A fourth operational Typhoon squadron has been welcomed to RAF Lossiemouth in Moray, north-east Scotland, where it joins the mission to protect UK and NATO airspace.
Personnel and aircraft of IX(B) Squadron will play a central role in the UK’s Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Force - tasked with being ready to take off within minutes if an alert is triggered.
The Squadron was officially stood up at a ceremonial parade and flypast at their new home today, but has been operational since the 1 April.
The standing up of the new Squadron also coincides with RAF Lossiemouth marking its 80th anniversary.
Some of the Squadron’s aircraft will be painted in distinctive markings to identify them as training ‘adversaries’, in their role as ‘aggressors’.
They will provide a sterner training test to RAF and NATO fast-jet pilots, playing the role of opposing aircraft which match their speed and manoeuvrability whilst using the latest real-world dogfighting and air combat tactics against them.
Speaking at the ceremony, Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, said "RAF Lossiemouth has and will continue to play a key role in the defence of the United Kingdom":
"Today’s transition of IX Sqn from Tornado to Typhoon is one important part of the expansion of RAF Lossiemouth which will see the number of service personnel here increase to some 2,300, supported by a further 1,800 MOD civilian and contractor staff.
"I am proud to see our Combat Air capabilities continue to grow, a necessity as they will undoubtedly continue to be in exceptionally high demand on operations, here in the UK and across the world."
Quick Reaction Alert involves the entire UK Air Defence system being on standby for immediate readiness, 24/7, 365 days a year. It involves aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Coningsby, which are tasked with protecting northern and southern UK airspace respectively.
Typhoons from RAF Lossiemouth have been scrambled four times in recent months, as long-range Russian bombers approached UK airspace.
Personnel and Typhoons from RAF Lossiemouth also conducted a NATO Air Policing mission role in Romania in 2018, where they scrambled eight times in response to 20 Russian aircraft as part of assurance measures for eastern allies.
Later this year, RAF Lossiemouth aircraft will deploy to Iceland to conduct a further NATO Air Policing mission, while other aircraft from the UK Typhoon force deploy to Estonia on a similar task.
The Typhoon has exceptional performance that makes it capable of intercepting aircraft from the smallest light aircraft to the largest of airliners.
The supersonic fighter has the ability of reaching all corners of the UK’s airspace within minutes of getting airborne.