RAF Coningsby

The Lancaster PA474 took to the skies in Lincolnshire for the first time this year on Wednesday.

A few flights in the Dakota aircraft were carried out earlier this year in preparation for the Lancaster’s first flight of 2022 on April 27.

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, which is based on RAF Coningsby, said in a post on Facebook that it was “Great to see her back in the air”.

Now the pilots will continue their work in the Lancaster ahead of the 2022 display season, which begins this summer.

Four Typhoon jets from the 3 (Fighter Squadron) normally based at RAF Coningsby have been deployed to Romania to join the long-standing NATO Air Policing mission for the Black Sea region.

The jets will conduct the NATO Air Policing mission – Operation Biloxi – from Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base on the Romanian Black Sea coast.

Operation Biloxi is the British name for the mission and it is the fourth time since 2017 that the RAF have conducted it. This deployment is in addition to long-standing continuous missions undertaken by NATO Allies across the Eastern Flank.

The mission is supported by 150 RAF personnel based at RAF Wittering, who form the headquarters of an Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW). The personnel recently had training at RAF Leeming’s Operational Training Centre.

Air policing is a purely defensive operation and a permanent NATO mission which began in 1961 during the Cold War. The mission ensures the security and integrity of all NATO Alliance member’s airspaces.

Airspace is monitored by operation centres and where it is assessed that an interception is required, NATO aircraft can be scrambled as part of a Quick Reaction Alert. The UK supports Romania by augmenting its own capabilities.

The RAF deployment to Romania has been supported by personnel from No 1 Expeditionary Logistics Squadron and No 2 Mechanical Transport Squadron. It is part of the RAF Support Force formed in 2020

Both squadrons have prepared and transported equipment and supplies to maintain and sustain the Typhoon jets during the mission.

James Heappey, Minister for the Armed Forces, said: “The UK remains committed to NATO and European security in the face of Russian aggression and the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

“Operation Biloxi is a long-standing NATO mission and the Royal Air Force are playing a central role in security and deterrence in Europe.”

Air Vice-Marshal Phil Robinson, Officer Commanding 11 Group, said: “The arrival of our personnel and equipment in the region highlights the RAF’s continued commitment and contribution to the NATO Air Policing mission in Romania.

“During the deployment, we will be working alongside our Romanian and other NATO partners, enabling the delivery of the mission and protecting and reassuring our allies, whilst building confidence and maintaining deterrence.”

The RAF’s Typhoon Display pilot is practicing in the skies at RAF Scampton for two weeks.

The aircraft based at RAF Coningsby has been practicing overhead at RAF Scampton, subject to weather and serviceability, since March 7 and will continue to do so until March 18.

RAF Typhoon Display pilot, Flight Lieutenant Adam O’Hare, will be carrying out the practice displays as it better utilises the available airspace.

It also gives the pilot the opportunity to practice at an unfamiliar location.

The ‘Blackjack’ aircraft being flown by Flight Lieutenant Adam O’Hare. | Photo: MoD

RAF Typhoon Display pilot, Flight Lieutenant Adam O’Hare. | Photo: MoD

Meanwhile, Typhoon FGR4 jets flying from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire and RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus are involved in a NATO led Operation, which was initiated due to the unfolding events in Ukraine.

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