To commemorate the 70th Anniversary of World War II’s D-Day landings, the Royal Air Force (RAF) unveiled a specially-painted Typhoon jet with D-Day invasion stripes at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire.
The state-of-the-art RAF Eurofighter Typhoon has been adorned with the iconic black and white invasion markings in a tribute to the significant role of the crews of the Hawker Typhoon, its WWII namesake – particularly during D-Day operations.
Technicians painted the jet, tail number ZK308, in April so it could be ready to take part in UK-wide air shows this summer.
At RAF Coningsby today it also completed a dual-flypast with a similarly-adorned D-Day Spitfire, part of the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
Flying Officer (Retd) Paddy Byrne, 92, a Hawker Typhoon D-Day pilot, travelled to witness the unveiling and said: “It was marvellous seeing the Typhoon, but for me it was more about meeting the people - those who fly the aircraft and those who help to get it in the air in the first place. It’s been great comparing notes!
“The Hawker Typhoon was a very solid aircraft and you felt very secure flying in it, even if you had a rough landing. The cockpit was very hot, so we often flew in short-sleeved shirts, but at high altitudes you’d put on your fleece-lined airman jacket if it got cold. We also had to use oxygen masks because the engine fumes came straight into the cockpit.
“Of course, there’s no comparison with the Hawker Typhoon I flew and today’s version, which can fly at almost double the speed and at vastly higher altitudes - I imagine it’s a lovely aircraft to fly.”
Flight Lieutenant Noel Rees, who flew the Typhoon during its sortie with the Spitfire, said: “Flying alongside the Spitfire in a Typhoon similarly marked with invasion stripes was a great honour and a fitting commemoration for D-Day, which was a remarkable point of our history.
“The Hawker Typhoon has many similarities to our current version, namely that it’s a multi-role aircraft. Whether it was air-to-air or air-to-ground operations, the Typhoon played a key role on D-Day, allowing the troops on the ground to do the very important job they did.”
The powerful and versatile Hawker Typhoon was one of the RAF’s most effective fighter-bombers in World War II, while the RAF’s instrumental air superiority on D-Day, and beforehand, meant the 6 June landings could take place largely without attacks by Luftwaffe above or by U-boats below.
Armed with four 20mm cannons and capable of carrying rockets or bombs, the Hawker Typhoon had multiple roles as a night-fighter, a defensive fighter during enemy raids on England’s south coast and as a ground attacker during the campaign in north-west Europe.
The modern day state-of-the-art Typhoon is a proud and versatile successor to the Hawker Typhoon, offering superb agility and as a multi-role combat jet it can carry out both air-to-air and air-to-ground roles.
Today, RAF Typhoons stand at constant readiness, armed and ready on Quick Reaction Alert. At a moment’s notice they can launch and intercept unidentified aircraft in three locations: the UK, Lithuania as part of the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission – helping to protect and secure NATO airspace over the Baltic nations of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania – and in the Falkland Islands.