RAF Coningsby

The Avro Lancaster PA474 returned to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) at RAF Coningsby on Saturday, September 11 after ten months away for routine maintenance.

The aircraft underwent routine scheduled depth maintenance with the Aircraft Restoration Company at Duxford.

The PA474, which is one of only two Lancaster bombers still flying today, can now rejoin the rest of the BBMF fleet for the remainder of the season.

The Lancaster was away for 10 months for repairs. | Photo: Lisa Harding

Officer Commanding BBMF, Sqn Ldr Mark Discombe said: “It is with great excitement and pride that the BBMF welcomes back our Lancaster.

“The minor servicing, conducted at Duxford, has been a whole force endeavour with both service personnel and contractors working closely together.

“The BBMF hangar at RAF Coningsby has felt empty without the Lancaster, not just because of her size but also her sheer presence.

“The Lancaster represents the bravery of the Bomber Command air and ground crews that fought during the Second World War, with many paying the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

“After a short period of training we are looking forward to getting the Lancaster up and in the public eye once more.”

The PA474 is one of only two Lancaster bombers still flying today. | Photo: Lisa Harding

Lancaster pilot Flt Lt Seb Davies said: “It is absolutely fabulous to have the Lancaster flying again following an extended period of maintenance. We can’t wait to show her in her native environment in the coming weeks.”

A new Typhoon aircraft has been revealed at RAF Coningsby, and it will sport the colours of the Union Jack.

The Eurofighter Typhoon, which will be based at RAF Coningsby, was unveiled to the public on Friday, after six months of work.

It has a standout colour scheme of red, white and blue, depicting the Union Jack flag to champion patriotism for the United Kingdom.

Anarchy 1 will wear the Union Jack colours with pride.

It has been called Anarchy 1, and can climb up to 10,000ft in the air, as well as flying up to 600mph just 100ft from the ground.

The aircraft will be used at air shows both at home and overseas throughout 2021 and 2022, after the 2020 season was cancelled by the coronavirus pandemic.

Flight Lieutenant James Sainty was the man who flew the new aircraft on the day of the reveal.

The 1,200mph Typhoon will appear at over 30 shows this year, spanning from Britain itself to Hungary and Finland.

It will take the term “flying the flag” to a whole new level when it eventually hits the air later in the year.

An incredible sight to behold.

Aircraft flying from RAF Coningsby and RAF Waddington will be part a regular quarterly training operation over the North Sea known as Exercise Point Blank, which will be ongoing until the end of next week.

Exercise Point Blank is conducted by the Royal Air Force and the United States Air Force based in the UK. However, for this exercise, US aircraft from other European air bases and the Royal Netherlands Air Force are also taking part.

The RAF Typhoons taking part are drawn from 3(Fighter), XI(Fighter), 29 and 41 squadrons and are being supported by Voyager tankers.


Royal Air Force Typhoons from 29 Squadron based at RAF Coningsby are taking part in Exercise Point Blank. | Photo: UK MOD Crown Copyright 2021

An E-3D Sentry during take-off from RAF Waddington on April 6, 2021. | Photo: UK MOD Crown Copyright 2021

The RAF Voyagers will operate in formation to allow up to four fighters to simultaneously refuel.

The exercise also sees all three of the United States Air Force European based fighter wings taking part for the first time.

It is designed to promote interoperability between 4.5 and 5th Generation aircraft as they exercise together during complex Air Missions.

Exercise Point Blank is a regular RAF and United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) exercise that this year also includes the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF). | Photo: UK MOD Crown Copyright 2021

The UK-based 48th Fighter Wing from RAF Lakenheath will be joined by F-16s from Aviano Air Base inItaly and Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany.

The F-16s will be flying long range sorties supported by Air to Air Refueling from USAF KC-135 tankers based at RAF Mildenhall and so will not be landing in the UK.

The Royal Netherlands Air Force are also participating in the exercise flying F-16s and F35As from their bases in the Netherlands. In total over 50 aircraft will be committed to the exercise flying missions for four days.

Planning, briefing and debriefing for this exercise is being conducted entirely remotely. | Photo: UK MOD Crown Copyright 2021

Exercise Point Blank is being controlled by the Tactical Command and Control teams in Number 1 Air Control Centre at RAF Scampton, a part of the UK’s Air Surveillance and Control System, and on board a RAF E-3D Sentry from 8 Squadron RAF.

Planning, briefing and debriefing for this exercise is being conducted entirely remotely.

The exercise is designed to promote interoperability between 4.5 and 5th Generation aircraft. | Photo: UK MOD Crown Copyright 2021

Squadron Leader Jim Fordham, the RAF’s exercise coordinator based at RAF Coningsby, said: “Exercise Point Blank is a hugely valuable training opportunity for the RAF.

“It allows us to practice integrating with fighters from the UK’s closest ally and other NATO partners, going up against a range of simulated modern air and surface-air threats.

“The different aircraft types each have their own strengths and weaknesses, but when combined together our lethality and survivability however is greatly increased.

“The only way to generate this formidable allied capability is to regularly train together, developing and improving our tactics.”

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