Combat Aircraft - March 2019

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IN THE NEWS

HEADLINE NEWS
UK declares initial operating capability for F-35B, Singapore chooses the Lightning II and USAF receives first KC-46A Pegasus

US NEWS
CH-53K heads to the desert, IOC looms for US Navy F-35C, sixth-generation fighter costs examined, plus all the latest deployment news

WORLD NEWS
News from Europe and around the globe, including Bulgaria’s potential F-16 plans, plus all the latest military losses

FEATURES

EYE ON THE EAST: JH-XX - ANOTHER CHINESE STEALTH BOMBER?
Andreas Rupprecht details what the US thinks is waiting in the wings from China

THE CHINESE ‘FLANKER’ STORY: PART TWO - STRIKE AND CARRIER VARIANTS
Andreas Rupprecht concludes a two-part study of the Chinese ‘Flanker’ family with an assessment of the Su-30 multi-role fighters and indigenous J-16, as well as the carrier-based J-15 Flying Shark

AMENDOLA ACTION
Remo Guidi reports from exercise TLP 2018-4 at Amendola, Italy, including an exclusive interview with the exercise director

ANYTIME, ANY PLACE, ANYWHERE
2018 marked 60 years of 124 ‘Rolling Sword’ Squadron. Yissachar Ruas looks at its current mount - the S-70A Yanshuf

TEXAS COWBOYS
Joe Copalman rides shotgun with the US Marine Corps’ sole reserve component fighter squadron - VMFA-112 ‘Cowboys’

RED STARS AT RYAZAN
Russian Long-Range Aviation training assets were particularly busy in December and Dmitriy Pichugin was granted exclusive access to Dyagilevo, near Ryazan, as crews worked up for global patrols

JAPAN’S HYPER-‘VIPER’
The Japan Air Self-Defense Force chose to develop an indigenous version of the F-16 to meet a specific domestic requirement. The result is the Mitsubishi F-2. Jon Lake looks at this unique and infrequently reported fighter

CHANGING TIMES FOR THE BLUE ANGELS
As the US Navy Blue Angels gear up for the 2019 season, Peter R. Foster looks at what lies ahead for the famous demonstration team

USAF EXPANSION 28
‘America’s military has no preordained right to victory on the battlefield,’ says US Air Force chief Gen David Goldfein. So what is being done to ensure it stays ahead of the field? Scott Wolff investigates

INVADERS OVER THE TRAIL
A rejuvenated A-26 Invader went into battle over Laos during the Vietnam War where it proved to be a reliable participant in combat operations. Warren E Thompson looks back at its return to action

TOWARD THE UNKNOWN
In the third of a series of features, former U-2 pilot Lt Col (ret’d) Rick Bishop reflects on a particularly challenging operational mission in the U-2

SPECIAL DELIVERY
The US Marine Corps relies upon a small fleet of executive aircraft to provide time-sensitive support to facilities around the US and in combat theaters. Ted Carlson/Fotodynamics flies with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadrons (H&HS) Miramar and discovers a fascinating aviation role

TANKING TALES
Michael Keaveney details the high operations tempo of a KC-135R squadron, and the role that ensures the US Air Force is kept on the move

THE NEXT GENERATION
The UK announced initial operating capability for its Lightning Force and upgraded ‘Centurion’ Typhoons in January, marking a significant step forward in future capability, as Jamie Hunter reports

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN: SUNDOWN PLANS FOR JAPAN’S RECCE ‘RHINOS’
The Japan Air Self-Defense Force says its last RF-4E Phantom IIs will be retired in 2020, meaning these fabulous warriors are entering their final era of operations, as Rich Cooper details

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

FLASHBACK
Combat Aircraft’s regular feature looking at highlights of the recent past. This month it’s an Australian F-111 Aardvark