Combat Aircraft - February 2017

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Headline News
US military programs in the ¬ ring line and first F-35Is arrive in Israel

United States News
Seymour Johnson F-15Es start radar upgrades, T-50A begins flying in the US, plus all the latest unit and deployment news

World News
News from Europe and around the globe, including first F-15SA deliveries to Saudi Arabia, plus all the latest military losses

RED TAILS VERSUS RAPTORS
James Deboer flies with the 100th Fighter Squadron’s F-16C/D Fighting Falcons during Exercise ‘Sentry Savannah’ as they go head-to-head with F-22 Raptors

USAF F¬35… WHAT NEXT?
The F-35A was declared ‘combat-ready’ on August 2, 2016, as the US Air Force achieved initial operating capability at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Jamie Hunter asks what lies ahead for the F-35 in USAF service, and how the program is shaping up

COMING TO AMERICA
US Marine Corps F-35Bs head back to sea, this time aboard the USS America, for the third phase of developmental test and a proof-of-concept demonstration. Jamie Hunter reports

LIGHTNING LOW DOWN
An F-35A Lightning II of the Royal Netherlands Air Force’s 323 Test and Evaluation Squadron photographed by Frank Crébas/Bluelife Aviation during a low-altitude mission from Edwards AFB, California

REAPER’S REIGN
Ted Carlson/Fotodynamics meets the ‘Grizzlies’ of the California Air National Guard’s 163rd Wing, which previously flew the MQ-1B Predator, and became the first ANG organization to transition from the MQ-1 to the far more capable MQ-9 Reaper

EXERCISE ‘SALAMANDRE’
This year’s edition of the ‘Salamandre’ combat search and rescue (CSAR) exercise, took place in France from October 1 to November 18, as Jan Kraak reports

SURVIVAL OF THE ‘FITTERS’
Rich Cooper/Centre of Aviation Photography visits the last Su-22 ‘Fitter’ base in Europe — the Polish Air Force’s 21. BLT at Swidwin — as well as going on exercise and reporting on how the fleet is kept alive and kicking through the WZL-2 plant at Bydgoszcz

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

HYAKURI: 82 - TEMPLE OF THE PHANTOM
On November 27 the Japan Air Self-Defense Force celebrated the 50th anniversary of Hyakuri Air Base, which is now home to the country’s final front-line Phantoms. Benoît Denet provides a timely update on these stunning aircraft.

CHICO THE GUNFIGHTER
Things were getting ‘hot’ in South Vietnam in the spring of 1972. The North Vietnamese invasion across the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) caught the American and South Vietnamese militaries o  guard. Warren E. Thompson discovers how the US Air Force needed to come up with a response quickly. Its name was ‘Chico’…

END OF THE ROAD
December 2016 will be remembered as the month that saw the end of US Air Force F-4 Phantom II operations. Neil Dunridge visits the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron (ATRS) Detachment 1 at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, as the USAF bids a final farewell to the mighty F-4