A squadron of British Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4s has arrivedat Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, in preparation for their participationin Exercise Western Zephyr. Before the exercise begins, the Royal Air Force’sXI Squadron will work on integrating with the 1st Fighter Wing’s(FW) Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptors, based locally at Langley.
“The Raptor is a fifth-generation low observableaircraft and we need to operate with them to enhance our jointcapability,” says Squadron Leader Andy Chisholm, XI Squadron’s executiveofficer. “It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. You have to practice,and practice makes perfect.”
“The exercise gives us valuable interaction with ourallies as well as a great opportunity to integrate with the Typhoon,” hesays. “It’s important for us as coalition partners to have that level offamiliarity to make us more tactically proficient should the time ever come toutilize this training.”
The USAF has in recent months been making a concerted effortto afford F-22 units more training and integration opportunities with alliedforces. Training with the UK, arguablythe United States’ most important ally, is particularly important.
According to the USAF, there are about 200 British personnelfrom RAF Coningsby training with the 1st FW (27th Fighter Squadron in this case, the 94th FS is deployed to Kadena, Japan).