US NAVY using ADS-B code hopping

US Navy P-8 Poseidon taking off at Perth Airport Darren Koch (GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2), via Wikimedia Commons

Recently, I started to detect many P8 Poseidon aircraft above South China Sea, like if a dozen of different P8 were flying in the area each day. The only explanation I see is that they are doing ADS-B code hopping, switching to a new TACTICAL code every few minutes.

Here are some of the codes I detected in the past few days: AE686A, AE6879, AE6889, AE67B3, AE6784, AE687D, AE6850, AE6854, AE6809, AE6793, AE6807, AE6845, AE6819, AE6836, AE67C2, AE67DC, AE6885, AE67D6, AE6813, AE687E, AE689E, AE6884, AE67DE, AE6803, AE682D, AE687C, AE6849, AE68A2.

Few more codes detected recently: AE6848, AE67DF, AE6870, AE6883, AE683D, AE6822, AE6814

Breitling Jet Team

Breitling Jet Team, operated by Apache Aviation is based in Dijon, a city in France few hundreds kilometres south east of Paris. My mobile tracker picked most of the team when I spent few weeks in Chalon our Saone early this year.

Breitling Jet Team is flying on Aero L39C Albatros, with tails ES-YLX, ES-YLN, ES-YLF, ES-YLP, ES-YLR, ES-TLF, ES-TLG and ES-YLI. You can see more details in the search page.

Breitling has decided in 2019 not to renew its sponsorship as sole and exclusive partner of Apache Aviation, but is open to staying on board as co-sponsor. Apache Aviation and Breitling are in search of co-sponsors to operate Jet Team around the globe.

Founded by Jacques Bothelin in 1980, the team had several sponsors (and names) during the years: Patrouille Martini, Patrouille Ecco, Patrouille Addecco, Khalifa Jet Team before to be named Breitling Jet Team in 2003.

Let’s hope they will find a new partner to continue this adventure!

US military planes in South China Sea

There are a lot of US military activity in the area between Taiwan, Hong Kong and the South China Sea. Transports, SIGINT, reconnaissance, protection of US carriers in the area… mainly conducted by the US Air Force and the US Navy. Here is a list of planes seen in past few months (click on the link to see the radar map when the trackers got a MLAT position – these aircraft generally do not broadcast their position on ADSB):

AE049B – Tail number: 61-0313 – Boeing KC-135R – US Air Force

AE1492 – Tail number: 96-0042 – Boeing E-8C Joint Stars – US Air Force

AE1D8A – Tail number: 15-6511 – Lockheed EP-3E Aries 2 Orion – US Navy

AE1D95- Tail number: 15-9893 – Lockheed EP-3E Orion – US Navy

AE1D91- Tail number: 15-7318 – Lockheed EP-3E Aries2 Orion – US Navy

AE1D5D – Tail number: 16-1586 – Lockheed P-3C-II.2 Orion – US Navy

AE17EF- Tail number: 05-0730 – Boeing C-40C – US Air Force

AE04FD – Tail number: 58-0095 – Boeing KC135T – US Air Force

AE01CE – Tail number: 62-4134 – Boeing RC135W Stratotanker SIGINT – US Air Force

You also can see the latest detected military and other aircraft of interest and the pick of the day or search my database on foxtrotcharlie.ovh.

SAM727 flying over Guangzhou with Secretary Pompeo

Today (2020-10-30), the Boeing C-32A with tail 99-0003 was spotted by my trackers over Guangzhou with the CallSign SAM727.

A quick search shows a departure from Hanoi, and a current position over Japan. Probably used by Secretary Pompeo who was visiting Hanoi yesterday.

G-IRTY Spitfire flying over Hong Kong in 2019

One of the most surprising catch of 2019 was for sure seeing a Spitfire in my new aircraft list! I had to check if that was correct or a mistake somewhere in the database of Mode S codes I collected.

It turned out it was the real thing! The Silver Spitfire was doing The Longest Flight, for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. A 30 legs, 22,138 miles trip around the world.

These guys rock!

Buzzfeed trains an AI to find spy planes

An interesting article about how Buzzfeed is training an Artificial Intelligence (AI) to detect planes circling over San Francisco (mainly law enforcement and other contractors).

That’s an interesting direction… I will have a look at how to do that and detect anomalies in trajectories on my trackers. I expect to see more planes circling due to delay in the local airports (Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou) than spy planes!

More details here on how they use a Random Forests algorithm to classify potential candidates. I found Random Forests libraries in Python, so that definitely going in my to do list.

Another F16 from Belgian Air Force for my tracker in Briancon

My tracker in Briancon has detected another F16 from the Belgian Air Component recently (that’s how the Belgian Air Force is called).

The aircraft detected so far have the tail numbers FA-87, FA-57, FA-133, FA-130, FA-101 and FA-72.

Belgian F16 are regularly flying over France.