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AirForces Monthly September 2016

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In the September issue of AirForces Monthly (AFM) we look at how Britain is taking a leading role introducing the F-35 Lightning II into service in Europe. Alan Warnes explains the UK’s plans and prospects for both the RAF and Fleet Air Arm. To accompany this feature, AFM’s regular contributors provide the views of Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Turkey who’ll also be operating the jet this side of the Atlantic.

Joe Copalman reviews the USMC’s unsung hero – the RQ-7B UAV. The versatile drone continues to provide vital support over the battlefields in Afghanistan.

Our Force Report by Alexander Mladenov this month looks at Russia’s Southern Military District, which is a territorial force serving on the front line within the Black Sea Region. As tensions rise with the West, these squadrons are busier than ever.

The A-10 is staying in service – at least for the time being. To celebrate Joe Copalman headed to Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona to witness 13 Warthog squadrons in action for Hawgsmoke 2016. His report is accompanied by dramatic images from the nearby gunnery range.

Our three Exercise Reports this month cover Atlas 2016 which witnessed Moroccan and Spanish Air Force F-5s interdicting bridges defended by EF-18As. Işik 2016, a Turkish-run CSAR exercise involving Azerbaijan, Hungary and Royal Saudi Air Force helicopters. And lastly, the Russia-only edition of the tradition gunnery competition Aviadarts. This event involved all the major Russian Air and Space branches.

The Turkish Air Force is producing NATO-standard pilots to meet its own requirements and graduating international students from the Multinational Military Flight Crew Training Center. Marcel Bos and Melchior Timmers report on this new venture.

As always, AFM’s Dave Allport brings you the latest military aviation news, which is extended for this month to include all the latest information from Farnborough and the military coup in Turkey.