The Chief of Air Staff of the Austrian Armed Forces hopes that closer ties will develop with the Royal Air Force following the visit by Austrian Air Force Eurofighters to RAF Leuchars, the first ever overseas landings by their fourth-generation aircraft.
Speaking at RAF Leuchars, Brigadier General Karl Gruber said: “We’re looking for closer cooperation with all the Eurofighter operators in Europe. We already have close cooperation with Germany where our pilots are trained and we have started closer cooperation with Italy because our pilots undergo Phase 4 flying training at Lecce Air Base. Now the next step is to look for closer ties with the Royal Air Force.
“We are very interested in your new solution to bring the pilots from a modern jet trainer via the simulator directly to the single-seat Eurofighter without using a two-seater for training. This is a very interesting solution for us and we are very interested in your experience.”
Formed in 1955, the Österreichische Luftstreitkräfte operates 15 Eurofighters with which it maintains Quick Reaction Alert. In a role identical to that mounted by the Royal Air Force from RAF Leuchars and RAF Coningsby, Austrian Eurofighters are kept at constant readiness to scramble to intercept, identify and if required intervene against unidentified aircraft approaching Austrian airspace.
To demonstrate this capability a role demo formed part of the flying display as Brig Gen Gruber explained: “We’re showing an air policing intercept which we developed for our own air show at home to show our population what is the purpose of the Eurofighter system and how we execute intercepts and forced landings. Our C-130 will be the target; the Eurofighters will intercept the Hercules and will execute the forced landing.”
The visit to Scotland also had a training value by exercising both air and ground crew in the forward deployment of the fourth-generation fighter aircraft.
“This is the first deployment of our Eurofighters outside of Austria” explained Brig Gen Gruber. “It’s a challenge for the pilots but much more of a challenge for our technicians to operate Eurofighter far away from home.
“We have the experts we need, we came up with a former British C-130 with all the equipment and all the stuff we need for this operation. It’s also a test for next year, we plan for the first time to go to Sardinia for air to air gunnery with the German wing so this deployment is a little bit of a logistics test.”
RAF Leuchars is the RAF’s Northern Typhoon Main Operating Base and is home to two combat ready squadrons – 1(Fighter) Squadron and 6 Squadron. Beginning in the summer of 2014 the two units will transition to RAF Lossiemouth where a further Typhoon equipped squadron will stand up next year.
Editor: Sqn Ldr Eklund
A Eurofighter escorts a former RAF Hercules in the air policing role demo at RAF Leuchars Air Show.
RAF/MOD Crown Copyright 2013