A Royal Navy warship and RAF Typhoons have put their skills and technology to the test during a joint exercise.
The aircraft joined HMS Dragon and US fighter jets in a training exercise to detect, classify and monitor contacts on the sea’s surface in the challenging conditions of the Gulf.
The Type 45 destroyer provides a complementary service to the highly manoeuvrable and effective Typhoon fast jet combat aircraft.
One of Dragon’s fighter controllers, Lieutenant Francis Heritage, said:
“We received the help of a United States Air Force Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) aircraft to cue our fighters onto their targets.
“The JSTARS surface radar is incredibly powerful. When combined with our own organic sensors and those of the jets under our control, we can provide force protection over a massive area.”
The American surveillance jet fed information directly into Dragon’s operations room, allowing the destroyer to cue fighter jets – US Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornets, US Air Force F-15 Strike Eagles and the Typhoons of Dragon’s affiliated RAF unit, No 6 Squadron – onto their objectives.
Another of Dragon’s fighter controllers, Flying Officer Dave Bowl, said:
“This is a great example of how the front line units of the Royal Air Force can work hand-in-hand with the Royal Navy’s most capable and advanced warship.”
Dragon is in the second half of her inaugural deployment, which is a mix of carrying out maritime security operations with the UK’s Gulf partners and contributing to the wider air defence of the region, such as when she joined forces with the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group a few weeks ago.