About Craig Hoyle

Author Archive | Craig Hoyle

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Ship happens: HMS Illustrious comes home early

The UK Royal Navy helicopter assault ship HMS Illustrious sailed into Portsmouth harbour for repairs yesterday, after the service cut short her planned participation in NATO’s Exercise “Cold Response”. “Lusty” had been expected to host a 10-day programme of flying activities in support of the Royal Marines’ 42 Commando using an embarked flight of eight […]

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Northern Exposure for L-15?

Canadian industry is eyeing the nation’s long-term need to train its military pilots, and thinking outside the box as part of the process – particularly with the Lockheed Martin F-35 in mind. Like Chinese out of the box (read on). Two long-term partnered training systems are already in place: the NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) […]

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London struck by Lightning II

Lockheed Martin has brought its F-35 promotion team and simulator to London town, which gave me the chance to “fly” the aircraft in its B and C variants and talk about the Lightning II with one of its senior programme officials. I last got to try out the F-35 using this device at Lockheed’s Fort […]

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USAF, South Korean F-16s walk the walk

South Korea’s Kunsan air base on 2 March played host to a remarkable “Elephant Walk” demonstration with Lockheed Martin F-16s from the Republic of Korea Air Force and the US Air Force. I’m not sure how many aircraft took part in total, but reckon there are about 48 on show in the US Air Force […]

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Rafales, Typhoons go wingtip to wingtip

Having recently been involved in a bitter dogfight to secure India‘s medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) deal, it’s nice to see the Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon flying side by side. A joint exercise involving the French air force’s 1/7 Provence squadron and personnel from the UK Royal Air Force’s 3 Sqn wrapped up at […]

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Aiming high: A400M to make Chile debut

Airbus Military has confirmed that one of its A400M “Grizzly” test aircraft will be heading to Chile to participate in the FIDAE air show from late this month. Taking the A400M to Latin America at this time has less to do with immediate sales prospects than finding a suitable location to conduct high-altitude operational trials. […]

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Czech Republic air force makes AAR debut

Two pilots from the Czech Republic air force have taken part in the service’s first ever air-to-air refuelling exercise, operating Saab Gripen fighters behind the Swedish air force’s Lockheed Martin KC-130H tanker. Performed recently over central Sweden, the manoeuvres involved two aircraft from Caslav air base, piloted by Maj Jaroslav Tomaňa and Capt Petr Dřevecký. […]

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Sizing up the ‘Tartan Army’

The possibility of Scotland voting for independence has thrown up some intriguing topics for discussion recently. Key among these is the question of what would happen with any re-allocation of defence equipment currently located north of the border. Royal Air Force bases at Leuchars and Lossiemouth play respective host to squadrons equipped with Eurofighter Typhoon […]

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UK still in the carrier club – kind of

Semantics I suppose, but it’s not technically accurate to say that the UK no longer has an aircraft carrier at its disposal. Now referred to as a “helicopter assault ship” (a tag forced on the Royal Navy following the retirement of the UK’s last Harrier strike aircraft in 2010), HMS Illustrious is currently playing host […]

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