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The RAF's 6 Squadron have dropped inert Paveway II bombs from a Tranche 2 Typhoon aircraft for the first time.
Multi-role combat aircraft are capable of being deployed across the full spectrum of air operations; from air policing to peace support, through to high intensity conflict. 6 Squadron are the RAF’s lead multi-role combat squadron.
Pilots embarked on a series of training sorties over the MOD’s firing range at Cape Wrath in northern Scotland last week to deliver this air-to-surface capability.
The Paveway II is a precision laser-guided bomb that’s designation of targets can be provided by the Litening III targeting pod, or from troops on the ground using a laser target designator.
Officer Commanding 6 Squadron, Wing Commander Mike Baulkwill, said:
The Paveway II bombing runs have been flown as part of an operational training week that prepares pilots and the Squadron as a whole for any contingent operations it may be tasked with.
The training week also enables Squadron engineers and support staff to undertake training and practice operations with live and training weapons.
Senior engineering officer Squadron Leader Cameron Gibb explained:
The addition of air-to-surface weapons activity augments the well-rehearsed air-to-air training we do in support of Quick Reaction Alert.
Working under a more operational focus for a week or two at a time puts everyone in the right frame of mind so that when called upon to go on operations pilots, engineers and operational support staff are always ready.
Flight Lieutenant Oli Fleming, who as an ex-Tornado GR4 pilot has operational air to ground experience, was the first 6 Squadron pilot to drop a Paveway II. He commented:
Dropping weapons from a Tranche 2 Typhoon is a good step forward for the Force providing a multi-role capability.
From an operator’s perspective, it is impressive how easy the systems are to use enabling you to drop an accurate bomb that strikes the target in a short amount of time.