Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoons are to provide air policing duties over the southern UK from mid-year, following the recent conclusion of missile test firings by 3 Sqn, its first frontline unit to field the type.
Typhoon F2 fighters from the RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire-based squadron fired four MBDA ASRAAM short-range air-to-air missiles over the Aberporth weapons range off the west Wales coast between 26 February and 2 March, successfully engaging flares released by Meteor Mirach target drones, the RAF says.
The Typhoon is scheduled to perform quick reaction alert (QRA) missions to protect UK airspace from mid-year, with the type to carry ASRAAMs and medium- range Raytheon AIM-120C5 AMRAAMs. "There are no significant challenges for QRA," says Wg Cdr Lol Bennett, Officer Commanding 3 Sqn. "Eighteen months ago we had a huge task, but we're over that."
© Geoff Lee / Eurofighter
3 Sqn Typhoons will fly quick reaction alert missions from mid-year
QRA duties from Coningsby will initially alternate between the F2 and Panavia Tornado F3 for periods of around one month each, enabling the RAF to meet its Typhoon force training requirements. Its next frontline unit to receive the type - 11 Sqn - will reform at Coningsby on 29 March, and will lead work to develop the Typhoon's multirole capabilities for operational deployment from mid-2008.