Typhoon in to the 21st Century
Part 3: Typhoon into the 21st Century
RAF Coningsby, having started life as a wartime bomber airfield, has now evolved into the RAF’s foremost fighter base, responsible for the evolution of the Services air defence tactics and doctrine. As part of Number 1 Group, RAF Coningsby is one of the three air defence fighter bases in the United Kingdom.
This new phase in the Stations history was heralded with the relocation of
17(Reserve) Squadron, the Operational Evaluation Unit, to Coningsby on
1 April 2005, with the tasking of bringing the Typhoon aircraft into service. On the 4 November 2005 29(Reserve) Squadron stood up as the Operational Conversion Unit, training pilots on the Typhoon.
On 31 March 2006, 3(Fighter) Squadron (Harrier) at RAF Cottesmore moved to Coningsby to operate as 3(Fighter) Squadron, the first Operational Typhoon Squadron. The formation of
3(F) Sqn marks the beginning of the transition of the Royal Air Force to a more agile, capable, flexible and adaptable expeditionary force, better equipped to meet the demands that are likely to be placed on it in the future. On the same day the Fast Jet and Weapons Operational Evaluation Unit acquired Squadron status when it was renamed as 41(Reserve) Squadron. The latest Coningsby acquisition is 6 Squadron who relocated from RAF Coltishall to RAF Coningsby on the 1 April 2006 to fly the remainder of the Jaguar fleet until its disbandment.
On the 1 April 2006, 121 Expeditionary Air Wing (121 EAW) was formed. The concept of forming this wing within the Air Force will provide a deployable air force structure, configured to provide discreet units of agile interoperable and capable air power. RAF Coningsby is one of nine RAF Stations which will train individuals units to provide Multi-role capability. Coningsby has operated as 121 EAW twice before, once in1945 flying Typhoon Fighters and again in 1956 with Venom Fighters, as part of the 2nd Tactical Air Force.
The past year has seen many changes across the Station but they have demonstrated that Royal Air Force Coningsby has maintained its place firmly at the forefront of the Royal Air Force.