AirForces Monthly - April 2019

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

NEWS SPECIAL: Warhawks in the sun
The US Air Force’s 480th Fighter Squadron sent 18 aircraft and 320 airmen from Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany to sunny Portugal for three weeks this winter. Paulo Mata joined the ‘Warhawks’ at Monte Real.

Flankers on the front line
At one time, Ukraine operated the second largest Su-27 fleet in the world; today it numbers 55 aircraft organised within two brigades. Vladimir Trendafilovski looks at the career of the supermanoeuvrable fighter that remains the backbone of the country’s air defences.

Keeping the ‘legacy’ alive – Part one: US operators
Though a number of air arms are in the process of phasing out their first-generation (F/A-18A through to D) Hornets, others are aiming to keep these ageing multirole fighters in service for some years to come. In the first of a two-part feature, Jon Lake looks at the US Navy and Marine Corps side of the ‘legacy’ story.

Waterkloof’s weightlifters
Last June, 28 Squadron of the South African Air Force celebrated its 75th anniversary. For 55 of those years, the unit has operated just one aircraft type – the C-130 Hercules. Traditionally a transport unit, today the squadron has a much more varied mission set, as Paul Dunn explains.

TORNADO TALES: From the back seat
In the latest of AFM’s series of features celebrating the career of the Tornado GR as it nears the end of its RAF service, Thomas Newdick speaks to two of the final navigators to fly the ‘Tonka’ – Flt Lts Phil McGlone and Sam Baker.

Peloponnese pilot school
The town of Kalamata is home to the Hellenic Air Force’s Air Training Wing, employing T-2 Buckeyes and T-6 Texan IIs. Dino van Doorn, Bas Stubert and Hans van der Wilt witnessed operations at the airfield.

Flying into trouble?
When reports emerged earlier this year that the RAF was sending 100 pilots to be trained at a private flying academy, questions began to be asked about whether the service was getting value for money from its current aircrew training pipeline. Tim Ripley assesses the status of the UK’s Military Flying Training System project.

Defending the Balearics
During the summer period – and the height of the firefighting campaign in Spain’s Balearic Islands – a single CL-215T of the air force’s 43 Grupo is deployed to Mallorca. Carlo Kuit and Paul Kievit caught up with a unit that’s increasingly in demand for firefighting tasks across the country.

Back at sea
After an 18-month break, the French carrier air wing was reunited with the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle which came out of refit last September. Henri-Pierre Grolleau joined them.


INTEL REPORT: ITAR – Preserving America’s edge
A succession of treaties, including ITAR, have attempted to restrict the export of US-built military hardware. But as Alan Warnes explains, there are many other options, and these can have a significant effect on the US military aerospace business.

Ian Harding and Kevin Wills report from Exercise Merlin Storm, the final test for new pilots and aircrew assigned to the UK’s Commando Helicopter Force.

AFM’s letters page.

As the UK announces plans for HMS Queen Elizabeth’s first deployment, Air Power Association President, Air Marshal (ret’d) Greg Bagwell CB CBE, looks at one of the most enduring symbols of air and maritime strength – the aircraft carrier.

FORCE REPORT: Ghana Air Force
The Ghana Armed Forces possess a small but capable air force. The key to its success is training, as Patrick Dirksen and Frank Mink found out during a recent visit to the country.

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

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