Combat Aircraft - May 2019

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IN THE NEWS

HEADLINE NEWS
F-15EX ordered for USAF, new aggressor contracts loom and EA-6B final flight

US NEWS
Multi-year Block III Super Hornet buy, F-35C IOC evaluated plus all the 2020 budget news

WORLD NEWS
News from Europe and around the globe, including an Australian F-35 update, plus all the latest military losses

FEATURES

THE OPS DESK
Scott Wolff’s regular column looks at a new lease of life for the F-16

NIGHTHAWK LIVES ON
The US Air Force officially retired the Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk amid huge fanfare in 2008. Since then a few fleeting glimpses have shown that the stealth fighter has remained active, but with very little detail … until now!

‘PLAYBOYS’ — JAMMIN’ TIL THE END
From the heavily defended airspace over North Vietnam to the less conventional battlefields of Syria and Afghanistan, VMAQ-2 has always answered the call when electronic warfare was required and every time with the same response - ‘Can do easy’ - as James DeBoer reports

TACTICAL LEADERS
Stephan de Bruijn visits Spain’s Albacete-Los Llanos air base as it hosts a significant US Air Force presence for the two-week duration of the Tactical Leadership Programme 2019-2 exercise

EAGLE ‘FLAG’
The second ‘Red Flag’ of 2019 took place from March 11-22, with a decidedly international feel and a wealth of F-15 Eagle participants, as Jamie Hunter discovered

EYE ON THE EAST
Andreas Rupprecht looks at PLA Army Aviation’s Z-8 , an important but little-known helicopter type that evolved from a license-manufactured French design

FLASHBACK: HUSTLER
Combat Aircraft’s regular feature looking at highlights of the recent past. This month it’s the first of a double bill: B-58 Hustlers in the boneyard

RESCUE SQUAD
Jan Kraak joins the EC725 Caracals of Escadron d’Hélicoptères 1/67 ‘Pyrénées’ - the personnel recovery specialists of France’s Armée de l’Air

TOP GUN MOVIE NEWS
The US Navy is heavily involved in filming of the new Top Gun: Maverick movie, with various Super Hornets supporting the sequel, as Jamie Hunter discovers

INDIA’S FIGHTER CONUNDRUM
With the recent spotlight on the Indian Air Force, Angad Singh assesses its plans to modernize its ageing fighter fleet

BACK IN THE GAME
Mike Killian embarks on the USS Abraham Lincoln as it gears up for its first deployment in seven years

TORNADO FINALE
As the Royal Air Force bids farewell to the Panavia Tornado GR4, Jamie Hunter wraps up coverage from one of the final retirement events for the type

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

FLASHBACK: TOMCAT
The second instalment of our nostalgia feature this month. This time we pay tribute to a golden era of the Naval Fighter Weapons School – TOPGUN

A-10 THUNDERBOLT II FOCUS

BATTLE-PROVEN AND IRREPLACEABLE
The US Air Force has often tried to kill off the A-10, but every time it has proved its worth. Jamie Hunter and Gary Wetzel look at why the ‘Warthog’ has been such a success

‘BLACKSNAKES’ IN CONTACT
The 163rd Fighter Squadron ‘Blacksnakes’ is one of four A-10 units assigned to the Air National Guard. In recent years, the unit has demonstrated the adaptability of the ‘Warthog’ and its operators by flexing between missions and theatres, as Jamie Hunter details

A-10 ON THE FRONT LINE: OPERATION ‘ANACONDA’
Part One: The A-10 has been engaged in combat operations in Afghanistan since 2002, and it continues to operate in that theatre today. Gary Wetzel looks back to its very first missions in ‘Enduring Freedom’, which proved to be a baptism of fire