz -- Used by the Thunderbirds as their diamond formation frequency both on and off the ground.

235.2500 MHz -- Used by the Thunderbirds solo artists during the show. Once the show was over this frequency was quiet.

123.4750 MHz -- Used by quiet a few of the performers. Unfortunately I didn't keep track of who was using it when. It did pop up on the scanner several times during the day. A few days prior to the show, 123.4750 MHz was also used for the media press shots of the planes flying by local landmarks. I have some archived audio that I need to put online for that.

128.2500 MHz -- One late find was the Thunderbirds were referring to Republic Airport's clearance delivery frequency as the "Airshow Frequency."

My Jones Beach Airshow thread has any log info for the week.

In addition to the airshow at Jones Beach, Fleet week was underway in New York City (approximately 45 min to 90 minutes west of here depending on the time of the day)

The USMC Helicopter Demo team did a tour of the local area. They did a performance at one of the local parks so I took a trip over there. Two years ago they used 315.4000 MHz (as captured via Close Call). This year, the frequency was sent through the PA system setup around the demo perimeter. We were able to hear them coming into the park before we heard the choppers. Once overhead, the scanners locked right on. 237.4000 MHz AM was the frequency in use this year. This seemed to be the only frequency the scanner picked out. More info on the event can be found here:

I will have some pictures on my site in the gallery. Shots from two years ago are here:

Phil -- Long Island Live Scanner Feeds and Forums,

If you have a report from one of the airshows, we can use your help. Please pass them along to the email address in the masthead above. You can remain anonymous if you want or need to.

And if you need frequencies remember the 2009 MT Airshow Guide has been posted to the net at Also remember to check out the links on the "Milcom Blog Guide to Airshows" in the strip to the right of this post for late breaking info and frequency updates.

Carl Vinson One Step Closer to Launching Critical Flight Systems

From Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class John Sampedro, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Operations Department began certification on the ship's Precision Approach Landing System (PALS) in Newport News May 12.

PALS certification is an important step in preparing the ship for sea. The system is vital to the safe landing of all aircraft onboard Carl Vinson.

"PALS is considered the most critical part of flight, we are responsible for a safe approach during a terminal phase of flight," said Air Traffic Controller 3rd Class Kyle Eberhart. "PALS works by locking onto the aircraft and verifying the needles, and it sends commands to land the aircraft safely."

Air traffic controllers operated two types of radar, the "Easy Rider" AN-SPN 46 and the "Bulls eye" AN-SPN 41, for the certification.

The AN-SPN 46 radar locks onto the aircraft and uses three different modes to safely guide the pilot back to the ship. Mode 1 takes complete control of the aircraft and its landing. Mode 1A takes control of the aircraft and transfers control back to the pilot 30 seconds prior to the landing. Mode 2 allows for complete pilot control.

"One of the main things we had to accomplish was coordination. In the middle of a city we have to coordinate with all the surrounding air traffic controllers at the nearby bases for permission to fly," said Air Traffic Controller 1st Class Michael Valli.

The Sailors assigned with maintaining PALS got underway on other carriers to get a better understanding of how it works and what it takes to operate this system. Coordination and training were essential to making all this possible.

"The AC's have been training in simulators and underway to be able to operate these systems," said the Operations Assistant Air Officer, Lt. Britton Windeler. "This is the first time in four years anything like this has happened on this ship, it's great to see it all come together."

Carl Vinson is completing its scheduled refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard. The RCOH is an extensive yard period that all Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go through near the mid-point of their 50-year life cycle.

During refueling complex overhaul, Carl Vinson's nuclear fuel has been replenished and the ship's services and infrastructure upgraded to make her the most state-of-the-art aircraft carrier in the fleet and ready for another 25 years or more of service.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

HOT SPOT DXING- Monitoring North and South Korea on shortwave radio

North Korea has responded to international condemnation of its nuclear test and a threat of new U.N. sanctions by saying it is no longer bound by an armistice signed with South Korea at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, in essence, we are now back at a state of war with North Korea.

For complete Shortwave Broadcast schedules for both North and South Korea, see our Shortwave Central Blog at

See the Reuters story at

North Korea Threatens Armed Strike, End to Armistice, see Bloomberg story at

NKorea threatens to attack US, SKorean warships, see AP story at

RJH90 Time/Frequency Reference Transmissions in New Time Slot

I have always been interested in Russian Military Comms. Now one of the world's leading monitors in this area is Trond J has posted some fascinating information on their VLF network. Late last week Trond posted the following to the UDXF newsgroup. Thanks Trond and that was a great catch.

"Since some time back, RJH90 the 270th communication hub of the Russian Navy General Staff near the village of Druznyj, (south of Nizhniy Novgorod), has been using also the 0700 UTC (summer) / 0800 UTC (winter) slot for time/frequency reference transmissions on 25 kHz. This slot complements the 0400 UTC (summer) / 0500 UTC (winter) slot already in use by RJH90. ID is made by using a fast, 30.5 wpm morse, sent on 25.0 kHz at hh:06 in the RJH90's timeslots. More info regarding Russian VLF "timesignal" transmissions to be found on (quite fun to see now, so many years after the article was published, how many that has been using copy/paste on this article without spotting the "mistake" of namegiving RJH90 as RJH99."

Pentagon Report on the North Korea Missile Test

A report from our Pentagon Bureau on North Korea's missile test.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Andrews AFB Airshow Report - VHF Freq Reported

I am happy to post that I have received a report of frequencies used by the T-Birds and Golden Knights last weekend at the Andrews AFB airshow. And contrary to what has been posted elsewhere on the Internet, the T-Birds did use a VHF frequency.
In fact, it was the new VHF frequency first posted to this blog back in March (noted at the El Centro show) and several times since -- 141.0750 MHz. So to the folks on that list who theorized that the T-Birds were moving to other freqs in the UHF spectrum only, you need to untheorize, it isn't happening.

Here is the Andy Airshow report from our anonymous contributor (and thanks a million for sharing).

123.4750 MHz -- Golden Knights. Communication between the ground and jumpers giving wind speed and conditions etc.

141.0750 MHz -- Victor channel simulcast

235.2500 MHz -- T-Birds solos. Also monitored the pre-flight brief (high show etc.) and their pre-show "poem."

235.2500 and 379.2000 MHz -- T-Birds traffic. Unfortunately I didn't note which of these two was the primary air-air for the formation flying. I heard all of it, so it has to have been on one of these two.

413.2750 MHz -- T-Birds ground team at the comm cart communicating with team prior to take-off (mentioning lots of FOD on ramp etc.)
This weekend the T-Birds at Wantagh, NY (Jones Beach) - Bethpage Federal Credit Union New York Air Show at Jones Beach More details including a streaming audio link at
The Blue Angels at performing at NAS Patuxent River, MD, the NAS Patuxent River Air Show 2009.
If you have a report from one of the airshows, we can use your help. Please pass them along to the email address above.

If you need frequencies remember the 2009 MT Airshow Guide has been posted to the net at Also remember to check out the links on the "Milcom Blog Guide to Airshows" in the strip to the right of this post for late breaking info and frequency updates.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Report: Faulty Communications Imperil President

As reported in an online Wired article by Kim Zetter, the U.S. Secret Service is asking for $34 million to help upgrade its communication system, and says that without the money the president’s life could be in danger, according to a news report.

More on this story at

U.S., Allies Prepared for Emergent Missions Following Joint Warrior

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Candice Villarreal

FASLANE, Scotland (NNS) -- Five U.S. Navy ships and a host of allied forces wrapped up multinational Joint Warrior 09-1 May 21 off the coast of Scotland after having successfully completed some of the world's most innovative and advanced warfare training available.

