Air Force

April 19, 2012

Royal Air Force trains with A-10s

Senior Airman Brittany Dowdle
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Saphfire Cook/Released
A Royal Air Force flight engineer directs the Tornado GR-4 as it taxis down the Snowbird Ramp here April 4. Members of the RAF 31 Squadron are visiting D-M for training on our Snowbird Ramp.

The Royal Air Force’s Tornado GR4 is scheduled to be at Davis-Monthan until April 23 for Exercise Torpedo Focus.

Torpedo Focus is a heavy weapons training exercise for Tornados to work with A-10 pilots in D-M’s vast airspace. The Royal Air Force comes to D-M annually for this training that allows them to train side by side A-10 pilots in live-round detonations.

“In the U.S. you have fantastic bombing ranges which allow us to employ our heavy weapons said Flight Lt. Steven Eccles, 31 Squadron pilot.

“We don’t have those back home in the U.K. It’s great for us to drop live heavy weapons on the huge range complexes here.”

While Eccles appreciates the amenities the US bases offer, he’s more thankful for the real world application that training affords. “The training is especially important because it allows us to practice what we’ll do for real in operation,” he said. “It allows us to work with our coalition allies, the U.S. Air Force. We can practice for operations in Afghanistan and any potential conflicts which may happen around the globe.”

Not only do the British Tornado GR4’s train here at D-M, they also go to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., for Exercise Red Flag and Exercise Green Flag.

Red Flag is the Air Force’s premier air-to-air combat training exercise. The exercise gives pilots the experience of multiple, intensive air combat sorties in the safety of a training environment.

Exercise Green Flag is air-to-ground training exercise. Aircraft and crews fly from Nellis AFB in support of ground combat training at Fort Irwin, Calif.

The Tornado GR4 is a variable geometry, two-seat, day or night, all-weather attack aircraft capable of delivering a wide variety of weapons. The GR4 also has a Ground Mapping Radar to identify fix-points and update navigation systems as well as providing an air-to-air search facility. The Tornado GR4 is a world leader in the specialized field of all-weather, day and night tactical reconnaissance.

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