AirForces Monthly - March 2019

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

NEWS SPECIAL: The last Tornados
The Royal Air Force has been preparing to bid farewell to what is arguably its most significant post-war aircraft type – the unmistakeable swing-wing Tornado. Thomas Newdick spoke to some of the last crews active on the Tornado GR Force.

Luftwaffe under test
The Luftwaffe assessed its national defence capabilities in the air arm’s largest exercise of recent years. Dr Stefan Petersen was there.

Finding Germany’s future fighter
Many commentators have over-simplified the debate surrounding Germany’s search for a replacement for its 89 ageing Tornado fighter-bombers, due to be retired from 2025. Jon Lake looks behind the headlines.

RAF Chinooks getting dirty at El Centro
Joe Copalman experienced Vortex Warrior – one of several type-specific desert environmental qualification exercises run by the UK’s Joint Helicopter Command in the United States.

Argentine Air Force on ice
Each year, units of the Argentine Air Force head to the Patagonian Andes to practise flying in an environment that closely simulates operations in the Antarctic. Horacio J Clariá joined them.

‘Team Argo’ transfers to Lightning
The US Navy’s first frontline F-35C squadron recently received its safe-for-flight operations certification, after independently conducting carrier qualifications with the Lightning II. Patrick Roegies investigates.

Last Samurais
The Japan Air Self-Defense Force is one of the last operators of the F-4 Phantom II. As time marches on for these classic fighters, Rich Cooper takes a look at the current drawdown plans ahead of final retirement and transition to the F-35 Lightning II.

Rafale versus the slow-movers
The Armée de l’Air is increasingly relying on reserve air units to help teach combat pilots to intercept slow-movers. Henri-Pierre Grolleau investigates what is proving to be an efficient way of providing realistic training at reduced cost.

TORNADO TALES: Being the boss
AFM continues its series of features celebrating the career of the ever-popular Tornado GR as it nears the end of its RAF service. In this issue, Jamie Hunter meets Air Commodore Ian Gale, who talks about his time leading No 31 Squadron ‘Goldstars’.


INTEL REPORT: Europe’s fighter frenzy
As a new wave of fighter competitions takes shape across Europe, Alan Warnes assesses the different nations’ requirements.

FORCE REPORT: Italy’s airborne law-enforcers
Dino Marcellino investigates the air arm of Italy’s Guardia di Finanza – a militarised police force with almost 100 fixed- and rotary-wing assets in its ranks for a range of law-enforcement and rescue missions.

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

Air Power Association President, Air Marshal (ret’d) Greg Bagwell CB CBE, turns his attention to one of the most hazardous missions faced by modern fighter pilots – suppression or destruction of enemy air defences.

SURVEY: Su-25 operators – Former Soviet states Part 3
In the latest of our fleet survey series, Alexander Mladenov concludes his analysis of Frogfoot operators among the former Soviet states by focusing on Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

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

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