The exercise encompassed both traditional warfare exercises and Fleet Irregular Warfare Training (FIWT), focusing heavily on non-traditional warfare areas such as counterpiracy and theater security. The innovative FIWT is an invaluable tool for 21st century Sailors addressing and overcoming new, emergent threats.

While some U.S. Navy ships have undergone FIWT recently, the JW 09-1 exercise officially marks the first coalition-based FIWT implementation abroad.

"A significant portion of FIWT is focused on preparing commanding officers and crews to conduct forward deployed operations, in challenging environments, without the assistance of a strike group staff," said Rear Adm. Garry R. White, Commander, Strike Force Training Atlantic (CSFTL). "The Royal Navy, as part of their series of pre-deployment exercises to include JW, trains coalition commanding officers and crews from a large number of navies to what we in the U.S. Navy would call 'FIWT.' By participating in JW, we train U.S. ships in coalition FIWT - a critical skill for deployed forces in the current operational environment."

The multiple platform, comprehensive maritime operations exercise provided a robust training environment for allies to prepare their maritime forces and improve interoperability for any combined operations in future global assignments. A number of coalition FIWT scenarios covered a broad spectrum of situations, including counterpiracy boarding exercises, anti-submarine warfare (ASW), and air defense, all running concurrently with traditional warfare training evolutions.

"This is very important training for the U.S. Navy; it provides a unique opportunity to train in a dynamic coalition environment using our allies' tactics, techniques and procedures," said Rear Adm. White. "Our operations in the future will almost assuredly be in conjunction with our allies and coalition partners. This is a prime example of following the Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet's focus area of 'teaming with allies and partners in the execution of the maritime strategy.'"

According to Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet Vice Adm. Mel Williams Jr., the U.S. will continue to train and certify carrier strike groups, amphibious ready groups, and maritime expeditionary units for high-end military and major combat operations. We will additionally ensure individual units are armed with the preparedness they will need to operate independently in modern complex environments.

"This is rare, focused, unit-level type training that is very realistic and similar to what they're going to see in the different fleets and theaters while deployed," said Lt. Cmdr. Michael Violette, operations officer for Commander, Destroyer Squadron (COMDESRON) 24. "Traditional warfare training is very good, and our Navy is skilled at it, but 2nd Fleet is doing a lot right now to tailor the training to what the independent deployers are going to experience."

USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51), USS Porter (DDG 78), USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), USNS Kanawha (T-AO 193), and COMDESRON 24 took part in the scenario-driven engagement, along with vessels from nine other members of the North American Treaty Organization (NATO). Both the JW exercise and coalition FIWT evolutions are expected to increase fleet efficiency and battle readiness for U.S. and allied navies alike.

"With FIWT, you have to be prepared to act independently, near land, in a very fast-paced and complex environment," said COMDESRON 24 Commodore Capt. John Kersh. "But at the same time, you have to be ready for heavy traditional warfare, like utilizing air defense and ASW. You have to be prepared to implement, simultaneously, all of the other training you've ever had."

USS Hartford Returns to Homeport

By Lt. Patrick L. Evans, Submarine Group 2 Public Affairs Officer

GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- Los Angeles class fast-attack submarine USS Hartford (SSN 768) returned to Naval Submarine Base, New London May 21 after a month-long surface transit from Bahrain.

After that long ride, Hartford is expected to enter Electric Boat shipyard for a thorough inspection to assess required repairs following the March 20 collision with the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) in the Strait of Hormuz.

Cmdr. Chris Harkins, deputy commander, Submarine Squadron 8, commanded Hartford for the transit back stateside. Harkins took command of the submarine after the commanding officer of Hartford during the collision, Cmdr. Ryan Brookhart, was relieved on April 14 by Rear Adm. Michael J. Connor, commander, Task Force 54 (CTF 54) and commander, Submarine Group 7.

"I was amazed by the crew. They were still engaged. They welcomed me. They were very responsive, and it made my job a lot easier," said Harkins. "When I relieved, we got to work, got the ship trained up and all the equipment certified. The crew worked as a team. They hung in there and did not give up until we were pierside in Groton."

Harkins will return to his position as deputy commander of Submarine Squadron 8 in Norfolk when Cmdr. Robert Dunn takes command of Hartford. The turnover process is underway.

Family members, friends and shipmates dotted the pier to welcome Hartford home.

"They've been gone for a long time. They've been through a pretty traumatic ordeal. We're glad to have them home so we can continue with the recovery process and get the ship back into operational status and ready to go," said Capt. Harvey Guffey, deputy commander of Submarine Squadron 4.

The plan for Hartford, according to Guffey, is to allow the families to conduct a normal stand down for about a month. Then the submarine will head to the shipyard for inspection and assessment in July. The recovery and repair plan is still to be determined.

USS New Orleans returned to sea May 13, fully mission capable after completing repairs at the Arab Shipbuilding and Repair Yard (ASRY) Shipyard dry dock in Manama, Bahrain.

Two formal investigations have been completed; a Safety Investigation and a Judge Advocate General Manual (JAGMAN) Investigation. Both are currently undergoing endorsement reviews, which are expected to take several months to complete.

Joint Warrior Task Force Exercises Air Defense

By Lt. Cmdr. Julie Ann Ripley, Commander Destroyer Squadron 24 Public Affairs

SCOTLAND (NNS) -- A coalition-forces task unit including USS Porter (DDG 78) and USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) continued their participation in exercise Joint Warrior (JW) with an anti-air warfare (AAW) exercise May 18.

"The AAW training received during Joint Warrior is far more realistic than anything encountered during our usual workup cycle," stated Arleigh Burke Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Brian Moum. "The ability to use real aircraft to stimulate radar, generate threat emissions or jamming, and actually respond to radio queries was outstanding training for my watch teams. Since it is all real, my inside-the-lifeline training teams can focus on watch team response instead of having to run our various simulators, allowing much more focused attention and learning."

In a scenario lasting throughout the day, both vessels were attacked by multiple opposing MiG-29 Fulcrum aircraft and missiles. Arleigh Burke had been conducting counterpiracy operations and Porter was in transit. The ships fought in self-defense with Arleigh Burke destroying eight aircraft. Porter, who continued to fall under attack into the afternoon, defeated multiple missiles and one MiG-29. There was no "damage" to any coalition vessel.

"The myriad of live threats and targets executed in a robust and complex scenario provided a degree of realism far exceeding our expectations," said Moum.
"For example, we have conducted defense against small boat attacks numerous times, but never with the fidelity provided by JTEPS and the boat crews we met here. This event allowed my watchteams to execute real responses against real threats, all in a training environment. As a result, we are more than prepared to execute tasking in the real world throughout our deployment."

Lt. John Cycyk was on watch in the Combat Information Center (CIC) when the aircraft came into Arleigh Burke's radar picture.

"We immediately contacted them and repeatedly queried before taking any defensive action," said Cycyk. "The last course of action we wanted to take was the use of deadly force. It was only after they fired on us that we were forced to defend ourselves."

The realistic training provided during JW exercises changes the usual playing field.

"The air defense training helped us refine our responses and work on our battle rhythm and our cadence," said Lt. Cmdr. Ty Biggs, operations officer aboard Porter. "Orders were issued and the right people followed them. There was excellent teamwork training between the bridge and combat, and we matched real world electronic pictures in combat with visuals from the bridge. Air defense tactics have to be developed and mastered, so we can be ready for national tasking when we deploy.

