Hello Fighter Sweep community,

I’d like to introduce our newest, and youngest contributor.  Peter Wall is only fifteen and lives in England.  He is training in civilian gliders and is an avid flight gear collector, with over 20 items of rare gear from across the globe. He is also the sole administrator of the Instagram account @worldwide_military_aviation. Boasting tens of thousands of followers accumulated by Peter in just over a year of the account’s existence.

Peter is planning a career in the Royal Air Force as a pilot in the coming years.  He brings us his perspective of fighter aviation from across the Atlantic.  As we know, the Russian Air Force has increased their presence beyond their borders; from Syria to Sweden and all points between.  Here is Peter’s account of the RAF’s readiness in the face of increased airborne activity.

Peter Wall
Peter Wall

On May the second 2016 at around 21:50BST. Residents of Yorkshire, England took to various social media sites to report ‘Massive explosions’. Many calling the emergency services in terror believing them to be a danger. However it was soon confirmed that these thunderous bangs were RAF aircraft scrambling to intercept an unresponsive aircraft.

Two 3rd Fighter Squadron Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4s were scrambled on Quick Reaction Alert (abbreviated simply to QRA) taking off from the main QRA station for the South of the United Kingdom; RAF Conningsby. The aircraft in question was merely an Air France aircraft with a communications problems. After communications were re-established the aircraft was peacefully escorted, and landed safely in Newcastle at 22:20 local time. Only around 30 minutes after the first sonic boom was reported. Although this event was a ‘false alarm’ so to speak. The threat is still very real…

Copyright: Geoffrey Lee, Planefocus Ltd.
Copyright: Geoffrey Lee, Planefocus Ltd.

On the 17th of February again this year RAF Typhoons were launched from the home of the RAF’s Typhoons and Tornados defending the North of the UK, RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland. Where they subsequently reached the suspicious aircraft… A Russian Air Force Tupolev Tu-160 ‘Blackjack’ long range supersonic bomber. Russian aircraft frequently fly by the coast of the United Kingdom to test reaction times of air defenses such as the aircraft responsible for QRA.

Suspicious aircraft are detected on loner range radar by the RAF at RAF High Wycombe. Home to the National Air Defence Operations Centre, the spine of the United Kingdom’s air defenses. The facility is buried 120ft underground in a nuclear bunker to prevent it being compromised in the event of an attack. QRA aircraft will then launch from one of two stations, RAF Conningsby or Lossiemouth. If necessary, an RAF Voyager tanker can be scrambled to assist the QRA aircraft from RAF Brize-Norton.

The Typhoon QRA weapons fit with 4x ASRAAM and 4x AMRAAM with 2x 1000 litre drop tanks. Copyright: Photograph by Geoffrey Lee, Planefocus Ltd.
The Typhoon QRA weapons fit with 4x ASRAAM and 4x AMRAAM with 2x 1000 litre drop tanks.
Copyright: Photograph by Geoffrey Lee, Planefocus Ltd.

With almost 100 years of the RAF defending the skies of the United Kingdom. It is clear that the RAF’s skills in keeping the airspace of Britain: controlled, secure and most importantly safe! And they will proudly do so well into the future.