April 2020The April edition of AFM has a special focus on the UK Royal Navy’s aviation component, with extensive coverage including a Force Report on the Fleet Air Arm as it enters its second century of service, an Exercise Report on the final training course on the Merlin HC3, and a look to the future as the UK begins to explore options for integrating unmanned air systems with its Queen Elizabeth-class carriers.
There’s more naval aviation from France, with stunning Rafale coverage from the French Navy’s oldest fighter squadron, Flottille 11F, which turned 100 last year. Portugal’s P-3C CUP+ Orion fleet may be operated by the air force, but these maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare specialists are also featured. On the operational side, there’s a report from Sigonella air base in Sicily, home to the Italian Air Force’s P-72As and host to additional European maritime patrol aircraft. This month’s naval coverage is completed with a look at the new capabilities that will sharpen the E-2 Hawkeye – the US Navy’s ‘eye of the fleet’.
Back on dry land, we interview Dutch F-35A pilot Lt Col Ian ‘Gladys’ Knight about Dutch F-35 numbers and dogfighting in the stealth warplane, before visiting the Italian Air Force’s important Typhoon base at Trapani-Birgi, which occupies a remote strategic position covering Europe’s southern flank.
Aleksandar Radić examines how military donations from Moscow to Serbia have proved an important tool of soft power in the Balkans, but how the latest developments look set to bring Belgrade closer to the West, while regular contributor Dietmar Fenners was in Thailand recently, where Don Muang air base in Bangkok opened its doors to the public and hosted an extensive flypast.