"Working with NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) gives us a different mindset. NATO operates differently from what we're used to. Rules and regulations are different, but the basic safety is the same. We are training in [geographic] areas that most of the crew is unfamiliar with. This training helps us improve our process," Biggs added.

Exercise Joint Warrior is a two-week evolution incorporating four U.S. Navy ships and a host of allied nations. While all aspects of warfare training were utilized during JW, the evolution focused more heavily on Fleet Irregular Warfare Training (FIWT) in non-traditional warfare areas, such as counter piracy and theater security.

Boxer ARG Begins Exercise in the Gulf of Aden

The Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) began an ARG/ Marine Expeditionary Unit Exercise (MEUEX) May 19, in the Gulf of Aden and ashore at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti.

The weeklong ARG/MEUEX is an amphibious ship-to-shore training evolution designed to enhance Navy and Marine Corps amphibious capabilities in unfamiliar terrain and involves the USS New Orleans (LPD 18), USS Comstock (LSD 45) and 13th MEU.

"It is extremely important for Marines and Sailors of a deployed ARG/MEU to conduct exercises while deployed," said LtCol Tye R. Wallace, Commanding Officer, Battalion Landing Team 1/1. "In order to be the most ready force, we must constantly keep our combat skills at their peak."

The exercise demonstrates the ability of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and 13th MEU to conduct both large-scale combat operations and humanitarian assistance anywhere in the world and will consist of tactical amphibious landings, bi-lateral training with the French Foreign Legion and tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel (TRAP), as well as other events.

"The MEU is expected to execute any of its assigned missions, from the sea, within six hours of receiving an execute order," said Wallace. "This means going directly into the fight from our ships. No one else does this. This is a unique capability that the Navy / Marine Corps team provides our nation. This allows our deployed naval forces to be relevant, responsive, and ready for action."

The ARG/MEUEX is scheduled to conclude May 26.
The Boxer Amphibious Ready Group is comprised of Amphibious Squadron 5, USS Boxer (LHD 4), New Orleans, Comstock, USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21 Detachment 3, Naval Beach Group 1, Assault Craft Unit 5, Assault Craft Unit 1, Beach Master Unit 1 and Fleet Surgical Team 5.

The 13th MEU is comprised of a Command Element, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 163(Reinforced), Combat Logistics Battalion 13 and Battalion Landing Team 1/1.

The Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and 13th MEU is currently on a deployment in support of regional and Maritime Security Operations (MSO). MSO help develop security in the maritime environment. From security arises stability that results in global economic prosperity. MSO complements the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations and seek to disrupt violent extremists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.

Ronald Reagan CSG Ready to Deploy

A group of distinguished visitors observe an EA-6B Prowler assigned to the "Cougars" of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 139 make an arrested landing aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). Ronald Reagan is conducting sustainment exercises in the Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Torrey W. Lee/Released)

USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 7 will depart San Diego May 27 to begin a regularly scheduled Western Pacific deployment.

CSG 7 includes Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14, guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), and the ships of Commander, Destroyer Squadron (COMDESRON) 7, which include destroyers USS Decatur (DDG 73), USS Howard (DDG 83), USS Gridley (DDG 101) and frigate USS Thach (FFG 43). A detachment from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 11 will also be embarked aboard the carrier.

The Ronald Reagan CSG will play a key role supporting our nation's maritime strategy, which calls for credible combat power to be continuously postured to protect America's vital interests, assuring our friends and allies of our continued commitment to regional security and to deter and dissuade potential conflicts.

Ronald Reagan is the flagship of CSG 7 and the ninth of 10 Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. The ship is named for the 40th president and the ship's motto, "Peace through Strength," was a recurring theme during the Reagan presidency.

This deployment will be the fourth for the San Diego-based Ronald Reagan, which recently received its second Battle "E" award for being the most combat-efficient carrier in the Pacific Fleet. Ronald Reagan CVW 14 also received the "Ramage" award for most efficient carrier air-wing team in the entire Navy.

During its last deployment, the Ronald Reagan CSG performed a humanitarian assistance mission, supporting the armed forces of the Philippines, delivering more than 519,000 pounds of fresh water, rice and medical supplies to people affected by Typhoon Fengshen. Additionally, CVW-14, staging from Ronald Reagan in the Gulf of Oman, flew more than 1,150 combat sorties in support of coalition troops in Afghanistan, while the ships of COMDESRON 7 supported maritime security in the 5th Fleet area of operations.

The squadrons of CVW-14 include the "Redcocks" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 22, the "Fist of the Fleet" of VFA-25, the "Stingers" of VFA-113, the "Eagles" of VFA-115, the "Black Eagles" of Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 113, the "Cougars" of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 139, the "Hustlers" of Carrier Logistics Support (VRC) 30 Detachment 1 and the "Black Knights" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 4.

Eisenhower Resumes Flight Operations After a Historic Visit

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Adam Prince, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Public Affairs

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7 resumed flight operations today in support of Operation Enduring Freedom after a completing a historic port visit to the Kingdom of Bahrain.

CVW-7 resumed close air-power support and reconnaissance missions supporting U.S. and to International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops on the ground in Afghanistan.

"I look forward to seeing the air wing executing its primary mission and the many parts that it takes working together that make the mission possible," said Cmdr. Bryan Williams, CVW-7 operations officer. "We get daily updates on individual actions, stopping enemy fire, and protecting our troops."

CVW-7 integrates closely with multinational coalition forces to prevent and counter Taliban attacks. Carrier aircraft provide close air-power support and deliver ordnance on enemy positions designated by ground forces. In many cases, the show of presence and the sound of military aircraft overhead deter Taliban forces from carrying out attacks on coalition forces.

Since deploying, CVW-7 has flown 3,370 sorties accumulating nearly 10,500 flight hours. Since arriving in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, CVW-7 has flown 6,750 hours in support of coalition forces operating on the ground in Afghanistan.

While in port, the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group hosted the King of Bahrain, His Majesty the King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa; the United States Ambassador to Bahrain J. Adam Ereli; Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, as well as other dignitaries and guests.

During the four-day port visit, Sailors participated in community relations (COMREL) projects and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) events.

"COMRELs during deployment enhance the Navy's relationship with the host nation," said Chief Petty Officer Michael W. Music, who organized the project at the Ali Primary School in Bahrain.

The last carrier to moor pier side in Bahrain was the 11,373-ton Commencement Bay-class escort aircraft carrier USS Rendova (CVE 114) in 1948. During her stay in Bahrain, Rendova hosted the current king's grandfather Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, Emir of Bahrain.

Visits by U.S. Navy ships symbolize the continued friendship and partnership between countries and military services, increasing cooperative engagement and exemplifying commitment to building trust and confidence among friends worldwide.

The Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations as part of a regularly scheduled deployment in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom as well as maritime security operations. Operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet are focused on reassuring regional partners of the United States' commitment to security, which promotes stability and global prosperity.

Friday, May 22, 2009

NNWC Proposes to Disestablish the Navy-MC MARS Program

I have been one of the biggest critics of the three DoD MARS services in recent years. My advice in MT editorials back in the day was to combine the three MARS services or die. After a high level GAO investigation of the Army MARS program, it was determined that they needed to make changes or else. On paper the Army MARS did what they needed to do to stay alive, but the bottom line is this -- MARS is still is a relict of the Cold War and they aren't really fulfilling their basic missions. Morph them into other things but other things are also competing for the same HS bucks.

