RAF Typhoons Head To Far East Amid Heightened Tensions

RAF Typhoons will take part in joint exercises with South Korea, in a move that could increase tensions with the North.
They will also be training alongside the Japanese and Malaysian air forces during a tour of the Far East.
Referring to the deployment, Wg Cdr Roger Elliott, Officer Commanding II (AC) Sqn, said: 
“This is the most ambitious deployment that the Typhoon Force has ever done. I think it’s probably the most ambitious deployment that the Air Force has done to the Far East."
According to Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier:
"We are trying to demonstrate the Royal Air Force's capability to exercise a global reach; to work with our partner air forces... and show that the UK is a global player with global interests."
Four Typhoons left on Monday, and the remaining four set off on Wednesday.
The exercises are a showcase of the fighter jets' interoperability and capabilities for potential foreign buyers.
Getting them to Asia is a logistical challenge because the maximum range of a Typhoon is only 3,790 km (2,350 miles) and so they would need to refuel several times on the way.
The jets will be accompanied on the journey by Voyager tanker aircraft, which carry a minimum of 80 tonnes of aviation fuel.
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This is the equivalent of 53 Mini Coopers, or 444 Sumo wrestlers.
While refuelling, the Voyager is able to dispense 80 litres of fuel a second, which could fill 125 Minis in a minute.
C-17 Globemaster and C-130J Hercules transport aircraft will also support the tour.
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A C-17 Globemaster
Approximately 170 RAF support personnel will also fly out with the jets to assist with their deployment.
Afterwards, four of the jets will return to the UK while the other four will go on to Japan for roughly two weeks before then flying on to South Korea.
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A C-130J Hercules
The Typhoons have set off from RAF Lossiemouth and will initially be piloted by 1 Squadron before passing on to 2 Squadron later on in the tour.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier has also said of the deployment:
"This exercise is tremendously important and it demonstrates that even though the Royal Air Force is committed to operations in the Middle East and elsewhere, we still have the capability to deploy effectively to the other side of the world, with both Typhoons, supporting Voyagers and air transport, and the Red Arrows as well. This reinforces the message that the UK is a globally-engaged player with global power, reinforcing our relationship with allies, and also promoting UK prosperity".
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The tour coincides with a 14-country tour by the Red Arrows which is expected to include their first visit to China.

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