One of the lesser-known Luftwaffe units that flew later Fw 190 models in combat was JG 5. It was based throughout its existence in Norway and Finland, and fought the Russians on one side and the RAF over the North Sea on the other; JG 5 was effectively an air force within an air force. Formed in early 1942, partly from the re-numbering of elements of the already-existing JG 77, JG 5 was subordinate to the Norwegian-based Luftflotte 5 (Air Fleet 5), which controlled Luftwaffe air operations in the Scandinavian area until reorganised later in 1944. Appropriately named the'Eismeer' (ice sea) Geschwader, JG 5 flew a mixed bag of aircraft types.These were principally different marks of the Messerschmitt Bf 109, but JG 5 also featured a twin-engined element with Bf 110 heavy fighters.The Fw 190, initially in A-2 and A-3 fighter versions, started to reach JG 5 in 1942 but a small unit of fighter-bomber Fw 190s was also assigned. It was later in 1944 that the Fw 190A-8 was used by JG 5, but operational necessity resulted in elements of JG 5 being re-assigned to other war fronts where their presence was more pressingly needed. Nevertheless the Fw 190A-8 gave a good account of itself with JG 5 in this difficult and cold operational environment, where it was used as a day fighter at lower level, mainly against the RAF.
THE RAF FORMALLY announced on 12 April that No 17 Test and Evaluation Squadron (TES) is to become the UK's F-35 Lightning II Operational Evaluation Unit (OEU). The squadron's current role as the Typhoon OEU is to end, with No 41 TES becoming a joint Typhoon/Tornado GR4 squadron. The first Typhoon in No 41 TES markings was due to be rolled out as we went to press. It was also rumoured that at least two Hawk T2s will be assigned to the unit at RAF Coningsby. No 17 TES will now transfer to Edwards AFB, California, and become the lead UK F-35 unit, tasked with operational evaluation. Meanwhile, BAE Systems is stepping up Typhoon trials activity. New night vision goggles (NVGs) are being tested at the company's airfield at Warton, Lancashire. The new FENN NG2000Ti NVGs are attached to the latest Helmet-Mounted Symbology System (HMSS). BAE Systems is also assessing the aerodynamic characteristics of carrying the Boeing Harpoon anti-ship missile on the Typhoon. Testing is under way at the company's high-speed wind tunnel to de-risk the clearance process for such weapons to be integrated onto the type.
North Weald's Hangar 11 Collection has been working hard on its fighters over the winter. As reported in the February issue, P-40 Warhawk G-KITT is being prepared for a new colour scheme, with paint-stripping continuing at a rapid pace. The cockpit is also receiving some TLC, with the team removing modern radios and nonstandard alterations. Collection owner Peter Teichman told FlyPast: "We scoured the world for a genuine replacement top instrument panel, and were delighted to source one some 12,000 miles away in an Australian museum. The panel is just as it was when removed from a wartime P-40 in '0z', complete with all gauges, clocks and instruments. It will be fitted to the P-40 before she flies to have her new paint applied." Away from the hangar, work on Spitfire IX PT879, a survivor from a Russian unit, started last year. Restoration work has progressed at a significant pace, with the fuselage coming along nicely at Isle of Wight-based Airframe Assemblies. The Hangar 11 team has supplied around 650 components from the original fuselage alone for re-use in the project.
Sold as a UH.5 (shouldn't that be HU.5?) the various schemes for Fleet Air Arm and Royal Air Force included will allow the modeller to build the kit as HU.5 and HAR.2 variants. When I heard the news of this release I was eager to see what it was like as the last new-tool Italeri helicopter kit I had built (OH-58 Kiowa Scout) had proved a big disappointment. I can safely say that this kit is a huge improvement on their last one. On opening the box you will find five sprues of well detailed, crisply moulded parts. In total 117 grey-coloured and 7 clear with a photo-etched brass fret containing another 11 parts. Also you will find in the box a sheet of plastic mesh which is to be used to make the debris screen for the large intake on the nose cowling. The instructions are in Italeri's usual style with fairly good colour call-outs throughout. The decal sheet is very nice with excellent register and good colour, printed by Cartograf I suspect. Colour schemes for four aircraft are included, one Royal Air Force and three Fleet Air Arm. All in all a nice looking package but how would it go together? Let's find out.