I still contend that in the current operational environment there is no real mission that they (MARS) has that warrants supporting three separate MARS services and their waste and abuse of precious radio spectrum frequencies. If I hear one more MARS net taking about their latest ailments or how the tomato plants in their gardens are doing, blood will shoot out my eyeballs. For you fools on these nets who love to ragchew, leave that for the ham bands, not on HF government freqs. You have a job to do and discussing your latest aches and pains is not one of them.

So thanks to NNWC, we finally have some sanity is being exhibited by one of the military services. Of course, the real sad truth is this is all a result of the current administration and their DoD budget cutting axe that has really caused this issue. As a friend of mine says, "hope you are happy with the choices you made last November because elections do have consequences."

My suggestion to the remaining two MARS services -- combine or risk the same end as the Navy-MC MARS program.

Now, if I could only get the Feds to take a look at the biggest waste of the taxpayer dollar in the HF radio spectrum -- the SHARES HF radio program -- then I will really be a happy camper.

R 162200Z MAY 2009


A. DOD DIRECTIVE 4650.2 DTD 26 JAN 1998










I will have further updates as they are available

First Virginia Class Payload Tube Increases Force's Versatility

Program Executive Office Submarines' Virginia-class Program Office marked a substantial milestone May 15 with the delivery of the first Virginia payload tube (VPT).

Built by General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB), the VPT arrived at GDEB's Virginia-class shipbuilding partner Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding's Newport News (NGSB-NN) facility for inclusion in Pre-Commissioning Unit North Dakota's (SSN 784) bow. As part of a teaming arrangement, NGSB-NN builds all Virginia-class bows while GDEB constructs all of the VPTs.

As the lead submarine being built under the third, or Block III contract, North Dakota will be the first Virginia-class submarine equipped with VPTs.

Unlike the first 10 Virginia-class submarines that housed 12 Tomahawk cruise missiles in individual Vertical Launch System (VLS) tubes, all Virginia-class submarines beginning with North Dakota will utilize two, 87.5-inch diameter, 35-plus ton tubes to house and launch the same number of missiles.

"The VPTs allow us to carry the same number of missiles as VLS-equipped Los Angeles- and Virginia-class submarines in a more economical way," said Virginia-class Program Manager Capt. Michael Jabaley.

"Two VPTs are less expensive to build and maintain than 12 VLS tubes, and when we couple those savings with the new large aperture bow array, we save forty million per ship beginning with SSN 788, the first of two ships we start building in fiscal year (FY) 2012," Jabaley concluded.

In addition to acquisition and life cycle savings, the VPTs provide the submarine force with greater payload flexibility.

"The VPTs provide commonality with the SSGN tubes, so payloads developed for one can go into the other," said Rear Adm. William Hilarides, Program Executive Officer, Submarines. "This affords the submarine force incredible flexibility and versatility to the far future."

In summarizing the Virginia Class' recent accomplishments, Hilarides said that, "The Navy / industry team promised to reach its cost and schedule goals, and we are making good on each and every one of them."

On May 3, Pre-Commissioning Unit Missouri (SSN 780) reached pressure hull complete only 64 weeks after the delivery of the first hull section to the shipyard - 19 weeks earlier than USS New Hampshire (SSN 778) and less than half the time required for USS Virginia (SSN 774). Further, New Hampshire became the third Virginia-class submarine to conduct an operational deployment prior to undergoing its post-shakedown availability.

"We, the Navy-industry team, promised to reach certain cost and schedule goals, and we are making good on each and every one of them," said Hilarides.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

AF officials announce Combat Air Forces restructure plan

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Following the May 7 roll-out of the fiscal year 2010 budget proposal for the Department of Defense, Air Force officials announced plans to retire legacy fighters to fund a smaller and more capable force and redistribute people for higher priority missions.

The Combat Air Forces restructuring plan would accelerate the retirement of approximately 250 aircraft, which includes 112 F-15 Eagles, 134 F-16 fighting Falcons and three A-10 Thunderbolt IIs. This does not include the five fighters previously scheduled for retirement in FY10.

"We have a strategic window of opportunity to do some important things with fighter aircraft restructuring," said Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley. "By accepting some short-term risk, we can convert our inventory of legacy fighters and F-22 (Raptors) into a smaller, more flexible and lethal bridge to fifth-generation fighters like the F-35 (Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter). We'll also add manpower to capabilities needed now for operations across the spectrum of conflict."

Under the plan, cost savings of $355 million in FY10 and $3.5 billion over the next five fiscal years would be used to reduce current capability gaps. Air Force officials would invest most of the funds in advanced capability modifications to remaining fighters and bombers. Some would go toward procuring munitions for joint warfighters, including the small diameter bomb, hard-target weapons and the AIM-120D and AIM-9X missiles. The remainder would be dedicated to the procurement or sustainment of critical intelligence capabilities such as the advanced targeting pod as well as enabling technologies for tactical air controllers and special operations forces.

"We've taken this major step only after a careful assessment of the current threat environment and our current capabilities," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz. "Make no mistake, we can't stand still on modernizing our fighter force. The Air Force's advantage over potential adversaries is eroding, and this endangers both air and ground forces alike unless there is a very significant investment in bridge capabilities and fifth-generation aircraft. CAF restructuring gets us there."

The CAF restructuring plan, which will require appropriate environmental analyses, would enable Air Force officials to use reassignment and retraining programs to move approximately 4,000 manpower authorizations to emerging and priority missions such as manned and unmanned surveillance operations and nuclear deterrence operations.

This realignment would include the expansion of MQ-1 Predator, MQ-9 Reaper and MC-12 Liberty aircrews; the addition of a fourth active-duty B-52 Stratofortress squadron; and the expansion of Distributed Common Ground System and information processing, exploitation and dissemination capabilities for continued combatant commander support in Afghanistan and Iraq, among other adjustments.

Secretary Donley and General Schwartz have committed the Air Force to initiatives that will reinvigorate its nuclear enterprise and field 50 unmanned combat air patrols for ongoing operations by FY11.

"What we're looking for is a force mix that meets the current mission requirements of combatant commanders while providing a capable force to meet tomorrow's challenges," Secretary Donley said.

Related story at

Stars and Strips online story at

Elmendorf to retire F-15s next year

ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- The Air Force has announced plans to retire legacy fighters to fund a smaller and more capable force and redistribute people for higher priority missions. This proposal includes the 28-year presence of F-15s at Elmendorf drawing to a close in 2010 when the last of its 24 F-15s depart.

"We will certainly be sad to see the departure of the F-15 from the 3rd Wing, however, we remain committed to ensuring air superiority for the United States and Canada," said Colonel Thomas W. Bergeson, 3rd Wing commander. "This move will help posture the USAF for realizing needed capability more quickly."

The 3rd Wing has 36 F-22s that will continue to ensure the mission is being accomplished. This restructuring will provide increased capabilities to Pacific Air Forces sooner than would have otherwise been attained by a traditional transition of forces.

"Elmendorf, and Alaska, remains a critical pillar in the Asia-Pacific strategic triad and will continue to benefit from service-specific capital investments and leading edge combat capability and platforms," said Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, Alaska Command commander.
The Combat Air Forces restructuring balances current fiscal realities with long-term recapitalization requirements and the need to support today's fight. The Air Force took this major step only after a careful assessment of the current threat environment.

At this time, the specific number of people being affected by this reduction at Elmendorf is not determined. When more details become available, we will update the community.

