‹ Return to VP-9 Orions leave Hawaii
A P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft assigned to VP-9 ‘Golden Eagles’ at Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy during a forward deployment to the Sixth Fleet area of responsibility. US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Amber Porter
December 2019Recent months have seen European F-35 operators notch up a series of important milestones. This month’s cover story marks Italy becoming the first operator to deploy the fifth-generation jet on a NATO Allied Air Command mission, defending Icelandic airspace. Meanwhile, we bring the latest on the UK Lightning Force’s next meaningful steps towards re-establishing a British carrier strike capability, with a report on the WESTLANT 19 deployment. Other notable Lightning II events include delivery of a first operational Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35A to Leeuwarden Air Base. At the other end of the technological scale is the Su-22 swing-wing strike aircraft. While it may be obsolescent by today’s standards, 35 years ago it provided Poland with a technological leap comparable only with its subsequent purchase of F-16 fighters. Piotr Butowski assesses the current status of NATO’s last surviving Fitters. Newer equipment among former Eastern bloc operators is also featured, including a report on Croatia’s OH-58D Kiowa Warriors and their crews as they approach full operational capability. Meanwhile, Hungarian Gripens took part in 50 live scrambles during the 50th rotation of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission this summer, and AFM joined them as they patrolled the skies of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. On the industry side, Arie Egozi examines Israel’s latest developments in ‘smart’ standoff weapon systems, as the Israeli Air Force seeks to counter threats developing close to the country’s borders and further afield.
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