Combat Aircraft - February 2018

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IN THE NEWS

HEADLINE NEWS
Exercise ‘Vigilant Ace’ in South Korea, Qatar firms up fighter deals and Israel marks initial operational capability for F-35I

US NEWS
First KC-46 Pegasus for USAF, Reapers for Tyndall AFB, plus all the latest unit and deployment news

WORLD NEWS
News from Europe and around the globe, including Canadian plans for acquisition of Australian Hornets, plus all the latest military losses

FEATURE ARTICLE

BLACK SHEEP - Getting the job done…
Supporting troops in the field is the central role of the US Marine Corps’ tactical aviation community. Jamie Hunter meets VMA-214 ‘Black Sheep’, a Harrier squadron with a mission that spans 75 years and one that is set to continue well into the future

FEATURES

THE BRIEFING
Combat Aircraft’s regular column by Robert Beckhusen, taking a look behind the headlines — this month evaluating the US Air Force’s ability to deal with missile threats

CALLSIGN ‘BERSERK’
Air Support Operations Squadrons provide tactical command and control to integrate joint firepower, especially attack aviation, in support of army ground operations, as Dr Richard Porcelli details

TEHRAN FLEXES ITS MUSCLES
Babak Taghvaee reports on the third consecutive year of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force’s ‘Devotees of Velayat’s Territory’ exercise in Isfahan

GROOM LAKE ‘VIPER’ BREAKS COVER
What looks like a nondescript F-16D is actually a ‘Viper’ making a very rare appearance. Combat Aircraft explains the aircraft’s role at the top-secret Groom Lake airbase on the Nevada Test and Training Range

FORTY YEARS OF BELGIAN FALCONS
As Belgium gets ready to decide on a new fighter, Jos Schoofs looks back at the prestigious career of the F-16 with this small but capable air arm

WORLD-CLASS ‘FLANKER’?
Piotr Butowski examines the Sukhoi Su-35, a fighter that is gaining increasing global attention as it proves its worth in Russian military service

GLORY DAYS: UNSUNG HEROES
Warren E. Thompson recalls the little-known combat exploits of the US Air Force’s Lockheed F-104 Starfighter fleet, which enjoyed two successful periods deployed at the height of the war in South-east Asia

VAMPIRES — WITH ‘THE RIGHT STUFF’
Traditionally associated with US Air Force flight-testing, Edwards AFB, California is known as the home of ‘The Right Stuff’. Today, that important test work continues, and for the F-35 program it brings together a raft of operators. Jamie Hunter visits the detachment from VX-9 ‘Vampires’

A SHOW OF FORCE
The Dubai Air Show, which ran from November 12-16, drew a strong contingent of US military aircraft deployed to the region. Babak Taghvaee attended what was both a showcase of American hardware and a useful chance to catch up on recent operations

GETTING TO GRIPS WITH THE ‘BUFF’
Despite its age, the venerable B-52H is one of the most important aircraft in the US military inventory. Hans Drost explains how teaching new air force pilots to get to grips with this lumbering giant is still no easy feat…

CUTTING EDGE
Our monthly column reporting from the front line of aerospace technology, by David Axe

FLASHBACK
Combat Aircraft’s new feature looking at squadrons and types that are gone but not forgotten — this month it’s the RF-8Gs of VFP-206 ‘Hawkeyes’, the US Navy’s last F-8 Crusader squadron