News story

RAF develops Typhoon multi-role capability

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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.

Two RAF Typhoons from 6 Squadrons en route to a practice bombing exercise at Cape Wrath [Picture: Senior Aircraftman Ash Reynolds, Crown copyright]
RAF Typhoons from 6 Squadron

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.

A Paveway II laser-guided bomb is dropped from an RAF Typhoon
A Paveway II laser-guided bomb is dropped from a 6 Squadron Typhoon at the Cape Wrath practice range [Picture: Flight Sergeant Andy Walker, Crown copyright]

Officer Commanding 6 Squadron, Wing Commander Mike Baulkwill, said:

The successful delivery of Paveway II from a Tranche 2 Typhoon is another step forward in the development of the platform’s multi-role combat capability.

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.

From left: Flight Lieutenant Flexer, Sergeant Stanson and Flight Lieutenant Quinn
RAF Regiment forward air controllers from the Air Land Integration Cell at RAF Honington guide a Typhoon onto target [Picture: Flight Sergeant Andy Walker, Crown copyright]

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.

A practice bomb hits the target
A practice bomb hits the target at the Cape Wrath range [Picture: Flight Sergeant Andy Walker, Crown copyright]

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.

The exercise also formed part of the RAF Regiment forward air controllers training for Afghanistan.

Published 10 April 2013