AirForces Monthly - June 2018

£4.99 (Approx $6.06 or €5.47)



A tough act to follow
AFM’s regular columnist, Air Power Association President, Air Marshal (Ret’d) Greg Bagwell CB, CBE, introduces our special coverage of the Royal Air Force’s Tornado GR Force as it prepares to call time on an unmatched combat record.

Cold War warrior
When first fielded by the RAF, the Tornado GR1’s primary responsibility was to provide a credible nuclear deterrent against the Warsaw Pact forces massed to the east. RAF Germany was the tip of the spear, as Air Marshal (Ret’d) Greg Bagwell CB, CBE recounts to Thomas Newdick.

Baptism of fire - Operation Granby
Jamie Hunter recalls the first time the RAF Tornado GR1 was used in anger - above Iraq in 1991 during the first Gulf War - in what were some of the most daring and intense combat missions since World War Two.

Bombers over the Balkans
A new Balkan crisis that erupted in the province of Kosovo in the late 1990s saw the Tornado GR1 thrown into battle again - and for the first time in Europe. The then wing commander at RAF Brüggen, Greg Bagwell, discusses the Tornado’s campaign with Thomas Newdick.

Back to Iraq
In March 2003 the Tornado GR4 Force was in action again over Iraq as part of the US-led coalition that invaded the country and quickly overthrew Saddam Hussein’s regime. Thomas Newdick reflects on Telic GR4 missions with Pete Beilby, then a 24-year-old flying officer.

Tackling the Taliban
Between 2009 and 2014, the Tornado GR4 Force was committed to the campaign in Afghanistan under Operation Herrick. Jamie Hunter recounts a complex mission for the GR4 squadrons.

Operation Ellamy – Libyan action
Jamie Hunter reviews the Tornado’s air operations over Libya in 2011, which once again included some significant milestones.

Last blast
It’s fitting that the Tornado GR4 will likely remain on operations until its retirement. Operation Shader over Iraq and Syria has bookended its impressive combat record, and it will continue as the RAF looks towards the type’s impending withdrawal from service, as Jamie Hunter explains.


AFM’s opinion on the hot topics in military aviation.

Aiming higher
Operating under the motto ‘Semper ad alta’ - ‘Always higher’ - the French Army’s 3rd Combat Helicopter Regiment has its home in the far northeast of France.But as Oliver Jonischkeit discovers, half its crews are normally deployed on missions around the globe.

‘Tango’ Tweets
Colombia, together with Pakistan, is one of the final military operators of the classic T-37. Cristobal Soto Pino and Cees-Jan van der Ende report exclusively from Palanquero, the last bastion of the Tweet in the Americas.

40 years of excellence
Salvador Mafé Huertas reports on Europe’s answer to TOPGUN, including an exclusive interview with Colonel Luis Villar Coloma, the Tactical Leadership Programme commander.

Carpathian Falcons
The MiG-29s based at Ivano-Frankivs’k International Airport are tasked with defending the skies over western Ukraine. Vladimir Trendafilovski reports from the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains.

Stingers at Spang
Spangdahlem Air Base hosted a Combat Readiness Exercise in March, when ‘Vipers’ from the Ohio Air National Guard’s 112th Fighter Squadron touched down in Germany. Adrian Stuermer and Dalibor Ankovic were there.

Inzpired exercise
Paul E Eden visited RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire, for an exclusive oversight of last year’s second Exercise Cobra Warrior, discovering how contractor Inzpire works within No 92 Squadron in a prime expression of the RAF’s ‘Whole Force’ approach.

View to a kill Part 2
In the concluding part of their short-range air-to-air missiles feature, Douglas Barrie and Piotr Butowski assess the current offerings from China, Israel, Japan, Russia and South Africa.

Regular Features

News by Region
All the world’s military aviation news, by region.

INTEL REPORT: Bang! You’re alive
Ejection seats have saved thousands of aircrew’s lives over the years. Alan Warnes visited Martin-Baker in Denham, Buckinghamshire, to see how it’s maintained its position as a world-leader in escape systems for more than 70 years.

Russian warplanes once again conducted live weapons training over a temporary air-to-air gunnery range above Lake Ladoga near St Petersburg. Andrey Zinchuk and Alexander Mladenov report from northwest Russia.

SURVEY: European maritime patrol aircraft Part 5
AFM’s correspondents conclude their round-up of the maritime patrol aircraft fleets of Europe’s NATO and Partnership for Peace members. This month, the focus turns to Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine and the UK.

Book reviews
AFM evaluates some of the latest offerings in aviation literature.

AFM’s letters page.

COMMANDER’S UPDATE BRIEFING: Light attack aircraft
Air Power Association President, Air Marshal (Ret’d) Greg Bagwell CB, CBE weighs up the pros and cons of light attack aircraft.

Dave Allport details the world’s most recent military accidents.

FORCE REPORT: Looking West Part 1
Following Croatia’s decision to choose the Israeli F-16 Barak as its new fighter, Antonio Prlenda assesses the current state of the Croatian Air Force and its aim to modernise and fully Westernise its fleet.

Coming up
See what’s featuring in your AFM next month.