Tag Archives: Marham

WITH VIDEO: RAF Tornados leave Afghanistan

RAF Tornados are heading home after five years. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
RAF Tornados are heading home after five years. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

The skies over Afghanistan gradually become a little bit more quiet. In September, Belgian Air Component F-16s left Kandahar airbase, following in the foot steps of NATO E-3A Component AWACS aircraft while in July, Dutch F-16s also ended operations. Now, it’s Royal Air Force Panavia Tornados that return home, ending close to five years of consecutive Afghanistan ops.

The six Tornados and their crew belong to 31 squadron, based at RAF Marham in Norfolk. They left Kandahar early morning on Tuesday 11 November, heading toward RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, which by no accident is the airbase that the Royal Air Force currently uses for air strikes against Islamic State (ISIS) forces in Iraq and Syria. After a stopover, the aircraft will return home to the UK.

Over Afghanistan, the aircraft were used for close air support and intelligence gathering, using their Litening III and RAPTOR reconnaissance pods. Over Iraq and Syria, Tornados of 2 squadron target ISIS forces. The deployment of number 2 squadron to Akrotiri meant that disbandment of the unit, planned originally for next March, has been postponed by a year. It’s the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II that will eventually replace the Tornado in the Royal Air Force, with the Royal Navy also set to use the new fighter.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

Lossiemouth no longer on Tornado frontline

A RAF Tornado GR4 breaking right over RAF Fairford (Image © Marcel Burger)
A RAF Tornado GR.4 breaking right over RAF Fairford (Image © Marcel Burger)

RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland is no longer a frontline airbase for Britain’s Panavia Tornado strike aircraft. The last two operational GR.4 squadrons, 12 (Bomber) and 617 ‘Dambusters’ were disbanded on the base at 28 March 2014.

According to the UK Ministry of Defence 15 (Reserve) Squadron will keep flying from Lossiemouth until 2015 to train Tornado pilots that will move to the only frontline Tornado base left: RAF Marham in England. From there 2, 9 and 31 Squadron will soldier on until the final Tornado interdictor strike aircraft will be retired in 2019.

RAF Lossiemouth will regain its frontline fighter status after the Summer of 2014, when 1F and 6 Squadron flying the Eurofighter Typhoon FGR.4 move north from their current home at RAF Leuchars. The role of the Tornado GR.4 strike aircraft will be performed by the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II in the future.

In 2016, the famous Dambusters of 617 squadron will reform to fly the F-35B. The squadron will then be located at RAF Marham in Norfolk.

Source: UK MoD

Related posts

Check out the Royal Air Force Orbat at Scramble.nl

Photo Special: Red Flag 14-01

A Royal Australian Air Force 77th Squadron F/A-18 Hornet arriving at Nellis AFB on 23 January 2014 (Image © Airman 1st Class Jason Couillard / USAF)
A Royal Australian Air Force No. 77 Squadron F/A-18 Hornet arriving at Nellis AFB on 23 January 2014
(Image © Airman 1st Class Jason Couillard / USAF)
The Royal Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force both join the US air forces in the first large scale Red Flag in the Nevada desert this year, held from 27 January to 14 February. Excellent work is being done by USAF staff photographers and we collected their best shots so far.

RAF Leuchars’s 6 Squadron sent its Eurofighter Typhoon FGR.4s fighters, with Panavia Tornado GR.4s strike aircraft from RAF Marham and a E-3D Sentry Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) from RAF Waddington joining in for the simulated combat. The Royal Australian Air Force sent McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A/B Hornet fighters and the Boeing E-7A Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft.

Very well known with all military aviation enthousiasts: epicentre of the operations is Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, from where the participating aircraft will use the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR). The vast operations theatre consists of 4,700 square miles (7562 km2) of land and 15,000 square miles (24,135 km2) of airspace.

