RAF Coningsby 8th October 2008

XI(F) Squadron at RAF Coningsby recorded two historical 'firsts' for the RAF’s Typhoon force on 8th October 2008. At 15:45 local time, FGR.4s ZJ933 DF & ZJ935 DJ took off from Coningsby’s runway 25 as 'RAZOR 21' Flight, each armed with a single 1000lb Paveway II Laser Guided Bomb (LGB) and the Litening III Targeting Pod.

The target was Garvie Island, off Cape Wrath, in the far north west of Scotland, this being the only location in the United Kingdom where aircraft can release live high explosive weapons. The LGBs were dropped from an altitude of 10,000ft with great accuracy by both Typhoons; the Sqn’s twin seat T.1A acted as a camera ship to record the event, as this event also marked the first occasion that live LGBs had been released on a UK Air Weapons Range.

As the Typhoon lead air to ground Squadron, XI(F) Sqn deployed to the USA in the spring of 2008 to take part in two separate exercises: TORPEDO FOCUS and GREEN FLAG WEST; the former being the RAF’s annual heavy weapons training programme and the latter the premier USAF Close Air Support (CAS) exercise.

Participation in both exercises would lead to the Typhoon’s multi-role declaration; however, no live LGBs were dropped during these exercises as all weapons used were inert concrete filled weapons, hence the major significance of these first live drops.


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© On Target Aviation 2008