February 2019For the February AFM we paid an exclusive visit to the secretive base at Al Udeid, Qatar, to witness US Air Force B-1B operations during combat missions in the Middle East. The result was a rare first-hand look at the Lancer and its crews at war and the impressive ‘Bone’ dominates the cover of the latest issue. We also continue our series of features celebrating the career of the RAF’s Tornado GR4 in the run-up to the type’s retirement. We spoke to Pete Beilby, who turned 24 in the Kuwaiti desert while deployed on Operation Telic – the youngest RAF Tornado pilot engaged in the 2003 war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces. UK coverage also includes one of the Tornado’s successors, the F-35B. Richard Scott joined HMS Queen Elizabeth off the east coast of the US at the end of the First Of Class Flight Trials to find out how aircraft and ship performed together. Making fighter pilots is the business of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 419 Tactical Fighter Training Squadron, part of the NATO Flying Training in Canada programme. Dirk Jan de Ridder investigates its Phase IV syllabus – the last step before the cockpit of a frontline fighter. The end of the year saw some significant large-scale exercises around the world and Exercise Reports this month feature CRUZEX in Brazil, the Royal Netherlands Army’s Falcon Autumn and Trident Juncture in Norway.,There’s more from Norway in a report from Bodø airfield, home of the Westland Sea King Mk43Bs of 330 Skvadron, which is responsible for search and rescue among the country’s rugged coastline and fjords. Meanwhile, AFM correspondents range far and wide to bring coverage from the ninth Iran International Airshow on the island of Kish, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s open house at Iruma Air Base and from Palanquero air base, where Yissachar Ruas flew with the upgraded Kfir fighters of the Colombian Air Force.
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