RAF Coningsby

RAF Coningsby hosted US Air Force jet fighters this week as part of a three-day training exercise.

The United States Air Force is testing new ways of deploying its aircraft during potential crises through the Agile Combat Employment concept.

The recent Mission Assurance Exercise saw a number of F-15E Strike Eagles from Lakenheath operated from Coningsby alongside RAF Typhoons.

USAF Colonel Jason Camilletti, Commander of the 48th Fighter Wing, said: “ACE means fighting on the move, with small units and small footprints.

“Exercising elements of ACE enables US forces in Europe to operate from locations with varying levels of capacity and support, ensuring airmen and aircrews are postured to deliver lethal combat power across the spectrum of military operations.”

F15 arriving at RAF Coningsby on Wednesday 30th September as part of 3 day US Airforce exercise. | Photo: MOD

Crew of US Air Force F15 preparing to depart RAF Coningsby. | Photo: MOD

Group Captain Matt Peterson, Station Commander at RAF Coningsby, said: “Our two air forces share a long and distinguished history of co-operation, achievement, and joint sacrifice.

“For example, in World War Two US airman Lieutenant Carl Joseph Van-Horn sadly died flying from Coningsby on D-Day in 1944.

“The Typhoon squadrons based here train weekly with our colleagues from RAF Lakenheath over the North Sea, deepening our understanding of how our respective forces operate; honing the skills required to operate in coalitions around the world.

“Hosting the Strike Eagles here is part of that ongoing process that further strengthens the already close ties between our stations.”

F15 Strike Eagle from 48th Fighter Wing, US Airforce, RAF Lakenheath shortly before departure at RAF Coningsby on Wednesday, September 30. | Photo: MOD

Television star Sir David Jason will feature in a one-off ITV documentary next week about the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at RAF Coningsby.

The hour-long documentary Flying For Britain with David Jason will air on ITV at 8pm on Tuesday, September 15.

It marks the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, a Second World War campaign in which British fighters tried to keep the country safe against attacks from German pilots.

Sir David, who is best known for playing Derek “Del Boy’ Trotter in Only Fools and Horses, met the RAF team who fly and maintain the country’s historical aircraft that make up the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. The BBMF consists of 12 aircraft.

Sir David Jason is also a qualified helicopter pilot and aircraft enthusiast. Photo: Tony Ward/ITV

He also took to the skies and flew alongside veteran Battle of Britain Hurricane and Spitfire firefighters. Photo: Tony Ward/ITV

Sir David is also a qualified helicopter pilot and aircraft enthusiast who used to fly spitfires.

In the documentary he sees the pilots practising formation flying and rehearsing for public displays. He also took to the skies and flew alongside veteran Battle of Britain Hurricane and Spitfire firefighters.

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight operates 12 aircraft. Photo: Tony Ward/ITV

Sir David Jason at RAF Coningsby. Photo: Tony Ward/ITV

The documentary also includes filming behind the scenes in hangars and workshops where the historic machines are maintained.

The programme starting filming as the country went into lockdown, so Sir David speaks to the volunteers from the Memorial Flight about how they plan to salvage their previously-packed display schedule.

Typhoons from RAF Coningsby will be carrying out night-flying over the next two weeks for the pilots to practice core skills.

RAF Coningsby is home to two frontline, combat-ready squadrons and is the training station for Typhoon pilots. The pilots need to be able to operate the aircraft in a wide range of scenarios with various skills.

When this has been carried out before, local residents have been warned of the noise and potential disturbance it may cause.

RAF Coningsby said in a statement: “Over the next two weeks we will be practising some of those skills at night, for example carrying out Close Air Support to troops on the ground, intercepting aircraft that pose a threat to the UK and our allies, and tanking from air-to-air refuelling aircraft from over the North Sea.

“These tasks represent some of the core skills our pilots need when deployed in an operational environment.

“Given the additional complexity caused by operating at night, which is very possibly when pilots will most be called upon to carry out these tasks.

“It is essential that they continue to practise the skills required. Thank you for your support.”

Skills being practised will including carrying out Close Air Support to troops on the ground. Photo: RAF Coningsby

Typhoons based at RAF Coningsby were recently called into action to intercept a Ryanair flight to the UK due to a “potential security threat” on Sunday, August 30.

The aircraft was escorted safely to Stansted. Two men, who arrived on a flight from Vienna, were detained under the Terrorism Act.

A 34-year-old Kuwaiti national and a 48-year-old Italian were held by officers from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit shortly after their flight landed.

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