Combat Aircraft - August 2018

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IN THE NEWS

HEADLINE NEWS
‘Dambusters’ back in the UK, Su-57 fires mysterious missile and 300 not out for the F-35

US NEWS
New F-35 missile test update, plus all the latest unit and deployment news

WORLD NEWS
News from Europe and around the globe, including a Canadian Hornet update, plus all the latest military losses

FEATURES

SPECIAL REPORT: CZECH MATES?
Aero Vodochody has set out its stall to offer either its L-39 Next-Generation or an upgraded L-159 for the US military’s light attack needs. Is the US ready to take such an offer seriously?

‘DAMBUSTERS’ RETURN HOME
On June 6, the British Lightning program took a major step forward as No 617 Squadron ‘Dambusters’ brought its first aircraft back to RAF Marham, Norfolk

BEHIND ENEMY LINES
The 12th edition of the Air-centric Personnel Recovery Operatives Course (APROC) was held at Gilze-Rijen air base in the Netherlands between May 21 and June 6, as Stephan de Bruijn reports

FORMIDABLE ‘FANTASMAS’
Aerial gunships strike fear into the hearts of even the most battle-hardened soldiers. Cees-Jan van der Ende and Cristobal Soto Pino sneak into the Colombian jungle to meet the AC-47T ‘Fantasmas’ that fight the guerrilla groups and drug cartels

ISRAEL’S LEADERSHIP FORUM
Yissachar Ruas reports from the Israeli Air Force commanders’ conference, which afforded senior air force officers a chance to fly in the new M-346 Lavi advanced trainers

ON THE PROWL IN POLAND
The latest NATO Tiger Meet was held at Krzesiny Air Base near Poznan, Poland. This year’s exercise ran from May 14-25 and it attracted 22 squadrons from 13 countries. Krzysztof Kuska was there, with photos by Piotr Łysakowski

GLORY DAYS: DAGGERS OVER VIETNAM
The Convair F-102 Delta Dagger was one of the first USAF combat aircraft to be deployed to Vietnam, yet its impressive war record is often overlooked. Warren E. Thompson charts the type’s service in South-east Asia

HOLDING THE LINE
Jamie Hunter visits Al Dhafra in the United Arab Emirates, home of the US Air Force’s 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, which is a central pillar in the ongoing Operation ‘Inherent Resolve’ and missions in the region

RUSSIA’S HOT SHOTS
The Russian military’s regular live fire exercise provided an excellent opportunity for Dmitriy Pichugin to see the country’s latest hardware in action

SPIRIT OF CHESAPEAKE
Ivan Voukadinov joins the US-French joint training operation off the Virginia coast, the culmination of which resulted in French Navy fighters flying from the US Navy aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush

CALIFORNIA’S HEAVIES
The latest version of the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy has greatly improved mission-readiness across the airlifter fleet. Ashley Wallace talks to members of the 22nd Airlift Squadron about life on the Travis AFB flight line

RUSSIAN TACTICAL BOMBERS
In the first of a two-part review of strike aircraft in Russian service, Piotr Butowski looks at the Su-24 ‘Fencer’ and Su-25 ‘Frogfoot’

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 an F-111F Aardvark from Cannon AFB