This month’s AFM includes an exclusive 24-page supplement detailing the UK’s combat air fleet and its prospects for the future. It comes at an exciting time for Britain’s fighter force, as F-35Bs from the RAF’s No 617 Squadron make their first overseas deployment in UK service. As well as a map and order of battle, we assess the future for Britain’s fighters against a backdrop of tightening budgets and limited resources and visit RAF Akrotiri to see the ‘Centurion’ Typhoon at war. AFM also speaks to Wg Cdr Scott ‘Mox’ Williams, the UK’s senior national representative at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, as the Lightning Force’s next unit prepares to return home to the UK. There’s a photo essay of the RAF Typhoon FGR4 and, as the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth embarks on its next series of sea trials, we speak to Cdr James Blackmore, the warship’s Commander Air, to see what’s in store for the Lightning when it goes on board again later this year. Finally, officials from the MOD and BAE Systems discuss the work that’s already under way to develop the next generation of fighter under Team Tempest.
There’s more fighter action from No 2 Operational Conversion Unit, which trains future fighter pilots for the Royal Australian Air Force, plus the Romanian Air Force’s new F-16s. Bastien Otelli took to the skies with the French Navy’s Atlantique 2, while Esteban G Brea reports from the Argentine Air Force’s commemoration of the 37th anniversary of the 1982 conflict in the Falklands. AFM contributor Alan Worsley visited Vietnam, where he saw daily operations by the Su-22 Fitter strike-fighter force. New equipment in profile includes Hellenic Air Force’s Tecnam trainers and the Airbus A400M in Luftwaffe service. On the operational side, Elan Head discovers how Canada’s new forward aeromedical evacuation capability is making a difference for UN peacekeepers in West Africa.