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RAF Coningsby , is a Royal Air Force station in Lincolnshiremarker, Englandmarker. It has been commanded by Group Captain John Hitchcock since 15 December 2008.

The station is the home of No. XVII Squadron - the Operational Evaluational Unit, No. 29 Squadron - the Operational Conversion Unit and No. 3 Squadron - the first Typhoon Operational Squadron, flying the Eurofighter Typhoon F2 and T1. No 11 Squadron joined the station as a Typhoon unit in 2007.

Since June 2007 the Typhoons of No. 3(F) Squadron have formed part of air defence of the UK along with RAF Leemingmarker near Northallerton in North Yorkshire and RAF Leucharsmarker near St Andrews,Fife,Scotlandmarker, both of which were equipped with Tornado F3 fighters but Leeming lost its last Tornados in 2008 with the disbandment of 25 Squadron and its concentration on being the RAFs communications hub.

The station is also home to No. 121 Expeditionary Air Wing.

History

The base was opened in 1940 as a bomber base.Halpenny, Bruce Barrymore Action Stations: Wartime Military Airfields of Lincolnshire and the East Midlands v. 2 - Page 64 No. 106 Squadron and No. 97 Squadron arrived in 1941. No. 617 Squadron were at the base from August 1943 - January 1944.Halpenny, Bruce Barrymore Action Stations: Wartime Military Airfields of Lincolnshire and the East Midlands v. 2 - Page Following World War II, the base received its first jet aircraft - the Canberra - in 1953.Halpenny, Bruce Barrymore Action Stations: Wartime Military Airfields of Lincolnshire and the East Midlands v. 2 - Page 67 In 1956, the base expanded with the runway being extended. Avro Vulcans arrived in 1962, which were transferred to RAF Cottesmoremarker in November 1964. From 1964-66, the station had been designated to receive the proposed RAF fighter, the TSR2 project, which was cancelled for economic reasons in April 1965. Its intended replacement, the F-111 was shelved when its costs overshot the UK's budget. Spey-engined Phantoms (the plane the government eventually bought) arrived in 1966, with all RAF Phantom training taking place on the base, and the base became part of Fighter Command until December 1967. The Phantoms were initially in a ground attack role, changing to air defence in October 1974 when the base joined RAF Strike Command in No. 11 Group. In November 1984, the Tornado F3 squadrons began to form.Halpenny, Bruce Barrymore Action Stations: Wartime Military Airfields of Lincolnshire and the East Midlands v. 2 - Page 221 Tornado training took place until April 1987, when the Phantoms left (to RAF Leucharsmarker) and Coningsby had the first (No. 29) Tornado air defence squadron.Halpenny, Bruce Barrymore Action Stations: Wartime Military Airfields of Lincolnshire and the East Midlands v. 2 - Page 222 To accommodate these new aircraft extensive hardened aircraft shelter (HAS) and support facilities were built.

Coningsby was the first airfield to receive the Phantoms, the Tornado ADV and was the first to receive its replacement, the Eurofighter Typhoon. 56 Squadron was based there until March 2003 but relocated to RAF Leucharsmarker and in 2008 to RAF Waddingtonmarker to allow airfield improvements required for the arrival of the Typhoon. 5 Squadron also flew F3s from Coningsby until its disbandment in 2003 (this unit is now at Waddington). Typhoon arrived in May 2005 with No. 17 Squadron, after the RAF first publicly displayed the aircraft at Coningsby in December 2004. In July 2007, the Typhoon became operational from the base (and the UK).

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF)

Coningsby is also the home to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (since March 1976 when it arrived from RAF Coltishallmarker) and their Visitor Centre. The BBMF operate one of two remaining airworthy Avro Lancaster bombers in the world besides five Spitfire of various types, two Hurricane, a Dakota, two Chipmunk and at least one De Havilland Tiger Moth - these latter two types being used for pilot training.

Operational Evaluation Units

Also based at Coningsby is the RAF's Fast Jet and Weapons Operational Evaluation Unit (FJWOEU), a merger of the Strike/Attack OEU (previously at Boscombe Downmarker), the Tornado F.3 OEU (previously at RAF Waddingtonmarker) and the Air-Guided Weapons OEU (previously at RAF Valleymarker). Today, the unit operates under the shadow squadron numberplate of No.41(R) Sqn since 1 April 2006 and is tasked with operational testing and evaluation of existing and forthcoming aircraft and weapons.

No. 121 Expeditionary Air Wing was formed at Coningsby on 1 April 2006 and encompasses most of the non-formed unit personnel. The EAW does not include any of the flying squadrons. The Station Commander is triple-hatted as the Commanding Officer of the Wing and as Typhoon Force Commander.

Current structure

The RAF Coningsby structure as of April 2008:

Station Commanders



The following Station Commanders are listed in the rank held at the time of appointment:

List incomplete


See also



Notes and References

  1. Handover of Station Commander - RAF Coningsby retrieved 15 December 2008
  2. RAF Coningsby squadrons retrieved 29 December 2008
  3. Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Visitor Centre
  4. Air Forces Monthly, April 2008 issue, pp. 44
  • Bruce Barrymore Halpenny Action Stations: Wartime Military Airfields of Lincolnshire and the East Midlands v. 2 (updated version) (ISBN 978-1852604059)


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