July 2017Centrepiece of the July issue is a 24-page supplement detailing the latest developments in Dassault Aviation’s Rafale ‘omni-role’ combat aircraft programme. Henri-Pierre Grolleau sets out Dassault and the French Defence Procurement Agency’s plans for development of Standard F4, the latest variant of the Rafale that will enter service around 2025. The Rafale is combat proven in French Air Force and Navy hands, and details of operations by the latter focus on Arromanches III, the late 2016 deployment for combat operations against so-called Islamic State.<br><br>Europe can also expect another state-of-the-art warplane - the TF-X - which Turkey hopes to fly to mark the country’s centenary in 2023. At the other end of the technological scale is the Cold War-era RF-4E reconnaissance jet. With the retirement of Greece’s recce ‘Rhinos’, the era of NATO’s dedicated tactical reconnaissance units has come to an end. As Europe’s emergency response forces gear up for the continent’s ‘fire season’, we caught up with pilots of the Croatian Air Force’s Firefighting Squadron, among the most respected in their field. On the other side of the Adriatic, the Kosovo Force continues its mission to keep peace in the Balkan province. <br><br>Force Report focuses on Russian air power in Kaliningrad - a timely moment to examine Russian military assets in the region, as the Baltic Sea increasingly serves as backdrop to escalating East-West tensions.<br>On the industry side, AFM visited Aero Vodochody, to keep abreast of developments in the L-39 and L-159 programmes, while our featured UK unit is No 1 (Fighter) Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth. With the airshow season well underway in Europe, we conclude our features with spectacular photography of 311º Gruppo Volo, the flight-test unit of the Italian Air Force and renowned air display specialists.
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