RAF Coningsby to receive boost as Prime Minister reveals extension of Typhoon life

Prime Minister David Cameron will announce a 10-year extension to the operational lifespan of the RAF’s Typhoon jets at Coningsby, as the UK government sets out its defence strategy following increased security threats.

The £178 billion investment in defence equipment and support over the next decade forms the basis of the government’s five year National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security review, which will be unveiled in the House of Commons on November 23.

The review comes as the Prime Minister is in talks with French President Francois Hollande following the ISIL attacks in Paris on November 13, which killed 130 people.

Leading the investment will be the extension of the life of the multirole Typhoon for 10 extra years through to 2040.

This development will see two additional squadrons created, giving a total of seven frontline squadrons, consisting of around 12 aircraft per squadron.

Investment in the Typhoon’s ground attack capability will be announced, and the aircraft will be fitted with a new active electronically scanned array radar to ensure they can continue to operate in hostile environments in the future.

The Typhoons are prepared for flight at RAF Coningsby. Photo: MoD

The Typhoons are prepared for flight at RAF Coningsby. Photo: MoD

The investment is likely to be welcomed by RAF Coningsby, which is the RAF’s Southern Typhoon Main Operating Base.

Coningsby is home to two frontline, combat ready squadrons – 3 (Fighter) Squadron and XI Squadron, the Typhoon OCU, 29 (Reserve) Squadron, plus the 41 (Reserve) Test & Evaluation Squadron, which comprises both Typhoon and Tornado elements.

The Prime Minister will also announce to MPs the creation of two new 5,000 strong ‘strike brigades’ by 2025 to be rapidly deployable and able to self-deploy thousands of kilometres.

Funding for nine new Boeing P8 maritime patrol aircraft for maritime surveillance, anti-submarine and anti-surface ship warfare will also be revealed.

Prime Minister David Cameron. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Prime Minister David Cameron. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

David Cameron said: “Our armed forces, our police and our security and intelligence agencies put their lives on the line every day.

“Their service is an inspiration to us all and they are the pride of our nation.

“Through this National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review we will back them and use our hard-earned economic strength to support our armed forces, and to give those in our police and our security and intelligence agencies who fight terrorism the resources they need to help keep our country safe.”

The announcement is hoped to bring significant benefits to Lincolnshire’s economy.

Councillor Colin Davie, Executive Member for Economic Development at Lincolnshire County Council. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Councillor Colin Davie, Executive Member for Economic Development at Lincolnshire County Council. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Councillor Colin Davie, Executive Member for Economic Development, said: “As the home of the RAF, this announcement can only be good news for Lincolnshire.

“The Prime Minister has talked about extra spending on Typhoons and drones, both of which are predominantly based in the county, so I think it’s a safe bet that we’ll benefit.

“It could mean hundreds of new highly-skilled defence staff and their families moving into the county, spending money with local businesses and boosting our economy.

“So we await the details on this new investment with interest.”