Combat Aircraft - January 2018

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IN THE NEWS

HEADLINE NEWS
Raptors make first strike in Afghanistan and Textron AirLand Scorpion targets the Middle East

US NEWS
Northrop Grumman walks away from another major program and IOMAX Archangel Block 2 is launched, plus all the latest unit and deployment news

WORLD NEWS
News from Europe and around the globe, including Indian Air Force road operations, plus all the latest military losses

FEATURE ARTICLE

FOURTH BUT FIRST
While the US Air Force was busy celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2017, the 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson AFB in North Carolina was marking its 75th. James Deboer flies with the USAF’s largest F-15E Strike Eagle wing, a unit that never stands still

FEATURES

THE BRIEFING
Combat Aircraft’s regular column by Robert Beckhusen, taking a look behind the headlines — this month evaluating the US Air Force pilot crisis

WAKE ISLAND AVENGERS
Every squadron has a unique tale of its history and heritage, and none more so than VMFA-211. Steeped in battle honors and now leading from the front in the F-35B program, Jamie Hunter and Richard Collens find that the ‘Avengers’ have an incredible story to tell…

RISE OF THE MIGHTY DRAGON
The Chengdu J-20A stealth fighter was officially commissioned into PLAAF service on September 28 this year. Andreas Rupprecht looks at the aircraft’s history so far

POLAR EXPRESS
There are very few places as hostile and challenging to fly as the Arctic. From April to August each year, the New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing heads to Greenland and does just that, as Neil Dunridge reports

END GAME?
In September, fighters of the so-called Islamic State mobilized a squadron of ‘drone bombers’ in a last-ditch bid to hold off defeat in eastern Syria. Tim Ripley reports on innovative uses of air power in a 21st-century conflict

TRAINING ‘HAVOCS’ FOR RUSSIA
Babak Taghvaee details how the Russian Aerospace Forces are preparing to receive their first examples of the new Mi-28UB — a combat training helicopter based on the now familiar Night Hunter gunship

HEROES IN TRAINING PART TWO: GOLD RUSH
In this second part of our coverage of US Navy pilot training, Rich Cooper reports from Training Air Wing One at NAS Meridian, Mississippi, on the process of training future naval aviators to land aboard a carrier and earn their ‘Wings of Gold’

KNIGHTS OF THE NEGEV
Stephan de Bruijn and Marco Dijkshoorn venture into the Negev desert for Exercise ‘Blue Flag 2017’ at Ovda air base, an event that attracted a wide range of participants, including a first ever Luftwaffe combat aircraft deployment to Israel

CUTTING EDGE
Our monthly column reporting from the front line of aerospace

FLASHBACK
Combat Aircraft’s new regular feature looking at squadrons and types that are gone but not forgotten — this month it’s the EA-7Ls of VAQ-34, the appropriately named ‘Flashbacks’