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RAF Typhoons from Coningsby take part in combat air exercises in Turkey

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Royal Air Force Typhoons have flown 1,000 miles from Lincolnshire to Turkey to take part in a special combat air exercise.

The XI squadron based at RAF Coningsby has taken to the skies to train alongside the Turkish Air Force and other international partners to increase a working relationship in the event of emergency operations.

The squadron completed the 30-minute flight alongside six multi-role combat typhoons, 13 pilots from XI squadron and 3(F) squadron and 117 ground support staff including engineers and communications specialists for Exercise Anatolian Eagle.

The Defence Treaty underpins UK and Turkish military cooperation and are being joined by Jordanian, Omani, Qatari and Spanish air forces.

The training exercise is said to be fundamental in retaining the air force’s competitive edge in carrying out coalition operations.

Commander of the typhoon detachment in Turkey and officer commanding XI Squadron wing commander, Chris Layden, said: “The mission takes place in a large piece of segregated airspace so we can train safely. It’s a generic scenario with ‘blue’ forces against ‘red’ forces.

“Red forces are the opposition provided by Turkish Air Force dedicated aggressor squadrons and it normally takes the form of about 50 fighter aircraft. It’s very intense.

“The exercise is a great opportunity for our pilots to hone their war-fighting skills. The typhoon force is always on standby to deliver air power world-wide in support of UK security interests and we almost never operate alone.

“The norm is increasingly towards coalition operations and this exercise provides a vital operation to get to know our coalition partners, their capabilities, and their tactics and above all, forge the personal relationships which are so important when coalition operations are called on.”

F16 pilot with the Turkish Air Force, Major Bahri Kosar, said: “This type of training opportunity makes it better for us to interact with each other, share experiences, exchange ideas and it’s important to get to know each other to work in an efficient way.”

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