Main story at

Navy's Newest Aircraft Carrier Lands First Aircraft

An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 makes the first arrested landing aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). George H.W. Bush is the tenth and final Nimitz-class aircraft carrier and is underway off the coast of Virginia conducting flight deck certification. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael Tackitt/Released)

USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH, At Sea (NNS) -- USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) made history May 19 after safely landing the first fixed-wing aircraft, an F/A-18F Super Hornet.

Lt. Patrick McKenna and Cmdr. Beau Duarte, from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., piloted the Hornet and made the first arrested landing, known as a "trap," at 2:07 p.m. local time.

The aircraft carrier is underway performing flight deck certifications in the Atlantic Ocean. The ship is equipped with arresting wires which are capable of safely landing aircraft traveling at speeds of more than 200 miles per hour in about 300 feet.

"It takes a team of professionals to safely land an aircraft aboard a carrier at sea. The crew of USS George H.W. Bush has been working and training for this event for more than two years," said Capt. "Chip" Miller, Bush H.W. Bush commanding officer. "This is a tremendous moment for the crew."

Bush is the 10th and final Nimitz-class carrier. It was commissioned Jan. 10 at Naval Station Norfolk, Va.

USS George H.W. Bush Catapults First Aircraft from Flight Deck

USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH, At Sea (NNS) -- USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), reached another milestone May 19 when an F/A-18F Super Hornet became the first aircraft to be catapulted from the ship's flight deck at 3:03 p.m. local time.

The Super Hornet was piloted by Lt. Patrick McKenna and Cmdr. Beau Duarte piloted from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.

Bush has four steam-powered catapults placed at the bow and port side of the ship which are capable of accelerating an aircraft in less than three seconds from zero to 150 miles per hour in about 270 feet.

"Our ship's mission is to conduct carrier strike group operations around the globe, and with this catapult launching, we are one step closer to doing that," said Capt. "Chip" Miller, Bush commanding officer. "This is just the beginning of flight deck operations aboard this ship. It's what the crew has been working towards for years. They are excited to see aircraft flying on and off our flight deck, and so am I."

The aircraft carrier is currently underway performing flight deck certifications in the Atlantic Ocean.

Bush, homeported at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., is the 10th and final Nimitz-class carrier. It was commissioned Jan. 10 at Naval Station Norfolk.

GW, CVW 5 Get Underway for COE

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- USS George Washington (CVN 73), with nearly 5,000 Sailors, departed its forward-deployed port of Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka May 20 to conduct its combat operations efficiency (COE) evaluation in the Western Pacific.

The ship and crew, along with Sailors from embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, are now underway to conduct advanced cyclic flight operations to return the ship to full combat readiness following its first selective restricted availability which wrapped up earlier in May.

"COE measures our ability to land and recover aircraft with certain efficiency according to Navywide operational standards," said Cmdr. Vincent Aiello, CVW 5 operations officer.

COE certification is an important milestone because it proves that the ship and air wing team meets established criteria of efficiency and safety during aircraft launch and recovery operations. Successful completion of COE would allow CVW-5 and Washington to fly over open ocean without the requirement for a divert airfield if necessary.

The air wing also expects to conduct some air-to-ground strike training while at sea. This is a good test of the ship and air wing's ability to handle weapons, load them onto aircraft and employ them on over-land targets.

Commanded by Capt. David A. Lausman, George Washington is the flagship of the George Washington Carrier Strike Group, commanded by Rear Adm. Kevin M. Donegan and comprised of CVW 5, Destroyer Squadron 15 and guided missile cruisers USS Shiloh (CG 67) and USS Cowpens (CG 63).

CVW 5, commanded by Capt. Michael S. White, has operated from Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan, since 1973, and is the Navy's only forward-deployed, co-located air wing. CVW 5 has called George Washington home since the aircraft carrier's arrival in Japan last September when it replaced the recently decommissioned USS Kitty Hawk as the Navy's only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier.

Following the COE evaluation, George Washington expects to conduct its first summer deployment supporting security and stability in the Western Pacific region.

USS Doyle Gets Underway for Southern Seas Deployment to Latin America

MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- The guided-missile frigate USS Doyle (FFG 39) departed Naval Station Mayport May 7 to being the Southern Seas deployment to Latin America.

"It's bittersweet considering I had to leave my husband, family and friends along with all of the comforts of home, but considering it's my first deployment, I'm really excited that we are going out to finally do what we are supposed to do," said Ensign Heather Golightly, Doyle's force protection officer.

The 2009 Southern Seas deployment supports U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM)'s Partnership of the Americas strategy, which emphasizes interoperability, regional stability, and building regional partnerships throughout the SOUTHCOM Area of Focus. That area encompasses the Caribbean, Central and South America and surrounding waters, where Southern Seas 2009 is scheduled to be a six-month deployment conducted from April to October.

Southern Seas will consist of three phases: UNITAS Gold; exercise Southern Seas; PANAMAX; and routine theater security cooperation events.

Before leaving Mayport, Doyle participated in UNITAS Gold, the 50th iteration of the annual multinational partnership building exercise, April 20-May 5. Doyle worked alongside maritime forces from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Germany, Mexico, Peru, the United States and Uruguay.

During Southern Seas, u.S. and partner nations will conduct training on anti-submarine, anti-ship, and anti-air warfare techniques. Doyle will work with allied navies to practice multi-ship maneuvering exercises, helicopter operations, personnel exchanges, and various other interoperability and cooperation fostering exercises and countering of unconventional threats such as counter-illicit trafficking, piracy, and fishery violations.

In addition to participating in multinational maritime exercises UNITAS, PANAMAX 2009, and the Southern Seas exercises, Doyle will be stopping in various ports throughout Latin America. Visits to Honduras, Peru, Chile, Colombia, Panama, Curacao and Trinidad Tobago, will allow Doyle's crew to learn first-hand about other countries' cultures, and historic backgrounds. Doyle will take part in continued training, as well as host receptions and personnel exchanges to facilitate the learning and friendship.

"I'm excited to see South America and go to places that I've never seen or been to before," said Sonar Technician Surface 3rd Class James Callahan, a Sailor aboard Doyle. "I will get to go where none of my friends or family have been. I'm going to take a lot of pictures to take the great memories with me."

Doyle's crew will also participate in community relations events in each port. During the events, Doyle plans to provide humanitarian assistance to the host countries by supplying pallets of materials from Project Handclasp consisting of hygiene and medical products, school supplies, clothing and toys.

During the deployment, Doyle will contribute to the overall goal to train side-by-side with the U.S. Navy's partner nations to learn from each other, by working together to overcome each country's maritime challenges.

The 2009 Southern Seas deployment is executed by Destroyer Squadron 40 as Commander, Task Group 40.0, consisting of Doyle, USS Kauffman (FFG 59), and USS Ford (FFG 54).

Parade of Ships Kicks off Fleet Week in New York City

The guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) transits the Hudson River during the Parade of Ships as part of Fleet Week New York City 2009. Approximately 3,000 Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsman will participate in the 22nd commemoration of Fleet Week New York. This event will provide the citizens of New York City and surrounding tri-state area an opportunity to meet service members and also see the latest capabilities of today's maritime services. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class David Danals/Released)

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ricky Allen, Navy Public Affairs Support Element-East

NEW YORK (NNS) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) arrived in New York City May 20, officially kicking off the 22nd commemoration of Fleet Week New York City 2009, May 20-27.

Approximately 3,000 Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen from the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard will participate in this year's events.

One of the first events welcoming fleet week service members was the Parade of Ships reception, held at the USS Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, which re-opened in November after undergoing renovations at Staten Island.

