XI(F) SQN UPDATE Summer 2019
It has been another extremely busy period for XI(Fighter) Sqn as we currently conduct Baltic Air Policing missions in Estonia.
This crucial NATO reassurance mission has been a seminal moment for the Typhoon Force as it is the first operational deployment to field the new Meteor missile. At the time of writing, XI(Fighter) Sqn has conducted 13 intercepts of various Russian aircraft since our arrival in April 19, playing a key role in preserving the security and integrity of the airspace in the region. You may have seen some pictures in the news recently with RAF Typhoons up close with SU-27 Flankers, that was us! Whether intercepting Russian fighter jets to safely escort them around Estonian airspace, or charming the Estonian Prime Minister as part of an ambitious and active Defence Engagement programme, it’s all in a days work for the men and women of XI(Fighter) Sqn! Once again it has taken all members of the Squadron, and the wider support network, to pull together in order to provide this kind of rapid response Combat Air Power and, thankfully, we are blessed in that department.
The support team has seamlessly managed all Squadron personnel constantly swapping in and out to Estonia and the deployed team of over 50 engineers have worked wonders to overcome some significant challenges to ensure the aircraft are always ready for the task, 24/7, throughout the detachment. The ability to rapidly service the aircraft after the missions and get them back onto Quick Reaction Alert has been phenomenal and more akin to the Mercedes F1 pit-crew – fantastic work from the team!
Back at Coningsby, XI(Fighter) Sqn have been focussed on preparations to assume Very High Readiness commitments later in the year, whilst quickly bringing its recent arrivals up to speed. The Squadron engineers have been busy achieving a challenging flying program to ensure successful operational training for the pilots. This has been in addition to preparing the aircraft for the same endeavour and undertaking a busy modification programme on all assets. With the squadron split between Coningsby and Estonia, the period has proved demanding, however; the squadron has risen to the challenge once again, all whist maintaining our share of UK Quick Reaction Alert.
By the time this goes to print, the Squadron will be returning from Estonia and will be back together as a whole at Coningsby before heading out the door to the Advanced Tactical Leadership Course in the United Arab Emirates. Until next time!
Written by Flt Lt Ben Polwin