How To Find Out About Military Aircraft Movements And Arrivals – Blog > Flight Tracker News > Special Aircraft Tracking > A look at some of the military activities in the airspace around Ukraine
Last week saw a tremendous amount of new and unusual activity in the airspace around Ukraine – first Ukraine’s airspace was completely closed, followed by a series of consecutive airspace bans in Europe and then Europeans over Russia [you will] find all the updates here. ]
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How To Find Out About Military Aircraft Movements And Arrivals
This means that many of us monitor the area to see which planes are flying where, and we are detecting a large number of military planes in skies like the Black Sea, Romania and more. If you look closely enough, you’ll see everything from US Army Blackhawk helicopters to British Royal Air Force RC-135s. So what are these planes and what are they after? In some cases we can only make educated guesses, but here’s a look at some of the most notable ones.
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The RC-135 is a reconnaissance aircraft, and as we can see here this particular example of the British Royal Air Force taking off from RAF Waddington in England, it flies not only over the western border of Ukraine, but also Belarus. There have been a number of RC-135s in the area lately. The ZZ665 made its first flight in 1964.
The NATO E-3A Sentry aircraft provides “airborne early warning, combat management and command and control” (AEW&C) capabilities for NATO forces operating in Europe. Commonly referred to as “AWACS”, these planes and large rotating radar domes fly near battlefields to provide real-time intelligence. The NATO AWACS aircraft is based on the Boeing 707 fuselage and was first delivered to NATO in the early 1980s. The Sentry aircraft operates from NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen in Germany.
The US Black Hawks were busy in Poland. No one can guess exactly who was on board or what the special mission was here, but we can imagine they were busy moving US embassy personnel or other personnel to and from the area around the Ukrainian border. US Black Hawks in Poland tend to fly with the call sign DUKE followed by a number. Did you know that some Black Hawks are actually bred in Mielec, Poland?
US-operated drones or UAVs have been in the air around Ukraine recently, and we were able to track those who chose to remain visible. These are the RQ-4 drones, also known as the Global Hawk, manufactured by Northrop Grumman, and they tend to make very different flight paths to say the least. They can fly high (50,000+ feet) and stay in the air for over 30 hours. In one case, an RQ-4 taking off from Sicily was seen making repeated patterns over the Black Sea. These usually carry the FORTE callsign followed by a two-digit number.
Landstuhl, Germany. 01st Mar, 2022. A U.s. Military Aircraft Of The Type C 17 Globemaster Lands At The U.s. Airbase In Ramstein. After The Start Of The War In Ukraine, Aircraft Movements Here
The KC-135 and KC-10A, many of which belong to the US Air Force, have been spotted all over eastern NATO skies, from Romania to Slovakia and beyond. Both are used for air refueling, and the KC-10, as the name suggests, is based on the DC-10 platform. KC-10s are flying this week under the NCHO call sign.
Here is a C17 with a SAC Heavy Airlift Wing flying from Trollhattan in Sweden to what appears to be a destination in Poland (most likely Rzeszow). The SAC Heavy Airlift Wing is headquartered in Hungary and is “an independent and multinational program that provides guaranteed access to strategic military airlift capability for its 12 member countries.” It operates within NATO, but exists separately from it.
Pictured is an Airbus A400M of the Belgian Air Force taking off from Brussels and bound for Rzeszow (RZE) in Poland. This may be carrying people or cargo, or both. Rzeszow, as you will notice, is involved in a number of private and/or military aircraft movements, largely related to the Ukrainian situation. This makes sense because it’s one of the closest airports on NATO territory to the Ukrainian border and has a nice long runway. In normal times this is a relatively quiet international airport with passenger service. Here is a bonus A400M from the Turkish Air Force, which, as you guessed, landed in Rzeszow.
Watch out for Russian planes like the IL-76. This particular IL-76 of the Russian Air Force was recently spotted moving between Crimea and Moscow, among other locations. For more information about the ancient Ilyushin, see our article.
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What else did you notice? Let us know. And if you want to search for any of these planes on the map, remember that you can use the Filters tool to do so quickly. Here is a list of aircraft ICAO codes you will want to use:
We identify aircraft based on their ICAO 24-bit address, which must be unique to every aircraft in the world. Some aircraft are broadcasting an incorrect address that makes it impossible for our system to accurately identify the aircraft. It may be possible for a human looking at the flight path or callsign to make an informed guess about the identity of the aircraft, but without an appropriate ICAO 24-bit address our system is not able to do so.
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Gabriel Leigh grew up in long-haul flights and has been fascinated by airplanes for as long as he can remember. He currently lives in Sweden and writes about transportation, travel, and more for publications like The New York Times, Monocle, and Forbes.
Mobility Airmen Exercise Agile Combat Employment Capabilities During Nodal Lightning > U.s. Indo Pacific Command > 2015
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USAF KC135R LAGR973, USAF E8C Joint STARS REDEYE6, USAF KC10 NACHO134, NATO A330NRTT MMF18, USAF C130H HKY152, USAF KC10NACHO134, USAF B52 NOBLE42, USAF KC10 NCHO223
Of the first production version, the B-52A, only three were built and all loaned to Boeing for flight testing. The first production B-52A differed from the prototypes in having a redesigned front fuselage. The bubble canopy and tandem seating got a side-by-side arrangement, and the 21-inch (53 cm) nose extension housed more avionics and a new sixth crew member. A water injection system was added to the aft fuselage to increase engine power with a tail turret containing four 0.50 inch (12.7 mm) machine guns with fire control system and a 360 US gallon (1,363 L) water tank. The aircraft also carried a 1,000 US gallon (3,785 L) external fuel tank under each wing. The tanks dampened wing tremor and also kept the wingtips close to the ground for ease of maintenance.
The last B-52A (series 52-0003) was modified in 1959 to carry the North American X-15 and renamed NB-52A. A mast was placed under the right wing, between the fuselage and the inboard engines, with a 6 feet by 8 feet (1.8 m by 2.4 m) section removed from the right wing wing to fit the X-15 tail. Tanks of liquid oxygen and hydrogen peroxide were placed in the bomb bays to fuel the X-15 prior to launch. The X-15 made its maiden flight on March 19, 1959, with its first launch on June 8, 1959. The NB-52A, named “The High and Mighty One,” carried the X-15 on 93 of the program’s 199 flights.
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The B-52B was the first version to enter service with the USAF on June 29, 1955.
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