The first Typhoons to be deployed overseas have touched down in the Falkland Islands. The aircraft, from RAF Coningsby, flew into the South Atlantic Islands to take over Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) duties from the Tornado F3s that will return to Britain later this year.
Squadron Leader Rich Wells and Flight Lieutenant James Bolton made RAF history by flying the state-of-the-art high tech jets for 18 hours from the UK to the Mount Pleasant Complex (MPC), stopping off at Ascension Island located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
During the trip the pair were accompanied by air-to-air refuelling tankers (VC10s and a TriStar), and as they flew into the MPC were joined by two F3s from 1435 Flight and a Hercules.
Sqn Ldr Wells, the first to land, said: “I think both of us are incredibly proud especially as it was a Typhoon first.”
Two more Typhoons will be flown in to join the first two, to take over from the four Tornados of 111 Squadron based at RAF Leuchars.
The Tornado F3 fleet is to be taken out of service in 2011.
A Typhoon advance party was flown into the Falklands prior to the aircraft’s arrival and engineers drawn from the Typhoon squadrons at RAF Coningsby are also now at the MPC ready to look after the aircraft.
The Typhoon has taken on the QRA duties for the British Forces South Atlantic Islands and police the skies above the Falkland Islands.
Officer Commanding 905 Expeditionary Air Wing, Wing Commander Dick Knight, said:
“The challenges have been making sure we have got it right for when Typhoon arrived. We will find out whether we have done that in the next few months. There has been a lot of planning in getting Typhoon down here, and the crews from Coningsby, and working through that process.
“It is basically four aircraft in and four out. We hope to get through the transitional process as quickly as possible.
“The RAF prides itself on getting to a location, setting up rapidly and flying in an expeditionary nature.”