AirForces Monthly - July 2019

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A brighter future for Britain’s fighters?
Against a backdrop of tightening budgets and limited resources, considerable planning has gone into the British combat air equation to ensure capability well into this century. Key facets include the transition to the Project ‘Centurion’-standard Typhoon and the stealthy F-35B Lightning, and the rebirth of the carrier air arm, as Thomas Newdick explains.

‘Centurions’ on Shader
The Royal Air Force is four years into a campaign as part of the coalition to defeat so-called Islamic State. It’s a mission that’s evolved considerably and which is now headed by the ‘Centurion’ Typhoon, as Jamie Hunter reports.

Building the Lightning Force
Wg Cdr Scott ‘Mox’ Williams, the UK’s senior national representative at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina, is preparing to return home to the UK and establish the Lightning Force’s next unit – No 207 Squadron – charged with training British pilots on the fifth generation fighter. Thomas Newdick spoke to him.

Typhoon on the front line
A photo essay of the RAF Typhoon FGR4 – current backbone of the UK’s combat air fleet.

Back to the boat
As the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth embarks on its next series of sea trials, Thomas Newdick spoke with Cdr James Blackmore, the warship’s Commander Air, to see what’s in store for the F-35B Lightning when it goes on board again later this year.

Team Tempest
The UK may still be working to improve the capabilities of the RAF’s Typhoon – the backbone of the country’s current combat air fleet – and the fifth generation F-35B is only just beginning to reach the front line, but work is already under way to develop the next generation of fighter.

Order of battle


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

Exercise Lightning Dawn
F-35Bs from the RAF’s No 617 Squadron are at RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, for Exercise Lightning Dawn – the first overseas deployment for the fighter in UK service, as Thomas Newdick reports.

Tiger tamers
Under the motto Juventus Non Sine Pinnis – The Young Shall Have Wings – No 2 Operational Conversion Unit trains future fighter pilots for the Royal Australian Air Force. Phil Buckley visited RAAF Base Williamtown, New South Wales, to find out more.

France’s ‘flying frigate’
The French Navy’s Atlantique 2s are veritable warships of the skies, capable of searching, identifying and prosecuting all types of sea and land-based targets. Bastien Otelli reports on the ‘Frégate volante’ (‘flying frigate’) and its sailors at Lann-Bihoué.

Argentina remembers
The Argentine Air Force recently commemorated the 37th anniversary of its baptism of fire – the 1982 conflict in the Falklands, known in Argentina as the Malvinas War. Esteban G Brea reports from Buenos Aires province.

Postcard from Vietnam
AFM contributor Alan Worsley recently visited Vietnam, where he witnessed daily operations by the Su-22 Fitter strike-fighter force and other types in service at Da Nang air base, home to the 372 Division of the Vietnam People’s Air Force.

Tatoi Tecnams
The Hellenic Air Force was due to start primary flying training with an entirely new aircraft this spring, as Peter ten Berg found out.

Canada’s mission in Mali
Canada’s new forward aeromedical evacuation capability is making a difference for UN peacekeepers in West Africa, as Elan Head discovers.

Carpathian Warhawks
The Romanian Air Force’s latest fighter, the F-16, has now adopted quick reaction alert duties and the fleet is working towards full operational capability. Volkert Jan van den Berg, Marinus Dirk Tabak, Jack Bosma and Ton van Schaik visited Borcea-Feteşti air base to find out more.

Atlas on the rise
The Luftwaffe is making progress with the introduction of the Airbus A400M transport aircraft. Since last year the airlifter’s tactical capabilities have been significantly enhanced and the number of flight hours increased. Dr Stefan Petersen investigates.


INTEL REPORT: Turkey’s indigenous revolution
Turkey’s increasingly strained relationship with the US – partly the result of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s continued plans to acquire Russian-made S-400 air defence systems – hung over this year’s International Defence Industry Fair.

Despite being the smallest country in Central America, El Salvador has an air force with the potential to match its neighbours and meet internal requirements.

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

Air operations over the last two decades have showcased a number of technologies and capabilities that are now far better understood, thanks to their increased exposure to the public. However, signals intelligence is an exception to the rule, as Air Power Association President, Air Marshal (ret’d) Greg Bagwell CB CBE, explains.

SURVEY: Su-25 operators - Europe and the Middle East
In the latest of our series, Alexander Mladenov examines Europe’s final surviving Frogfoots in Bulgaria, as well as the turbulent service history of the Su-25 in Iran and Iraq.

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

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