"We're so excited to be back right after our restoration and renovation and for our first fleet week," said Intrepid Museum Executive Director Susan Marenoff. "We have so much going on over here in the next couple of days. Activities on our pier, Broadway performances, military demonstrations...We have so many new things since we've opened up the museum."

Coast Guard Vice Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr., commander, Coast Guard Atlantic Area was the guest speaker at the reception. He said that when it comes to Sailors in general, "We understand each other."

Papp said people will not only see the ships, but the service members as well.

"The ships don't come to life unless there are Sailors, Coast Guardsmen and Marines that bring them to life. And how fortunate we are over the history of this country to have people step forward and serve afloat and ashore to carry out the very important mission of this country," he said.

Also in attendance were Vice Adm. Mel Williams, Jr., commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet and Rear Adm. John N. Christenson, commander, Carrier Strike Group 12, Enterprise Strike Group.

Ships participating in the Parade of Ships this year were the guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72), homeported at Naval Station Norfolk, Va.; patrol coastal ships USS Tempest (PC 2), USS Hurricane (PC 3) and USS Thunderbolt (PC 12), homeported at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Va.; the guided missile destroyer USS Roosevelt (DDG 80), homeported in Mayport, Fla.; Canadian ships, air defense destroyer HMCS Athabaskan, the multi-role patrol frigate HMCS Fredericton, HMCS Montreal, multi-role patrol frigate HMCS St. John's, auxiliary oil replenishment HMCS Preserver; and the U.S. Coast Guard high endurance cutter Spencer.

In addition to attending welcoming events, service members will also tour the city and make appearances on TV shows and at sporting events.

Hosted nearly every year since 1984, Fleet Week New York is the city's celebration of the sea services. This event also provides an opportunity for the citizens of New York City and the surrounding tri-state area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, as well as see, firsthand, the latest capabilities of today's maritime services.

Keel Laid for future USS Spruance

General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW) laid the keel for the future USS Spruance (DDG 111) during a brief ceremony May 14 at the BIW shipyard in Bath, Maine.

The 900-ton keel unit represents the first "ultra" module to be fabricated in BIW's Ultra Hall facility that opened last year. Ultra Hall stretches 1.5 acres and allows workers to complete construction, pre-outfitting and testing more efficiently and in a controlled climate. Ultra Hall has enabled BIW workers to complete installation of thousands of feet of cable, compartment air tests, water-tight door testing and pipe segment testing which are all normally completed in later stages of construction.

The keel module is the most pre-outfitted and tested at this stage in construction to date. These advancements will be used in future Arleigh Burke- (DDG 51) and Zumwalt- (DDG 1000) class ship construction, which will ultimately lower production costs.

USS Spruance will be the 61st Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer and the 30th built by BIW. The ship will be able to conduct a variety of operations from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. USS Spruance will be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and contains myriad offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime warfare. The ship can operate independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups or amphibious ready groups. The ship's combat system centers around the Aegis combat system and the SPY-lD(V), multi-function phased array radar.

Bath Iron Works expects to deliver USS Spruance to the United States Navy in the fall of 2010.

The Navy's Program Executive Office (PEO), Ships manages the development and acquisition of U.S. Navy surface ships and is currently acquiring 11 major ship classes and a variety of small boats and craft. These platforms range from major warships such as frontline surface combatants and amphibious assault ships to air-cushioned landing craft, oceanographic research ships and special warfare craft. Since its creation in November 2002, PEO Ships has delivered 31 major warships and hundreds of small boats and craft from more than 20 shipyards and boat builders across the United States.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Jones Beach Air Show/T-Bird Freq Updates and an "Atta Boy"

Received a nice email from Phil, W2LIE:

Google Alerts notified me this morning that you posted my info onto your blog site. I just wanted to let you know that I couldn't put the Air Show online if it wasn't for the MT Airshow Guide ( Without it, I wouldn't have any frequencies to listen to. Thanks for all of the hard work. I will be trying to capture the F/A-18 frequencies for you this week. They are landing Thursday morning so I will be along the fence with my scanner on.

I wanted to let you know that the Thunderbirds have landed. I can confirm with out a doubt 141.075 MHz (the new diamond freq) is in use. They were using it both in the air and on the ground while coming into town.

Thanks again & 73
Phil / w2lie

So contrary what has been reported elsewhere on the net in the last week, the T-Birds are NOT leaving their VHF for freqs in the 200 MHz and UHF milair ranges. If you don't hear any of the freqs listed in our guide at a show, put your scanner in search or close call modes. I guarantee the T-Birds are still using their VHF freqs for the diamond (as noted by Phil above).

Remember as first reported on this blog keep an eye out on the following VHF frequencies for T-Bird diamond activity:

139.2250, 139.8000, 140.7000, 141.0750 (New for 2009 and first reported on March 22 on this blog at El Centro airshow), 143.2500, 143.7000, 148.1250, 148.8500, and 150.1500 plus all the other freqs listed on page 2 of our MT Airshow Guide.

Thanks for the kind words Phil. Also thanks from the entire monitoring community for streaming the Jones Beach Airshow. Remember you can monitor Phil's stream at Up to the minute schedules can be found at You can track updates and feed activity on his site in the forums:

Milair Frequency Changes - 5/20/2009

Time again for some more aero frequency changes, updates and corrections from the Milcom MP Quik-Stop . . .

120.6250 Chevak AK (KVAK) AWOS-3
306.9250 Potomac Tracon Approach/Departure Control: Washington Dulles International (KIAD), ex-343.775 (343.775 has now been cleaned out to make way for another DoD subband, probably wideband freqs). With this move the new frequency no longer serves the following airfields:

Manassas Regional (Harry P. Davis Field) VA (KHEF), Quantico MCB/MCAF (Turner Field) VA (KNYG), Shannon Airport VA (KEZF), Winchester Regional VA (KOKV), Culpepper Regional VA (KCJR), Shannon VA (KEZF), Front Royal (Warren County) VA (KFRR), Stafford Regional VA (KRMN) and Warrenton-Fauquier VA (KHWY).

Ike Port Visit in Bahrain

The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) prepares to depart Bahrain after a four-day port visit. This was the second time a U.S. aircraft carrier has moored pier side during a liberty call, the previous visit was by the escort aircraft carrier USS Rendova (CVE 114) in 1948. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nathan Schaeffer/Released)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Jones Beach Air Show Audio Stream at

Want to monitor the airshow at Jones Beach this weekend and can't make it in person? Now you can catch the action courtesy of an audio feed on the Internet. Below courtesy of Phil, W2LIE and the Live Scanner Audio newsgroup.

"For the 4th year running, you will be able to listen on line to the Air Show at Jones Beach (Long Island, NY) at The audio will be running on my "Specialty" feed.

"The feed will start at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, May 19 - so that you may hear the Thunderbirds come into Republic Airport (Farmingdale, NY).

"Frequencies for the stream are located at Up to the minute schedules can be found at

"I will also be archiving the audio from the air show, and hope to put it on line when I get a chance.

"You can track updates and feed activity on my site in the forums:

"New computer memory will be installed before this weekend's events. Hopefully this will allow for more users to listen to the stream."

Army Air Defense Unit to Activate at Fort Sill

The Department of the Army announced yesterday the planned activation of the 4th Battalion, 3rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment (Patriot) at Fort Sill, Okla. This stationing action represents an increase of 603 military authorizations at Fort Sill and no change in civilian authorizations. This stationing action will be completed by Oct. 17, 2010.

