Some images recorded on board the aircraft carrier 'Juan Carlos I' L-61

The US shows the night operations of the Spanish Harrier II in the Baltic Sea

From June 7 to 20, the Baltic Sea is the scene of the important NATO exercise Baltops 24, with Spanish participation.

The flight of Spanish EF-18 and Harrier II fighters with a B-52 bomber over the Baltic
The Spanish Navy together with the US Marines in the BALTOPS 24 exercise in Latvia

In addition to the participation of fighters from the Vilkas Detachment of the Spanish Air Force, currently deployed in Šiauliai, Lithuania, the Spanish Navy has deployed its Group of Expeditionary Combat Dedalo 24 in the Baltic Sea, a group of ships led by the aircraft carrier "Juan Carlos I" L-61, which carries with it EAV-8B+ Harrier II Plus fighters of the 9th Squadron and AB-212 "Gato" helicopters of the 3rd Squadron (these on their last mission before their retirement from service, which will take place in July).

Yesterday, the United States Department of Defense published a videoshowing the operations of the Spanish Harrier II in the Baltic Seaaboard the L-61, including images of night operations, both shots on the flight deck and takeoffs. These are images recorded on June 12:

You can see here some captures from this video, which begins with the flight deck shot of a Harrier II at dusk. The approach is made from the side of the ship and diagonally, as indicated by the markings on the flight deck to the pilots.

A Harrier II preparing for takeoff on the flight deck of L-61 during sunset. On the left we see the island of this aircraft carrier. The part of the island that protrudes to the right in the image is the Primary Flight, from where air operations on the flight deck are controlled.

One of the Harrier IIs at takeoff. The plane has its nozzles slightly inclined downwards, since takeoffs are made taking advantage of the STOVL (short takeoff and vertical landing) capability of these planes.

Here we see an enlargement of the image that I have put at the head of this article. The pilot has night vision goggles attached to his helmet, although he has them raised. This image also shows us the lines on the cockpit canopy: this is a detonating cord to break the canopy in case the pilot is forced to activate his ejection seat to jump out of the plane.

A night takeoff of a Harrier II on the L-61. There is still some clarity on the horizon, but the flight deck is only visible by its lights and those of the plane.

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