Page 5 - issue03.05.2019
P. 5

Royal Air Force News Friday, May 3, 2019 P5


       ‘Must Daesh, we’re

       needed in Estonia’

       RAF TYPHOONS  have landed     XI Squadron fight terror in Middle East, then
       in Estonia to spearhead Nato air
       defences and face down the threat
       from Russia in the Baltic region.
         Four  of the  11 Sqn  combat   head to Baltic to face down the Russian threat
       jets left Coningsby for Amari air
       base, where they will spend four
       months on guard against Russian
         It’s the swing-role fighter’s first
       Nato deployment since a major
       £450 million weapons upgrade
       following the retirement of the
       Tornado, earlier this year.
         It is also the squadron’s first
       operational tour since helping
       defeat the Islamist terror group
       Daesh in Syria and Iraq.
         Officer Commanding XI (F)
       Squadron  Wing    Commander
       Paul ‘Pablo’ O’Grady, who led the
       detachment said: “It’s been an
       incredible year for the Squadron.
       We’ve recently completed a tour on
       Operation Shader based at Akrotiri
       taking  the  fight  to Daesh, which
       was an important mission.
         “We have quickly turned around
       to redeploy to Estonia where we
       will spend the next four months
       reassuring our Nato allies by
       deterring Russian aggression from
       the East.”
         He said that while Baltic Air
       Policing was strategically critical
       in reassuring Britain’s Nato allies
       that  the  RAF  will  stand  by  them,
       the Squadron was also looking to
       use the mission to further hone its
       combat skills.
         They hope to exploit training
       opportunities with the British
       battlegroup in the region, which is
       equipped with Apache and Wildcat
       helicopters, and link up with Baltic
       and Scandinavian Air Forces.
         Wg  Cdr  O’Grady  said:  “In
       parallel to Baltic Air Policing –
       which is our priority – we’re also
       getting ready for high-readiness
       duties as we become the on-point
       Squadron later this year.”
         He said that by the end of
       September 11(F) Sqn will be on call
       to rapidly deploy rapidly anywhere
       in the world.
         That will be followed by
       advanced tactical training in a
       multinational exercise to be held in
       the Middle East in late autumn.
         Back to Baltic Air Policing the
       Typhoon force is confident it’s
       ready for anything as it takes over   WELCOME: (Top) Lt Col Oberstleutnant Sebastian Fiedler, Commander of the Flying Group Tactical Fighter Wing, greets Wg Cdr O’Grady, OC XI (F) Sqn, at Amari Air Base, Estonia. (Right)
       from the Germans providing Quick   landing in Estonia; (left) RAF groundcrew check the Typhoons                                    PHOTOS: CPL ROB BOURNE
       Reaction Alert (QRA) cover in
       Estonia.                      and with Typhoon we’re very lucky because   The jet can now fight with AMRAAM and   He said: “The Centurion package brings
         Wg  Cdr  O’Grady  said:  “The  it’s serviceable and the software and weapons  ASRAAM air-to-air missiles, Paveway IV  a huge amount of capability to the aircraft.
       challenge is always going to be  systems we have now are phenomenal.   precision-guided bombs, Storm Shadow and  Typhoon is now the bedrock and core of our
       getting airborne to meet the    “It  really  has  stepped  forward  in  Brimstone air-to-ground missiles and its latest,  next-generation Air Force and, integrated with
       unknown – that’s what QRA’s like  leaps and bounds in the 10 years I have been  the Meteor radar guided beyond visual range  the F35, can deliver a potent threat across the
       in the UK, you never know what  flying it.”                            multi shot missile.                      globe.
       you’re going to get,  but  my pilots   The reason for that is Project Centurion,   One  man who  has  seen  the  Eurofighter   “It’s a  phenomenally-capable aircraft, we’ve
       are so highly trained it should be a  which has beefed up the Typhoon’s arsenal to  develop since it first came into service in 2005 is  just returned from Red Flag – which is the
       simple, straightforward process.  seven weapons systems including its 27mm  Coningsby Station Commander Group Captain  hardest Exercise globally – and Typhoon
         “They’ve got a fantastic fighter  Mauser cannon.                     Mark Flewin.                             performed exceptionally well out there.”
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