4th Battalion, 3rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment provides high to medium altitude air defense of ground combat forces and high value assets against cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles /unmanned combat aerial vehicles, and rotary and fixed wing aircraft.

This stationing action is part of integrated force structure changes that support the Army’s transformation requirements. This initiative supports and provides Combatant Commanders with forces at a higher level of readiness.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Exercise Falcon Virgo Rescheduled - Now May 19-20

By Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 18, 2009 - A North American Aerospace Defense Command exercise designed to test the command's aerospace defense capabilities in the national capital area has been rescheduled after inclement weather last week forced its postponement.

Exercise Falcon Virgo, originally planned for the May 15-16 overnight period, now is scheduled for May 19-20.

Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon jets, Coast Guard Dolphin choppers and Civil Air Patrol Cessnas will participate in the exercise over the nation's capital and its suburbs. A number of Falcon Virgo exercises have taken place since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, officials said. The most recent one over Washington was in March.

"The exercise is always held in the middle of the night to not interfere with civilian air traffic," Pentagon spokeswoman Air Force Lt. Col. Almarah Belk said. "The aircraft involved follow all noise abatement procedures."

The exercise is in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Capital Region Command Center, the Joint Air Defense Operations Center, the Continental U.S. NORAD Region, the Civil Air Patrol and the Coast Guard.

Residents in the area can expect flights to occur shortly after midnight and into the early morning hours of May 20. The exercise should wrap up during the morning.

Carl Vinson Commences Dock Trials

The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) maneuvers away from the pier to turn the ship around to enable operation of the ship's propellers and complete the next phase of the scheduled ship's refueling complex overhaul (RCOH). Carl Vinson is undergoing a scheduled RCOH at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class David Shen/Released)

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Erin Oberholtzer, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Reactor department Mechanical (M) division launched Dock Trials May 4.

The Dock Trials test the main engines and spin the shafts of the propellers as well as test vital communications.

The tests ensure that the main engines are ready for sea trials by using steam to turn the shafts. There are four main engines that run off of steam created in the ship's reactor plants.

"The testing was successful on three out of four engines," said Lt. Luke Sullivan, Reactor department's Chemical Radiological Assistant (CRA). "We're trying to make sure that we have positive control over all our systems."

The tests can be dangerous due to the movement of the ship causing the brow to shift and the ship to vibrate. However, since the aircraft carrier has been tied to the pier with cables, the ship is prevented from moving too much.

"The test is risky because the propellers are developing thrusts," said Lt. Cmdr. Randy Reid, Reactor Departments Reactor Mechanical Assistant (RMA), "but because of extra precautions we've taken the risk is substantially lowered."

The tests enable them to check the power, machines and generators to make sure that they are working properly. The tests are also being used to check the vital communication circuits between the propulsion plant and the bridge.

With the reactors now working, the ship can create steam and sustain itself.

"This is the first time since 2005 that these systems are all active," said Reid. "The ship is now one step closer to being ready for sea."

USS Carl Vinson is completing its scheduled RCOH at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard. The RCOH is an extensive yard period that all Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go through near the midpoint of their 50-year life cycle.

During RCOH, Carl Vinson's nuclear fuel has been replenished, and the ship's services and infrastructure upgraded to make her the most state-of-the-art aircraft carrier in the fleet and ready for another 25 years or more of service.

Navy Christens Newest Arleigh Burke-Class Ship Gravely

PASCAGOULA, Miss (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy christened the newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, USS Gravely (DDG 107), May 16, during a ceremony at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Miss.

"For those of you who sail on Gravely, this is your legacy. The namesake of your ship was the consummate Navy professional. He was calm in command, quiet and confident to his approach to any question, but make no mistake: He wore the unmistakable mantle of the captain." said retired Adm. J. Paul Reason, who delivered the ceremony's principal remarks.

Alma Gravely served as the sponsor of the ship named for her late husband. In accordance with Navy tradition, she broke a bottle of champagne across the ship's bow and christened the ship.

She said she looks forward to staying engaged with the crew and has already told the prospective commanding officer to have family cruises, known in the Navy as tiger cruises.

"It would be our duty and pleasure to be with the ship and be a part of the ship for the rest of the ship's life or my life and the children's lives, and I'm really looking forward to a family cruise."

She said her husband would be very proud of the honor to have a ship named after him.

"Whatever job you have, make sure you do it well because it's your ship and you want to be number one when they grade them for the [Battle] E. Keep the ship clean and do your job well."

The new destroyer honors the late Vice Adm. Samuel L. Gravely Jr. After attending Virginia Union University, he enlisted in the Navy Reserve in September 1942. In 1943 he participated in a Navy program (V-12) designed to select and train highly qualified men for commissioning as officers in the Navy. On Dec. 14, 1944, Gravely successfully completed midshipman training, becoming the first African American commissioned as an officer from the Navy Reserve Officer Training Course. He was released from active duty in April 1946, but remained in the Navy Reserve.

Gravely was recalled to active duty in 1949. As part of the Navy's response to President Truman's executive order to desegregate the armed services, his initial assignment was as a Navy Recruiter, recruiting African Americans in the Washington, D.C., area. Gravely went on to a Navy career that lasted 38 years and included many distinguished accomplishments.

"Appropriately DDG 107 will be a member of the most powerful class of surface ships ever put to sea. She will serve as a platform for heroes for decades to come. We now have a vessel bearing his name to remind us who broke down the barriers that once kept African Americans away from the Navy," said Acting Secretary of the Navy B.J. Penn.

Gravely was a true pathfinder whose performance and leadership as an African American Naval officer demonstrated to America the value and strength of diversity. Gravely's accomplishments served as watershed events for today's Navy. He was the first African American to command a warship (USS Theodore E. Chandler); to command a major warship (USS Jouett); to achieve flag rank and eventually vice admiral; and to command a numbered fleet (Third Fleet).

Gravely's wife said the late admiral would urge the ship's crew to pursue educational opportunities to achieve some of the same accomplishments.

"He believed in education, and I know that he would be telling them to study and get your education so that you can be promoted. He believed in education very, very much."

Cmdr. Douglas Kunzman is the prospective commanding officer of the ship and will lead the crew of 276 officers and enlisted personnel of the 9,200-ton vessel.

"This is a Flight Two Alpha destroyer so it has two helicopter hangers, so it will carry as part of the ship's company two helicopters. In addition to that, it will bring a wide variety of new weapons systems, not just the munitions that are put on board but also the gun weapons systems to include the crew served weapons that are used today in countering piracy and also other small boat threats and small boat attacks," said Kunzman.

Designated DDG 107, the 57th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, Gravely will be able to conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. Gravely will be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and contains a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to apply maritime power to protect U.S. vital interests in an increasingly interconnected and uncertain world.

Biden Reveals Location of Secret VP Bunker is reporting this morning that the vice president, well-known for his verbal gaffes, confirms at a dinner the existence and location of a secret hidden bunker that Cheney is believed to have used after the 9/11 attacks.

The complete story is available at

Tacsat 3 Launch on Again

The new launch date for the TacSat-3 mission is May 19 with a backup day of May 20. The launch window for both days is 7:35 to 11:30 p.m EDT.

I have complete information on the special payloads being carried on this launch here on the Milcom Monitoring Post blog at

Friday, May 15, 2009

Milair Frequency Changes - 5/15/2009 +MT Milcom Announcement

In my June Milcom column in Monitoring Times magazine I have a comprehensive profile of NORAD including the first and most up-to-date list of frequencies published since the NEADS and SEADS merged into the Eastern Air Defense Sector. So if your tired of old stuff and your NORAD list needs a face lift, be sure to get a copy of the June issue of Monitoring Times via MT Express shortly and on newsstands later this month.

