Combat Aircraft - September 2018

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IN THE NEWS
HEADLINE NEWS
RAF 100 ¬ flypast, Russia orders first Su-57s and F-16 order update
US NEWS
Boeing sets out KC-46 delivery plans, COD Osprey ordered and all the latest unit and deployment news
WORLD NEWS
News from Europe and around the globe including the new F/A-259 from Aero Vodochody and all the latest military losses

SPECIAL REPORT: A STORM BREWING
The UK has been setting out its future combat air power plans with a series of announcements and statements of intent. Jamie Hunter assesses whether the reality matches the ambition

ALASKAN AIR BATTLES
Amit Agronov, Erik Bruijns and Mark De Greeuw head out to ‘Red Flag — Alaska’ and find an exercise that has grown in stature, attracting participants from around the globe

FEARSOME ‘FULLBACK’
In the second of a two-part review of strike aircraft in Russian service, Piotr Butowski details the impressive Su-34 ‘Fullback’, a multi-role heavy-hitter

FIGHTING FOR CANADA
Delays in the decision-making process for a new fighter are hampering Canada’s drive to replace its aging CF-188 force. James Careless examines the reasons for this and evaluates options for the way ahead

BRITAIN’S NEW AIR POWER FOCUS
The arrival of the first F-35Bs for No 617 Squadron ‘Dambusters’ in June was the first step in the plan to establish an impressive new expeditionary air power capability for the UK, as Jamie Hunter details

AU REVOIR 2000N
The Mirage 2000N has been retired by the French Air Force as the specialist nuclear strike role passes to the Rafale B. Fréderic Lért reports from Istres with exclusive photos by Anthony Pecchi

 ‘MARINE ACE’
The Russian Navy held a large-scale exercise in June. Dmitriy Pichugin was there to see the various elements of the force’s air power capabilities in a competitive scenario

SAHEL WARRIORS
The French Air Force remains committed to Operation ‘Barkhane’ in the Sahel region of Africa. Fréderic Lért visits the Base Aérienne Projetée in Niamey, Niger

DANCING WITH THE ‘LADY’
In the second of a series of fascinating features, former U-2 pilot Lt Col (ret’d) Rick Bishop tells the story of how he trained to fly the demanding ‘Dragon Lady’

CROATIAN WARRIORS
Croatia has reached initial operational capability with its OH-58D Kiowa Warriors less than a year after receiving them.  Dirk Jan de Ridder and Menso van Westrhenen found out how this was achieved

CONSTANT ENDEAVOR
The US Marine Corps’ VMGR-252 ‘Otis’ holds the distinction of being the service’s oldest continually active squadron. It is also one of its busiest, having aircraft consistently deployed since 2005, as James DeBoer and Scott Youmans explain

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

FLASHBACK
Our regular feature looking at highlights of the recent past — this month it’s ‘Gunsmoke’ at Nellis AFB

TOPGUN SUPPLEMENT
TOPGUN: THE EARLY DAYS
In 2019, the Navy Fighter Weapons School — better known as TOPGUN — celebrates its 50th anniversary. Brad Elward details the origins of the school

TOMCATS OF TOPGUN
Inextricably linked to the NFWS thanks to the hit movie Top Gun, Tony Holmes tells the story of how the F-14 Tomcat came to symbolize the very best of US naval fighter aviation

FABULOUS FALLON
Jamie Hunter visits TOPGUN at the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center at NAS Fallon and finds out how the unit operates today

TOPGUN ‘BANDITS’
TOPGUN has always ¬ own striking adversary aircraft for the instructors to simulate enemy fighters. We look at some of the school’s present-day markings