3(F) Sqn Update
HELLO FROM ALL ON 3 (FIGHTER) SQUADRON! HOPEFULLY THE SUMMER HAS FINALLY ARRIVED BY THE TIME YOU ARE READING THIS. THE HAPPIEST TIME OF THE YEAR…. THE ‘DITCHING’ OF THE IMMERSION SUIT! IT’S ALL BEEN RATHER HECTIC OVER HERE ON THE SOUTH SIDE SINCE THE TURN OF THE YEAR. STILL REELING FROM THE NEW YEARS STANEVAL VISIT, WE HAVE BEEN HURLED INTO OPERATIONAL COMMITMENTS AND SUMMER EXERCISES.
As was mentioned in the last edition, the StanEval team came over to 3(F) Squadron at the beginning of the year for a twoyearly assessment of the Squadron’s operating standards. There was the odd flash and a bit of flapping, but in the end it all seemed to go rather smoothly. Many thanks to the efforts of all on the Squadron, whether generating aircraft or flying them.
The flying in this period has been a QWI’s dream. Most notably we fired 3 ASRAAM Air to Air Missiles in Aberporth range. This opportunity is rare for all the pilots so the lucky 3 were very smug! There were even reports of a certain Flt Lt Rob ‘Grob’ Thomas with an enthusiastic spring in his step (unlikely). Well done to all involved in what proved to be a very successful trial comprising three ‘direct hits’.
The Squadron has also been forging ahead with multiple high profile Close Air Support Exercises throughout the UK, working with the British Army in Norfolk and Salisbury plain respectively and then with the US Army on Exercise Vintage Rally.
During April the Squadron supported Exercise Android Preference. This exercise aims to put the students on the Qualified Weapons Instructor Course (QWIC) through their paces. For those that were involved it provided some excellent high-end training. More importantly for some, it gave the lads the opportunity to mix it with those lesser Typhoon squadrons from north of the Border!
Away from flying, the Squadron was inspected by the Station Commander in mid April. In preparation, the Squadron buildings were cleaned to such a high degree that some Squadron personnel were clearly confused and thought they had gone to work in the wrong place. The pilot’s crew room was cleaned so well that it is now even possible to work in there without getting that nasty rash. Mission Support Flight bore the brunt of the work, and their efforts deserve a mention.
Clearly the most important task for the Squadron in this period has been widely publicised in the news. As this is written, Typhoons from 3(Fighter) Squadron are deployed at Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania. From the end of April, the Squadron took the lead on Operation AZOTIZE, an increased presence in the Baltic region on behalf of NATO. The Squadron, augmented by extra personnel from around the Typhoon Force, will be operating in the Air Policing and Quick Reaction Alert role.
Preparing aircraft for this is a big enough task on its own. Now throw in to the mix holding duty QRA engineering squadron while providing jets for normal squadron flying. Obviously the 3(F) Squadron Engineers have been set a gargantuan engineering task, but unsurprisingly they have risen to the challenge while putting in some very long hours on the way.
Sadly leaving the Squadron in this period are Flt Lt Rob ‘Shampoo’ Sampson who goes back to his first love of trimming on 29 Sqn. Flt Lt Gregor Ogston also leaves us to the sunny climes of RAF Valley where he will no doubt put his ability and experience into shaping up the dross over there. Both individuals will be difficult to replace and greatly missed. All the very best from everyone on 3(F) for your next tours.
The Cheshire Group claimed its next victim from mighty 3 when Sqn Ldr Steve Kenworthy was assimilated into its ranks. ‘Flying Officer’ Kenworthy can officially be laid to rest!
Finally, congratulations to Corporal Ryan Smedley on his promotion and also Flt Lt Thomas ‘Wally’ Wallington, on both his promotion and his engagement! Good luck with that one!
By the time the next edition comes out there should be updates from Op Azotize (hopefully with some cool pictures) and some gossip from, a now XI Squadron led, Exercise Anatolian Eagle in Turkey. It’s harsh but some of the Squadron are being forced to go. Isn’t June weather awful in Turkey anyway….?