You can purchase this single issue in electronic pdf format (MT Express) for $3.00 by calling 800-438-8155 or emailing MT Express is full color throughout -- no black and white pages -- and the links are active, and it only costs $19.95 per year, whereas the paper version has risen to $32.95 per year! A true bargain!

Now it is time for some more aero frequency changes, updates and corrections from the Milcom MP Quik-Stop . . .

118.1250 FACSFAC Vacapes, Albemarle Sound NC/R-5301 and Harvey Point NC/R-5302A /B / C "Giant Killer," Washington ARTCC on 123.850 no longer controlling these restricted areas
119.2000 Scott AFB/MidAmerica IL (KBLV) Ground Control
119.5500 Lone Star Executive (Houston) TX (KCXO) Clearance Delivery (when field is closed)
119.8750 Scott AFB/MidAmerica (KBLV) Clearance Delivery, ex-121.7500
120.4500 Lone Star Executive (Houston) TX (KCXO) Clearance Delivery/Ground Control
121.6250 Cecil Field FL (KVQQ) Clearance Delivery/Ground Control
122.0000 FSS Leesburg Hub VA (KJYO)
122.1000R FSS Nashvile TN (KBNA)
122.2000 FSS St. Louis MO (KSUS) Spirit of St. Louis RCO
122.2000 FSS Prescott AZ (KPRC)
122.2000 FSS St. Petersburg FL (KPIE)
122.2000 FSS Kankakee IL (KIKK)
122.2000 FSS Lansing MI (KLAN)
122.2000 FSS Princeton MN (KPNM)
122.2000 FSS Columbia MO (KCOU)
122.2000 FSS Raleigh NC (KRDU)
122.2000 FSS Nashvile TN (KBNA)
122.2000 FSS Leesburg Hub VA (KJYO)
122.4000 FSS Prescott AZ (KPRC)
122.4500 FSS St. Petersburg FL (KPIE)
122.4500 FSS Raleigh NC (KRDU)
122.5000 FSS Seattle (KSEA)
122.5500 FSS Nashvile TN (KBNA)
122.6000 FSS St. Louis MO (KSTL) RCO1
122.6000 FSS Fort Worth (KFTW)
122.6000 FSS Leesburg Hub VA (KJYO)
122.6500 FSS Columbia MO (KCOU)
122.6500 FSS Raleigh NC (KRDU)
123.1250 McConnell AFB KS (KIAB) Boeing Ramp Monitor, frequency has been removed from service
123.1250 Wichita Radio KS (KICT)
123.6000 FSS St. Petersburg FL (KPIE)
123.6250 Houston Southwest TX (KAXH) AWOS-3
124.1250 Lone Star Executive (Houston) TX (KCXO) Tower
124.1500 Cap Cod CGAS MA (KFMH) Ground Control
124.6750 Beatrice Muni NE (KBIE) AWOS-3
125.5250 Cape Girardeau Regional (KCGI) Tower, ex-119.000
127.7000 Destin-Fort Walton Beach FL (KDTS) Clearance Delivery
128.2500 Scott AFB/MidAmerica IL (KBLV) Tower
233.7000 FACSFAC Vacapes, Albemarle Sound NC/R-5301 and Harvey Point NC/R-5302A/B/C "Giant Killer," Washington ARTCC on 323.000 no longer controlling these restricted areas
236.7750 Shreveport Regional LA (KSHV) Tower/Ground Control, ex-381.6000
253.5000 Scott AFB/MidAmerica IL (KBLV) Tower
257.1000 Cheyenne Regional (Jerry Olson Field) WY (KCYS) ANG Operations/Command Post, ex-225.525 (Cowboy operations/command post)
263.0250 Scott AFB/MidAmerica IL (KBLV) Clearance Delivery
275.8000 Scott AFB/MidAmerica IL (KBLV) Ground Control
282.2250 Longview Approach/Departure Control (West at or below 5k ft) TX: East Texas Regional (KGGG), ex-385.4000
291.7750 Little Rock Approach Control: Adams Field AR (KLIT) Searcy Muni (KSRC), ex-385.6000
343.2000 Wichita Radio KS (KICT)

Note: The frequencies 2866.0 and 5631.0 kHz for the Cold Bay FSS in Alaska are apparently no being used.

Exercise Maple Flag 42 Starts May 18 at Cold Lake, Alberta

From Rob Berezowski and the Milcom newsgroup (frequencies at end of post)

More than 4500 local and visiting Canadian and International military personnel are preparing for Exercise Maple Flag 42, to take place in Cold Lake, Alberta from May 18 to June 12, 2009.

The exercise is divided into two periods, with Period One May 18-29, and Period Two June 1-12. During each period Allied forces from Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Republic of Singapore, the United States, Great Britain, Australia and the NATO AWACS unit will engage in a simulated air and ground campaign using the vast, unrestricted airspace of Cold Lake and its Air Weapons Range as well as the Wainwright training area for ground operations.

Period one will focus on Para deployments from US Marines Corps and Royal Netherlands Air Force Hercules C130 J/H aircraft in support of Exercise SPARTAN PEGASUS Para Assault carried out by A Company, 3 PPCLI on a Drop Zone in the Wainwright Training Area. Staging and Embarkation will be from 4 Wing Cold Lake. The assault force will include Royal Netherlands Air Defence Forces and German Forces. As well, period one will include other transport and refuelling missions.

During period two, "Blue Air" Allied Forces from Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Republic of Singapore, the United States, Great Britain, and NATO Airborne Warning and Control System will engage in a simulated air campaign using the vast, unrestricted airspace and more than 640 targets of the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range. Participants will confront air and ground based threats against "Red Air" Opposing Forces from 64th USAF Aggressor Squadron and the Top Aces.

The USAF RQ-4 Global Hawk will be participating for the first time at Maple Flag. This long endurance, high altitude unmanned surveillance aircraft will stage from its home base in California. The Australian E-7A Wedgetail AWACS aircraft will also be participating in the exercise. The E-7A AWACS is based on the 737 airframe.

As part of the Canadian Forces International Observes Program, MF 42 will host observers from Chile, Egypt, India, Oman, Poland, Singapore; South Africa, United Arab Emirates; and Ukraine.

Working together planning combat missions and flying these missions in concert with aircraft from other nations fosters and strengthens the professional bonds forged between allied nations. The exercise will provide important training for Canadian and allied fighter aircrews, as well as transport, electronic warfare, air refueling, air defence, special forces and airborne early warning and control assets from many different nations.

Official news releases on these exercises can be viewed at:

As for monitoring aircraft movement in and out of Cold Lake, traditionally a lot of aircraft have moved on "transition Saturdays". Therefore, expect to see a lot of international and overseas movements to/from Cold Lake May 15 and 16, May 29 and 30, and June 12-13.

Thanks Rob for passing that along. And from the giant Milcom Monitoring Post frequency database:

Cold Lake Group Captain R W McNair, Alberta ICAO Code: CYOD

ATIS 260.0000
Approach 124.5000 322.8000
Arrival 124.5000 269.6000 279.8000 350.5000
Tower 126.2000 226.5000 236.6000 255.7000
Ground 121.9000 275.8000
Departure 124.5000 322.8000
Clearance Delivery 120.6000 230.6000
PMSV Metro 344.6000
TRAN SVCG 308.7000
Wing Operations 340.2000