Combat Aircraft - May 2018

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IN THE NEWS

HEADLINE NEWS
VMFA-121 ‘Green Knights’ deploy with F-35B, plus B-21 testing to take place at Edwards AFB

US NEWS
US defence budget explained and USAF launches Nellis adversary competition

WORLD NEWS
News from around the globe, including Canada’s announcement of its future fighter candidates, plus all the latest military losses

FEATURES

THE BRIEFING
Combat Aircraft’s regular column by Robert Beckhusen, taking a look behind the headlines — this month detailing recent aerial intercepts

THE PILOT CRISIS
Joseph Zeman examines the US Air Force’s pilot retention dilemma, and provides an opinion on what needs to be done…

F-35 — OUT OF THE SHADOWS
The Royal Netherlands Air Force has been flying a pair of F-35As from Edwards AFB since January 2015. Frank Crébas/Bluelife Aviation finds out how the journey has been to date and about how the Lightning II shapes up in dog fights

LANCERS IN THE DEPOT
At Tinker AFB, Michael Keaveney sees how the USAF maintains its B-1B Lancer fleet, a type that attracts one of its biggest servicing bills

EAGLE AT FULL THROTTLE
Jamie Hunter reviews the status of the F-15 Eagle and its many operators, and finds a program that is looking towards new orders

BACK TO THE BALTICS
The Aeronautica Militare has once again deployed Eurofighters to the Baltic to cover the enduring air policing mission in the region amid renewed tensions, as Giovanni Colla and Remo Guidi report

PRO’S ZONE
Often overshadowed by carrier-based aviation, land-based maritime patrol and reconnaissance is every bit as important for the US Navy. Ivan Voukadinov visits NAS Jacksonville and VP-30 ‘Pro’s Nest’ — a squadron that’s been in the training business for 58 years

‘FLANKERS’ AND TANKERS
Dmitriy Pichugin had exclusive access to the recent air-to-air refuelling training conducted by the Russian Navy

‘STINGERS’ IN THE BALTICS
At the beginning of January, a dozen 112th FS F-16s deployed from Toledo to Ämari Air Base in Estonia as part of a Theater Security Package in support of Operation ‘Atlantic Resolve’. Giovanni Colla and Remo Guidi were granted exclusive access to their deployment

THE ‘RED FLAG’ EVOLUTION
Norman Graf attends Exercise ‘Red Flag’ and finds how planners remain mindful of national strategies as this important exercise seeks to stay relevant

NEXT-GEN TRAINING AUSTRALIAN-STYLE
A fresh approach to training centred on the potent Pilatus PC-21 is giving the Royal Australian Air Force the edge it needs to usher in a new generation of pilots, as Michael Serenc discovers

OHIO ‘STINGERS’
The 112th FS has been celebrating its 100th anniversary while maintaining a busy schedule both at home and on the road as one of the Air National Guard’s premier fighter squadrons. Exclusive photos by Jim Haseltine

GAME-CHANGING COMMAND AND CONTROL?
Saab has flown its all-new ‘swing-role surveillance’ aircraft, the impressive GlobalEye, as Jamie Hunter reports from Linköping

RUSSIAN FIGHTERS
In the final instalment of our review of fighter aircraft in Russian service, we turn to the Su-33, Su-35 and Su-57

CUTTING EDGE
Combat Aircraft’s monthly column reporting from the front line of aerospace technology, by David Axe

FLASHBACK
Our regular feature looking at squadrons and types that are gone but not forgotten — this month it’s the turn of VF-1 ‘Wolfpack’ and the F-14A Tomcat