Typhoon Goes Operational
(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued July 11, 2007)
Eurofighter Typhoon F2s from the Royal Air Force’s No. 3 Sqn. took on their first operational duties on 29 June 2007. (RAF photo by Geoffrey Lee)
Eurofighter Typhoon, the RAF's newest and most capable fast jet aircraft, are now on readiness to respond to any aircraft acting suspiciously or intruding illegally into UK airspace.

Typhoon F2s took on their first operational duties on 29 June 2007, when they assumed responsibility for the Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) element of UK air defence in the southern part of the country at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire. Over the next nine months they will progressively replace Tornado F3s which have performed this duty for many years.

The first operational unit is Number 3 (Fighter) Squadron, which received its first Typhoon in March 2006, and is the lead squadron for developing RAF Typhoon air defence operations.

QRA procedures entail aircraft being held at continuous ground readiness, so that they can take off within minutes - without pre-warning - to protect the skies over the UK.

Defence Minister Lord Drayson said:

"The Quick Reaction Alert provides a vital capability protecting the UK's airspace. Typhoon is the RAF's newest and most capable aircraft, and is now providing a vital contribution to the security of the UK. As Minister for Defence Equipment and Support I am very pleased that Typhoon gives the RAF the next generation of capability which will remain a world-leading aircraft as it continues to be developed and exploited."

Chief of the Air Staff Sir Glenn Torpy added:

"The RAF has an established and well practised air defence capability and I am delighted that Typhoon is now taking on these operational duties. The Typhoon is one of the most advanced aircraft in the world and gives, for the first time in many years, the RAF a world-beating multi-role capability that is an essential part of the UK's front-line."

RAF Coningsby has become the home of the Typhoon, its two operational squadrons - No 3(F) and XI Squadrons - together with the Operational Conversion Unit (No 29 Squadron) and the Operational Evaluation Unit (No 17 Squadron). With 3(F) Squadron now operational, the fourth Squadron, Number XI, is in the process of building up to full strength. This is the lead unit for Typhoon's ground attack function, and is expected to be fully operational in both the air-to-air and air-to-ground roles during the course of 2008.

All Typhoons will eventually be multi-role capable. Forty three Typhoons were delivered to RAF Coningsby at the end of June this year.


BACKGROUND NOTES:
1. Under current plans the northern QRA at RAF Leuchars, near St Andrews, Fife, Scotland, will continue to fly Tornados until the squadrons based there re-equip with Typhoons later in the decade.

2. Typhoon has been in service with the RAF since 2003, and the first squadron, 17(Reserve), the Operational Evaluation Unit, has been busy "writing the manuals", integrating new weapon systems and developing tactics. 29(Reserve) Squadron, the Operational Conversion Unit has responsibility for training air and ground crews for the operational squadrons.

3. The aircraft is the embodiment of some 20 years of co-operation between the British, German, Italian and Spanish governments and industry to produce the world's most advanced multi-role aircraft, expected to spearhead European defence for at least the next 30 years. (ends)



Royal Air Force Typhoon Roars Into New Role Protecting the UK Skies
(Source: Royal Air Force; issued July 11, 2007)
The Royal Air Force's Eurofighter Typhoon has today taken over the UK's Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) element of the UK air defence and is now at readiness to take off within minutes - without pre-warning to protect the skies over the UK.

RAF Coningsby today saw the crew from No 3 (Fighter) Squadron scrambled as if responding to a call from the government that there was an aircraft acting suspiciously in UK airspace. Squadron Leader Paul Smith was at the controls and was seen running to his aircraft as the klaxon alert sounded.

He dived into the Hardened Aircraft Shelter (HAS) where his aircraft stood waiting, jumped into the cockpit and strapped in. Meanwhile his ground crew made the final fuselage and electrical checks before the aircraft roared into the air - just four minutes after the call to deploy was made.

Officer Commanding 3 Squadron, Wing Commander Lol Bennett said:

"The requirement for Typhoon was set in 1985 and today is a proud day because Typhoon is now ready to deliver. She is now operational in Southern England and is protecting the UK against potential agressors."

The pilots on call work 24 hours a day on shifts but carry on with their normal lives as best they can within the HAS environment. They are ready to deploy at a moment's notice and today it took four minutes. While they await the klaxon they get on with their ordinary things such as studying and their secondary duties. The difference is they do this dressed in flying kit ready to scramble to the aircraft.

One of the Typhoon pilots Flight Lieutenant Guy Lockwood said:

"The Typhoon is a fantastic aircraft to fly, very simple in fact, which is just as well beacuse the information presented to the pilot can be very demanding. I'm proud to be part of Typhoon QRA - something the RAF has been engaged in since WW2.

"I try not to dwell on our ultimate role of defending the UK against an agressor aircraft because the decision to engage is made at the highest level. We are part of the British Armed Forces and take pride in being part of the defence of the UK."

This new role means the Typhoon, based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, is now ready to respond to any aircraft acting suspiciously or intruding illegally into UK airspace.

No 3 (Fighter) Squadron received its first Typhoon in March 2006 and is the lead squadron for developing RAF Typhoon air defence operations. Over the next nine months the aircraft will progressively replace the Tornado F3s which have performed the duty for many years.

The aircraft is the result of nearly 20 years of co-operation between the British, German, Italian and Spanish governments and industry which has produced one of the world's most advanced multi-role aircraft expected to spearhead European defence for at least the next 30 years.

Defence Minister Lord Drayson said:

"The Quick Reaction Alert provides a vital capability protecting the UK's airspace. Typhoon is the RAF's newest and most capable aircraft, and is now providing a vital contribution to the security of the UK.

"As Minister for Defence Equipment and Support I am very pleased that Typhoon gives the RAF the next generation of capability which will remain a world-leading aircraft as it continues to be developed and exploited."

Chief of the Air Staff Sir Glenn Torpy added:

"This is a significant day for Typhoon - the performance of the aircraft is stunning. Since 9/11 we have doubled the number of aircraft on Quick Reaction Alert to take into account possible attacks in UK air space that might be directed at centres of population and key installations. Air superiority assets such as Typhoon are key to the execution of modern operations in particular to restrict the movement of opposing forces on the ground."

RAF Coningsby is the home to No 3 (Fighter) Squadron and XI Squadrons - together with the Operational Conversion Unit (No 29 Squadron) and the Operational Evaluation Unit (No 17 Squadron). With No 3 (Fighter) Squadron now operational, the fourth Squadron, Number XI, is in the process of building up to full strength.

This is the lead unit for Typhoon's ground attack function, and is expected to be fully operational in both the air-to-air and air-to-ground roles during the course of 2008. All Typhoons will eventually be multi-role capable. Forty three Typhoons were delivered to RAF Coningsby at the end of June this year.

-ends-




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