The Royal Air Force opened a nice photo gallery of Red Flag 2014 but from the US Air Force staff photographers we got even more excellent hi-res material which screams to be seen! AIRheads↑Fly sends compliments to the Nellis Air Force Base Public Affairs office, and an especially warm thanks to the photographers: USAF airmen 1st class Jason Couillard, Joshua Kleinholz, Lorenz Crespo and Thomas Spangler.

Don’t forget to check out the Scramble Message Board Nellis AFB (KLSV/LSV) – MIL 2014 stream for a thorough list of participating aircraft and their serial numbers.

Sources: USAF / RAF / RAAF

A Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 assigned to the IX Bomber Squadron from Royal Air Force Station Marham, United Kingdom, takes off during Red Flag 14-1, 28 January 2014 (Image © Airman 1st Class Thomas Spangler / USAF)
A Royal Air Force Tornado GR.4 assigned to the IX Bomber Squadron from Royal Air Force Station Marham, United Kingdom, takes off during Red Flag 14-1, 28 January 2014 (Image © Airman 1st Class Thomas Spangler / USAF)
An F-15E Strike Eagle assigned to the 391st Fighter Squadron at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, takes off during Red Flag 14-1 at Nellis AFB, Nevada (Image © Airman 1st Class Jason Couillard / USAF)
A F-15E Strike Eagle assigned to the 391st Fighter Squadron at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, takes off during Red Flag 14-1, 28 January 2014 (Image © Airman 1st Class Jason Couillard / USAF)
A KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 92nd Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., takes off during Red Flag 14-1, 28 January 2014 (Image © Airman 1st Class Jason Couillard / USAF)
A KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 92nd Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, takes off during Red Flag 14-1, 28 January 2014 (Image © Airman 1st Class Jason Couillard / USAF)
U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Micah Smith, 135th Electronic Attack Squadron flight captain, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington, directs the pilot of an EA-18G Growler out of a parking spot prior to a training mission, 29 January 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base (Image © Airman 1st Class Joshua Kleinholz / USAF)
USN Petty Officer 3rd Class Micah Smith, 135th Electronic Attack Squadron flight captain, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington, directs the pilot of an EA-18G Growler out of a parking spot prior to a training mission, 29 January 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base (Image © Airman 1st Class Joshua Kleinholz / USAF)
Five F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 64th Aggressor Squadron await an end-of- runway inspection during Red Flag 14-, 24 January 2014 (Image © Airman 1st Class Lorenz Crespo / USAF)
Five F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 64th Aggressor Squadron await an end-of-runway inspection during Red Flag 14-1, 24 January 2014 (Image © Airman 1st Class Lorenz Crespo / USAF)
Royal Air Force Flight Lt. Richard Woods (right), and Squadron Leader David Bouldon, (left), IX Bomber Squadron GR4 Tornado pilots from RAF Marham, United Kingdom, step away from their aircraft for a debrief following a training mission, 28 January 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base (Image © Airman 1st Class Joshua Kleinholz / USAF)
Royal Air Force Flight Lt. Richard Woods (right), and Squadron Leader David Bouldon, (left), IX Bomber Squadron GR.4 Tornado pilots from RAF Marham, United Kingdom, step away from their aircraft for a debrief following a training mission, 28 January 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base (Image © Airman 1st Class Joshua Kleinholz / USAF)
An USAF F-22 Raptor assigned to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, takes off during Red Flag 14-1, 28 January 2014  (Image © Airman 1st Class Thomas Spangler / USAF)
An USAF F-22 Raptor assigned to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, takes off during Red Flag 14-1, 28 January 2014 (Image © Airman 1st Class Thomas Spangler / USAF)
A F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 64th Aggressors Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, takes off during Red Flag 14-1 (Image © Airman 1st Class Jason Couillard / USAF)
A F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 64th Aggressors Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, takes off during Red Flag 14-1 (Image © Airman 1st Class Jason Couillard / USAF)
A pair of RAAF F/A-18A Hornets assigned to 77th Squadron take off during Red Flag 14-1, 28 January 2014 (Image © Airman 1st Class Jason Couillard / USAF)
A pair of RAAF F/A-18A Hornets assigned to No. 77 Squadron take off during Red Flag 14-1, 28 January 2014
(Image © Airman 1st Class Jason Couillard / USAF)
The RAF E-3D Sentry assigned to the VIII Squadron at RAF Station Waddington, United Kingdeom, takes off during Red Flag 14-1, 28 January 2014 (Image © Airman 1st Class Thomasd Spangler / USAF)
The RAF E-3D Sentry assigned to the VIII Squadron at RAF Station Waddington, United Kingdeom, takes off during Red Flag 14-1, 28 January 2014 (Image © Airman 1st Class Thomasd Spangler / USAF)
An EA-6B Prowler assigned to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, takes off during Red Flag 14-1, 28 January 2014 (Image © Airman 1st Class Jason Couillard / USAF)
An EA-6B Prowler assigned to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, takes off during Red Flag 14-1, 28 January 2014 (Image © Airman 1st Class Jason Couillard / USAF)
Aircraft maintainers from the 757th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Viper Aircraft Maintenance Unit, perform pre-flight checks on an F-16 Fighting Falcon from the 64th Aggressor Squadron before a Red Flag 14-1 training mission, 29 January 2014 (Image © Airman 1st Class Joshua Kleinholz / USAF)
Aircraft maintainers from the 757th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Viper Aircraft Maintenance Unit, perform pre-flight checks on an F-16 Fighting Falcon from the 64th Aggressor Squadron before a Red Flag 14-1 training mission,
29 January 2014 (Image © Airman 1st Class Joshua Kleinholz / USAF)

