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15 September 2012

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Typhoon Force Grows as Historic Squadron Reforms at Leuchars

New Typhoon Squadron takes to the skies in Scotland

Number 1 (Fighter) Squadron, one of the oldest squadrons in the Royal Air Force, has been returned to active service today. The stand-up of the Squadron, marked by a magnificent parade and flypast during the Royal Air Force Leuchars Airshow, sees the Squadron being equipped with the advanced multi-role Typhoon.

The Squadron was disbanded in 2010 with the retirement of the venerable Harrier from service but, today, the new 1 (Fighter) Squadron joins its sister unit – 6 Squadron – as the second Typhoon unit based in Scotland.

There are now four Typhoon frontline squadrons in the Royal Air Force - Numbers 3 (Fighter) and XI Squadrons are based at Royal Air Force Coningsby in Lincolnshire. Ultimately, the Typhoon Force will grow to five frontline squadrons.

Number 1 (Fighter) Squadron’s stand-up took place as the Fife base hosted its airshow, one of the largest annual visitor attractions in Scotland. The squadron has a proud history and boasts the Battle of Britain among its many battle honours.

Just as through its past, its primary role will be to protect the UK’s airspace – these days as part of the Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) mission, with fighters ready around-the-clock to intercept unidentified aircraft approaching our airspace. The Typhoon is a true combat proven, multi-role fighter, and recently saw service in Libya where it undertook precision strike missions and applied relentless pressure against Gaddafi's forces, denying them the ability to brutally oppress the people of Libya.

Air Officer Scotland and Station Commander of Royal Air Force Leuchars, Air Commodore Gavin Parker, said:

“This is a very proud day for the Royal Air Force in Scotland. The fact that we are in a position to stand up another Typhoon squadron, which will be able to share the QRA workload with 6 Squadron and develop the multi-role capabilities of Typhoon, speaks volumes for the efforts of everyone here at RAF Leuchars.”

The return of 1 (Fighter) Squadron to the Royal Air Force’s operational ranks was marked with a parade during which the deputy RAF Chaplain-in-Chief consecrated a new squadron standard. There followed three dramatic flypasts recognising the Squadron’s proud history and new role:

  • First, a Hurricane and Spitfire from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight – both aircraft types were flown by 1(Fighter) Squadron pilots during the Second World War.
  • Then came a four-ship formation of Typhoons, flown by pilots from both 1 (Fighter) and 6 Squadrons, which formally welcomed the Squadron to their new home at Royal Air Force Leuchars.
  • Finally, the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team - the Red Arrows - paid the Squadron their own tribute, flying past the parade in ‘Big Battle’ formation, whilst trailing the Squadron colours of red and white, as they arrived at the Airshow.

The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, was the reviewing officer for the poignant stand-up parade. He said:

“It is great to see such a distinguished squadron back in active service equipped with the combat-proven Typhoon. Our Typhoon force will continue to grow, ultimately to five squadrons, and when combined with the Tornado Force and, in due course, with our Lightning II force, the Royal Air Force will be well placed to face the challenges of the future.

“As always, when I visit the RAF Leuchars Airshow, I am heartened by the very real depth of support that the people of Scotland have for the Royal Air Force, for which I am most grateful.”

Wing Commander Mark Flewin, Officer Commanding 1(Fighter) Squadron, said:

“1(Fighter) Squadron has a proud and distinguished history as a founder squadron in the Royal Flying Corps, a history that I am delighted we can continue to build on with Typhoon, particularly during the squadron’s centenary year.

“Squadron personnel are excited about the challenge ahead and I look forward to developing and leading 1 (Fighter) Squadron as a key component of the Royal Air Force’s combat air capabilities.”

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