41 SQN UPDATE 99 YEARS YOUNG!
AS 41(R) TEST AND EVALUATION SQN (TES) ENTERS ITS 100TH YEAR THIS SUMMER, THE BUSY TYPHOON AND TORNADO GR4 TRIALS PROGRAMME HAS ENSURED THAT THE SQN HAS NOT HAD TIME TO REST ON ITS LAURELS.
Since Wg Cdr Steve ‘Raz’ Berry took the helm at the start of the year, the Typhoon Flt has been involved in constant trials flying whilst the GR4 side of the house has deployed on Ex HIGHRIDER to the USA. In usual GR4 fashion, the Sqn has maintained a longer than anticipated footprint in North America with a single aircraft bravely maintaining the point defence of Gander for the last 6 weeks. With the Sqn (mostly) reunited an All Ranks Dining In Night was recently enjoyed, with the most memorable aspects being a great speech by Dutch ‘Vanilla Ice’ Holland and a banoffee pie which resembled a seagull’s excretion.
With the Sqn’s 99th birthday fast approaching, it is worth noting some interesting facts:
1. The Sqn’s emblem is a doublearmed cross – approved by HM King George VI in February 1937. The badge originated from the Sqn’s association with St Omer, France during World War I, the cross being part of the town’s arms.
2. 41 Sqn Jaguars deployed to Italy in 1993 in support of UN peacekeeping operations in Bosnia. It was during this deployment that 41 Sqn became the first RAF Sqn to drop a bomb in anger on Europe since the end of the Second World War.
3. The Sqn is capable of firing every weapon in the RAF’s fast jet arsenal, making it the most effective Sqn by a country mile.
4. This summer won’t just be a memorable birthday for 41 TES. The Sqn is currently home to the oldest navigator in the history of the RAF. Bamber will be celebrating his 82nd birthday in July, so feel free to give him a call and congratulate him…..
Besides the celebrations, 41 TES will continue to undertake Typhoon and GR4 trials throughout the year. The OpEval of Typhoon EP1 will take place throughout the summer, which will give Tranche 1 a leap in effectiveness. Furthermore, systems development continues on Tranche 2.
Meanwhile, the GR4 flight will endeavour throughout the summer to get their one serviceable jet back from the Canadians. All joking aside, the GR4 flight continue to provide invaluable and effective support to the Front Line as the aircraft leads the charge on Operations. The Common Jamming Pod will shortly be undergoing ground trials and represents one of the last major capability upgrades for the GR4. It will undergo flight trials at 41 TES later this year.
The summer will be a very important one in both the completion of Test and Evaluation as well as remembering and celebrating our Sqn’s heritage. We hope that you can join us as we work up to our centenary next year. As we prepare I leave our XI Sqn brethren with this final thought…just because a brother is one year older, it doesn’t make him any better!