[Photo: Geoffrey Lee, Planefocus Ltd]
Caption: An RAF XI Squadron Typhoon releases an enhanced Paveway 2 bomb during Exercise Green Flag at Nellis Airforce base in the USA]
The RAF says that during Exercise Green Flag, conducted at Nellis Air Force Base in the US, seven Typhoons from RAF XI Squadron, based at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, dropped munitions and fired their cannons with such precision that they have been declared combat ready by the target date of 1 July 2008.
Exercise Green Flag West is a joint USAF and Army exercise in which close air support for ground forces is a crucial element. It is aimed at preparing air and ground forces for deployment to overseas operational areas, such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I visited RAF Coningsby in July 2006 and witnessed the Typhoon in action. Incidentally, RAF Coningsby is also home to the RAF's World War II museum squadron and has (in flying condition) WW II aircraft, including Spitfires and Lancaster bombers. The latter are big enough to be impressive even by contemporary standards. During WWII, they must have seemed gigantic.
As readers well know, EADS, which manufactures the Eurofighter, recently launched a high-voltage entry into the competition to sell India 126 MMRCAs.