report by: Thierry LETELLIER
RAF Coningsby is one of two air defence fighter bases in the United Kingdom (RAF Leuchars is the other one) and currently the primary UK airbase for the British Aerospace (Bae). Commencement of Typhoon operations began with the relocation of 17(R) Squadron to Coningsby on 2005 . This was then followed on November 2005 when 29 (R) Squadron stood up as the Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) for the type. Seventeenth squadron is the current Test & Evaluation Squadron for all types of RAF Typhoons.
on march 2006 ; 3 Squadron came to Coningsby as the first operational Typhoon squadron.On April 2006, the 121st Expeditionary Air Wing (121 EAW) was also formed at RAF Coningsby . RAF Coningsby being one of nine RAF Stations which will train individual units to provide a multi-role capability. On 2007, 11 Squadron, a former PANAVIA Tornado F.3 unit from RAF Leeming also re-formed at Coningsby as the second front-line Typhoon squadron at Coningsby alongside number 3 Squadron.
The other unit currently based at RAF Coningsby is the Fast Jet and Weapons Operational Evaluation Unit, better known as 41 (Reserve) Squadron. Flying the PANAVIA Tornado GR.4/4A the unit rule is the development of operational tactics, evaluation of avionics and weapons such as ASRAAM and Storm Shadow . The unit’s tasks are carried out in connexion with defence manufacturers and front-line squadrons. The unit currently operates just three Tornado GR.4 aircraft.
Southern QRA:- The ‘Southern QRA’ (Quick Reaction Alert) is part of the UK Air Defence System.. Typhoon’s from both 3 Sqn and 11 Sqn currently form the Southern QRA at Coningsby, with two aircraft always ready to intercept any target that appear in UK airspace on a few minute readiness basis. Their basic weaponery for this type of mission consit on: 4 x Raytheon AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and 4 x AIM-132 Advanced Short Range Air to Air Missiles (ASRAAM
Last but not least ; the Battle of Britain memorial flight is also hosted in RAF Coningsby with the legendary trio of Lancaster Spitfire and Hurricane ; completed with chipmunk and Dakota.
technical information source : RAF