Combat Aircraft - May 2013

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FLIGHT TEST FOR THE BUNDESWEHR
Dr Stefan Petersen joins the German military flight test centre, the Wehrtechnische Dienststelle 61 at Manching, which operates a diverse fleet of aircraft drawn from all three branches of the German armed forces

EXTENDING THE VIPER
Even before delays dogged the F-35 programme, the US Air Force had recognised a need to standardise and extend the service of its vast F-16 fleet. Jamie Hunter reports on a surprisingly aged force that needs constant care and
attention

IN FOCUS: C-130J SUPER HERCULES Part 1
In this first of a two-part feature, Tom Kaminski describes Lockheed Martin’s C-130J as it continues the Hercules’ impressive legacy with the US Air Force

A DECADE OF DUTCH VIPERS IN AFGHANISTAN
In October 2012 the F-16s of the Royal Netherlands Air Force marked exactly 10 years since they began flying operations over Afghanistan, as Frank Visser details

EXERCISE REPORT: IRON FIST
The Indian Air Force staged its first large-scale day/night exercise from 19-22 February. Above all, the event served to demonstrate IAF livefiring prowess at Rajasthan’s Pokharan firing range. Simon Watson enjoys exclusive and rare
access

Ultimate Test
Jamie Hunter travels to Nellis AFB, Nevada, to witness the debut by RAF Typhoons on exercise ‘Red Flag’, as the aircraft and personnel of the British fighter front line are put to the ultimate test working alongside USAF F-22 Raptors. Jamie Hunter

SABREHAWKS
Since its establishment in 1972, Training Squadron Eight Six (VT-86), the ‘Sabrehawks’, has trained US Navy and Marine Corps strike fighter Naval Flight Officers and their counterparts from around the world. Neil Pearson visited Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, to learn how the unit functions today

GLORY DAYS: ‘THROUGH THE 90 — SELECT SIDEWINDER!’
Lt Col (Retd) John Scanlan recalls Naval Flight Officer training with VT-86 ‘Sabrehawks’ — 1980s style

EXERCISE REPORT: REAL THAW
Ricardo Abrantes and Helder Afonso report on the annual exercise organised and hosted by the Portuguese Air Force, which this year provided one of the last opportunities for USAFE A-10s to hone their skills

EXERCISE REPORT: DESERT DUSK 2013
The Italian Air Force returned to Israel’s southern Negev desert earlier this year, bringing Tornado and AMX fighter-bombers to participate in the latest edition of Exercise ‘Desert Dusk’ . Ofer Zidon was there

THE MOST NOBLE MISSION
‘That others may live’ is not just an aphorism for the US Air Force’s rescue forces: it is an absolute way of life. The 563rd Rescue Group directs flying operations for the only activeduty rescue wing dedicated to combat search and rescue, as Gary Wetzel discovers at Davis-Monthan AFB in Arizona

CUTTING EDGE
Combat Aircraft’s monthly column reporting from the front line of aerospace technology, by David Axe

HEADLINE NEWS
First F-15SA for Saudi Arabia makes maiden flight, new F-35 test report includes pilot concerns

US NEWS
Super Tucano selected for LAS, new capabilities for Nellis aggressors and latest F-35 news

UK NEWS
RAF Leuchars to close, UK gears up for A400M and Drop 2 rolled out for RAF Typhoons

EUROPE NEWS
Denmark re-launches fighter competition, 100th German Eurofighter delivered and first production A400M flies

WORLD NEWS
Australia closes in on additional Super Hornets, Japan conducts missile trials and Thailand’s ‘Cobra Gold’ exercise