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Typhoon squadron stands up in Scotland

18 Sep 12

One of the oldest squadrons in the Royal Air Force, 1 (Fighter) Squadron, has returned to active service at RAF Leuchars in Fife as a Typhoon unit.

The squadron was disbanded in 2011 with the retirement of the Harrier from service. The new 1 (Fighter) Squadron [1 (F) Sqn] joins its sister unit - 6 Squadron - as the second Typhoon unit based in Scotland.

Just as in the past, the primary role of 1 (F) Sqn will be to protect the UK's airspace as part of the Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) mission, with fighters ready around-the-clock to intercept unidentified aircraft approaching UK airspace.

The stand-up of the squadron was marked by a parade and flypast during the RAF Leuchars Air Show, one of the largest annual visitor attractions in Scotland.

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

ACM Dalton 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 Air Show 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."

After the stand-up parade, during which the RAF Deputy Chaplain-in-Chief consecrated a new squadron standard, three flypasts took place recognising the squadron's proud history and new role.

A Hurricane and Spitfire from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight kicked off the display. Both aircraft were flown by 1 (F) Sqn pilots during the Second World War.

Then came a four-ship formation of Typhoons, flown by pilots from both of the Scotland-based Typhoon squadrons, to formally welcome 1 (F) Sqn to their new home at RAF Leuchars.

Finally, the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, paid the squadron their own tribute, flying over the parade in 'Big Battle' formation whilst trailing the squadron colours of red and white as they arrived at the Air Show.

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

Air Officer Scotland and Station Commander of RAF 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."

Wing Commander Mark Flewin, Officer Commanding 1 (F) Sqn, 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."

1 (F) Sqn has a proud history and boasts the Battle of Britain among its many battle honours.

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