RAF Personnel and Typhoons have conducted a week of training in Turkey as part of a package of the NATO Alliance’s assurance measures to one of its key allies.
As part of the UK’s contribution in delivering on our NATO commitment of Tailored Assurance Measures to Turkey, No IX(B) Sqn Typhoons based at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland, spent 3 days exercising alongside the Turkish Air Force F-16s at the 3rd Main Jet base, Konya.
Operating away from the home base offers a range of training opportunities for the aircrew as well as those in support roles; aircraft engineers formed the bulk of the detachment, but equally important were the logistics, ops, movements, security and media personnel all of whom had vital roles to play to ensure the success of the visit.
For the pilots, flying alongside other nations provides an invaluable insight to each-other’s tactics and procedures. During the week, each of the pilots got to fly against their Turkish counterparts in 1v1 Air Combat missions gaining a greater understanding of each other’s capabilities.
The Typhoons arrived in Konya on the 16th Nov supported a Voyager aircraft from RAF Brize Norton, which provided Air-to Air Refuelling for the 6-hour sortie across Europe from RAF Lossiemouth. They met with the advance party who had arrived a few days earlier, having brought in engineering equipment by A400M, an aircraft type which is also operated by the Turkish Air Force.
The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston visited the detachment as part of his wider visit to Turkey. Meeting with Brigadier General Yuksel Fidan, Commander 3rd Main Jet Base, he was introduced to personnel of the Turkish Air Force, visited the Anatolian Eagle facilities and was shown around their Weapons and Tactics School.
Sqn Ldr Spencer-Jones, Detachment Commander said, “It is always a privilege to work alongside our NATO colleagues. This deployment provided an ideal opportunity to develop training and tactics with our partners and demonstrates the strong bond and operational understanding between the two Air Forces. In addition, it has been hugely impressive to see all the detachment personnel working together from an unfamiliar base and delivering to such a high standard.”
by David Oliver