The oldest frontline Royal Air Force squadron in the world achieved another first recently (25 November 2014).
No 1(Fighter) Squadron, based at RAF Lossiemouth, successfully released 2 live Paveway IV weapons at Cape Wrath Training Area as part of the Squadron’s task to deliver the latest Typhoon capability upgrade, known as P1Eb.
Officer Commanding 1(Fighter) Squadron, Wing Commander Mike Sutton, said:
“This is another landmark moment for the Typhoon Force, and highlights the aircraft’s potent swing role capability. The successful weapon drops are a superb reflection on the dedication and achievement of everyone who has been involved in this capability enhancement.
“The swing role capability of the Typhoon ensures that we are well equipped to respond to the challenges of contingent operations across the globe, while also maintaining the security of UK skies through the delivery of Quick Reaction Alert, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”
P1Eb is predominantly an air to ground capability upgrade; it provides enhancements to the Litening III Laser Designator Pod (LDP) and Helmet Equipment Assembly (HEA) (helmet mounted sight) integration, as well as with Paveway IV. The LDP can now also be used seamlessly with the HEA to visually identify air tracks at long range, as well as identifying, tracking and targeting points on the ground.
The Paveway IV offers increased precision, stand-off, and flexibility of employment, and the Typhoon can release a number of weapons to different targets in a single pass.
1(Fighter) Squadron has conducted 8 Paveway IV drops this week, with a mix of profiles including GPS and laser guidance; pre-planned and target of opportunity using the HEA; and employing both impact and airburst fusing settings on the weapon.
1(Fighter) Squadron will release a further 20 Paveway IV weapons when they deploy to the USA for Exercise Red Flag in January 2015. The Typhoon aircraft will be conducting full swing role training sorties, day and night, fighting through the hostile air and ground threats, and then conducting the Paveway IV releases as part of the missions. These sorties will also involve full integration with the US Air Force F22 Raptor aircraft, which is a key area for the RAF as it looks to introduce the Lightning II in the coming years.
Photographs: Jamie Hunter
RAF/MOD Crown Copyright 2014