The RAF’s oldest fixed-wing Squadron (yes, II(AC) Sqn. Check your facts) has, once again, been at the forefront of life at RAF Coningsby during a busy autumn period. Since the last edition, 3(F) Sqn have participated in heavy weapons training, Saudi British Green Flag (SBGF), overseas training with the Polish Air Force, the Maltese Airshow and a number of social events.

Heavy weapons training was flown in the Aberporth Danger Area located in Cardigan Bay. Fourteen weapons were dropped utilising GPS, self laser designation and cooperative laser designation attacks achieving fourteen direct hits. This training is invaluable for refreshing live weapon experience for all pilots and is a fundamental part of our capability as a multi-role Squadron.

Finishing the summer on a high, Flt Lt’s Kev Broder, Si Taylor, Gregor Ogston and ‘Grob’ Thomas conducted an Overseas Training Flight to Malbork Airbase in Poland. Landing on Friday afternoon the 4 pilots were joined by CT Ady Walker, Cpl’s Kris Blake and Andy Keighron, SACs Anderson, Smith, Gardner, Rawson and Flt Lt Luke ‘D’JEngO’ Bonnett. A thoroughly enjoyable weekend in Gdansk culminated in four sorties of 1v1 Dissimilar Air Combat Training flown on Monday against the MiG-29, a highly capable adversary which provided exceptionally valuable training for the four pilots.

The next big event that occurred in 3(F)’s busy calendar was Saudi British Green Flag. The Exercise proved to be very successful and ensured that old acquaintances and new friendships were reaffirmed in a tactically relevant exercise. Despite this commitment some excellent work by the 3(F) Sqn engineers ensured that routine Squadron training continued as normal in addition to the standing task of maintaining aircraft for QRA duties – an excellent achievement.

3(F)’s resident exchange officer, Flt Lt ‘Fiddy’ Nilson continued his European adventures (having attended the Zeltwig Air Show earlier in the summer) by leading a pair of aircraft to the Malta Air Show. Accompanied by Flt Lt Tim Pye and a small engineering team the 3(F) jets proved to be one of the highlights of the show.

On the social front the Squadron supported the Battle of Britain Dining in Night en masse. Given the Squadron’s 101 year history it is unsurprising to find that it had a role to play in the RAF’s finest hour. Joined by the other Squadrons from Coningsby that served during the Battle (everyone except XI Sqn) a hugely enjoyable night was had by all until the small hours. The following day the Officers of 3(F) Sqn and one stowaway WAAF, Doris Bader, travelled to London to conduct a force development day using the Battle Of Britain Memorial Walk. Beginning at RAF Uxbridge the walk encompassed various sites of significance and included a total of 6 stands where short presentations were made to reflect on the Battle and draw comparisons to 3(F)Sqn’s contemporary primary role of defending the UK’s airspace.

In September the Squadron held a combined ‘bottom table’ at the White Hart Hotel in Lincoln. Newly promoted Sgt Kieron ‘Mongo’ Taylor hosted the night assisted by SAC(T) Tom Reilly (dressed in a 60’s silver suit) as Mr Vice. Following a superb meal, a game of naming the countries of the Commonwealth was undertaken and after a few laps of the room the pressure was on. Not wanting to lose face in front of his troops Flt Lt James Kingswood, 3(F) Sqn JEngO, provided his final answer of…Germany – nice work. A huge thanks to SAC(T) Ben Wingfield and SAC(T) Ben Pell for organising the event.

Another social high point was an impromptu TACEVAL of the Station Commander at the start of October. Dressed in a wide variety of Halloween outfits entertainment on the night was provided by a firework competition and Flt Lt ‘Simmo’ Simcox dressed as Miley Cyrus – the white underpant, twerking version (nasty).

3(F) welcomed Sqn Ldr Steve Kenworthy from the OCU in September, a former Harrier GR9 instructor and display pilot. We’re looking forward to his endless stories about VIFF, running out of water and birdstrikes. Flt Lt Tris Simkins a former GR4 pilot and OC TTF also joins from 29(R) to bolster the 3(F) Junta ranks. When he isn’t flying Tris runs a small but highly profitable sideline as a slightly chubby Philip Schofield lookalike and has already expressed a strong desire to join the Cheshire Group.

Focus for the RAF’s first operational Typhoon Squadron now moves to the Advanced Tactical Leadership Course (ATLC), a large force exercise in the UAE which will be covered in the next edition. The 5 week deployment will allow the Squadron to practice a large scale deployment of 8 aircraft to what will be a highly enjoyable and challenging exercise. Until next time

– Tertius Primus Erit.