Anglo-French combat: Joint Warrior kicks off

RAF Typhoon ZJ803 during an earlier training (Image © Marcel Burger)
RAF Typhoon ZJ803 during an earlier exercise (Image © Marcel Burger)

Royal Air Force Tornados, Armée de l’Air (AdlA) Mirage 2000-5s, Orion maritime patrol aircraft and much more gets airborne on Sunday October 6 in the skies of the United Kingdom as the autumn edition of the joint Anglo-French combat exercise Joint Warrior kicks off.

About 60 to 80 aircraft will take part in the air, sea and ground operations, including 40 aircraft from the Royal Air Force. RAF Wing Commander Steve Boyle responsible for the planning explains: “Joint Warrior simulates a very broad range of evolving crisis and conflict scenarios that could be realistically experienced in current and recent operations. We do this to meet the participant nations training needs.”

Disciplines to display include so-called Composite Air Operations. Aircraft of different types, roles and units fly from varied locations in the UK and France and are combined into one package. When practicing Close Air Support sometimes aircraft will use live weapons. The same goes for the Joint Fires, when ships off the coast, land mortars and combat aircraft will engage targets on the Cape Wrath Weapons Range. Furthermore Joint Warrior will see intelligence gathering and dispatch of imagery and video through other forces, anti-submarine warfare and counter piracy.

Joint Warrior is held twice a year. During the current 11-day joint multinational 2013 autumn edition aircraft will fly from the following locations.

RAF Brize Norton, England
Air-to-air refueling tankers

RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland
RAF Tornado GR4s
US Navy P-3
Royal Canadian Air Force CP-140 Aurora
Aéronautique Navale (French Naval Aviation) Atlantique 2
Marine (German Navy) P-3C

RAF Marham, England
RAF Tornado GR4s

RAF Leeming, England
RAF Typhoons (normally based at RAF Leuchars)
RAF Hawks
AdlA KC-135
AdlA Mirage 2000Ns

BA116 Luxeuil/St.Sauveur, France
Mirage 2000-5Fs

Ships at sea
Corvette L16 Absalon (Denmark, flagship, capable of carrying 2 helicopters), HMS Monmouth, HMS Portland, HMS Somerset, HMS Sutherland, HMS Cattistock, HMS Brocklesby, HMS Bangor, Type 23 Frigate HMS Northumberland and undisclosed ships from the navies of Norway and France.

Source: RAF/RN/Danish Navy