AIR 2 AIR GUNNERY 2017
For the very first time the Austrian Air Force deployed their Typhoon fighters to another country in central Europe to practice air to air live firing.
From April 24 till May 19, 2017 the exercise „Air 2 Air Gunnery 2017“ took place at Wittmund Airbase in northern Germany.
The Austrian Air Force deployed seven of its 15 Typhoon aircraft and a headcount of 130 people after one year of preparation to the home of the famous „Richthofen Fighter Wing“ (TaktLwG-71) which also flies the Eurofighter Typhoon for quick reaction alert (QRA). They are able to provide the infrastructure and support on their airbase.
That was one important reason in addition to the big shooting areas above the North Sea to held down this exercise in Wittmund.
The austrian Typhoon pilots needed an area for practicing air to air shooting to ensure their qualification which was not possible in Austria because of the small training airspaces and the absence of a contractor who offers target towing with fast aircrafts.
In Wittmund there is Discovery Air Defence (DA Defence) which joined the exercise by towing the targets.
The Typhoon are equipped with the Mauser BK-27 revolver cannon with a selectable rate of fire of 1000-1700 rpm.
The Austrian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon aircrafts which were deployed to Wittmund due the exercise are a mixture of ex German Air Force and newly build austrian ones as shown in this list:
- 7L-WB cn: AS002
- 7L-WD cn: AS004
- 7L-WG cn: GS024
- 7L-WH cn: GS027
- 7L-WI cn: GS028
- 7L-WJ cn: GS003 ex-GAF 30+08
- 7L-WO cn: GS012 ex-GAF 30+21
Discovery Air Defence (DA Defence)
BAE Systems lost the contract to this civil Canadian company which has actually based seven A-4N Skyhawk in Wittmund since 2014 with a staff of 28 people including seven pilots.
The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk is a single engine subsonic aircraft which was developed for the US Navy and Marines Corps and had its first flight 1954.
The A-4N is the modified exported version of the US Marines Corps A-4M Skyhawk, which have a modern glass cockpit and avionics. These former Israel Air Force airframes are now registrated in Canada.
The costs amount only about a third of that of the Typhoon if it performs the same missions and the contractual 1200 flight hours between DA Defence and the military partners are hardly enough.
The company is expected to expand at the airbase in Northern Germany and will serve the job until at least end of 2019 which contents fast target towing, threat simulation, forward air controller training and simulated bomb and rocket attack tasks.
For the exercise the RM-30A1 reeling machine and launcher is used in combination with the Cassidian Do-SK6 BSH pod which is towing the 15m long banner target at least about 500m behind the Skyhawk.
DA Defence aircrafts based at Wittmund:
- C-FGZD 367 Bu-No.:159051
- C-FGZE 495 Bu-No.:159623
- C-FGZH 534 Bu-No.:159536
- C-FGZI 531 Bu-No.:159533
- C-FGZO 532 Bu-No.:159534
- C-FGZS 337 Bu-No.:158730
- C-FGZT 542 Bu-No.:159544