Eurofighter Typhoon FGR.4, ZJ950/C ‘Charity’, RAF No.29 Squadron, 1435 Flight, RAF Mount Pleasant, Defence of the Falkland Islands
The Eurofighter Typhoon is described as the world’s most advanced swing-role combat aircraft, able to provide both effective air to air and air to surface capabilities. First entering service with the Royal Air Force in 2006, the agile Typhoon was intended to provide the RAF with an effective air superiority fighter, capable of protecting Britain’s airspace from all hostile incursions, including the ability to engage in close air combat, should this be required. Since its service introduction, the Typhoon has evolved into a multi role aircraft, required to perform roles for which it was not originally intended. As Britain’s current ‘Spitfire’, the Typhoon is an extremely popular addition to any Airshow programme, thrilling crowds with its displays of power and agility and demonstrating the capabilities of today’s modern RAF. It will undoubtedly be responsible for inspiring a new generation of future fighter pilots.
With the retirement of the RAF’s Panavia Tornado F.3 fleet, the Typhoon FGR.4 was required to undertake the role of Falklands Defender from September 2009. With four aircraft permanently operating from RAF Mount Pleasant airfield, the Typhoons of 1435 Flight are required to be on constant alert, providing the Islanders with round the clock protection from air attack. Postings to the South Atlantic are prized amongst Typhoon pilots, as the sparsely populated Islands allow the opportunity for some rather enthusiastic flying, much more so than can be practiced in the UK. Retaining their links to the famous Gloster Sea Gladiators that valiantly defended the island fortress of Malta during WWII, the four Typhoon Falkland Defenders carry the tail codes F, H, C and D to denote Faith, Hope and Charity, with Desperation acting as a reserve aircraft. The 1435 Flight Typhoons are a significant upgrade to the capabilities of the Royal Air Force in defence of the Falkland Islands and only time will tell how suited these thoroughbred fighter aircraft are suited to the hostile environment of the South Atlantic.