Royal Air Force pilots and engineers arrived in the U.S. this week to begin training exercises with their U.S. Air Force colleagues for the first joint training exercise featuring the Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 and the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.
About 200 personnel from XI Squadron, stationed at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, England, have joined forces with the U.S.A.F.’s famed 1st Fighter Wing of Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.
“The exercise gives us valuable interaction with our allies as well as a great opportunity to integrate with the Typhoon,” said Col. Kevin Robbins, 1st Fighter Wing commander. “It’s important for us as coalition partners to have that level of familiarity to make us more tactically proficient should the time ever come to utilize this training.”
The two units will participate in Exercise Western Zephyr, testing the capabilities and tactics of both the Raptor and Typhoon.
“The Raptor is a fifth-generation, low-observable aircraft and we need to operate with them to enhance our joint capability,” said Squadron Leader Andy Chisholm, XI Squadron’s executive officer. “It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. You have to practice, and practice makes perfect.”
The Typhoon pilots flew their aircraft from Coningsby to Langley via the Azores and Bermuda. After Exercise Western Zephyr, the squadron will move on to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada to take part in the prestigious Red Flag exercise.
Photo and story by the Royal Air Force