The Royal Air Force (RAF) recently carried out its “largest ever” missile firing drill, in which Typhoon and F-35B pilots from eight squadrons launched 53 infrared-guided Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missiles (ASRAAM) at Banshee target drones over 10 days.
The drill was held over the sea at the Hebrides Air Weapon Ranges in September, and included squadrons based at RAF Lossiemouth, RAF Coningsby, and RAF Marham.
“It surpassed all expectations of what my first live firing exercise on the Typhoon would be,” a pilot from RAF Lossiemouth commented.
“The experience has given me a real appreciation of the capability of the missile and how it can be employed in a real combat situation.”
The event provided valuable experience for especially junior pilots in shooting down aircraft with live missiles, while logistical and engineering personnel gained useful experience in transporting and loading live weapons safely onto aircraft.
“Seeing the preparation of the aircraft and missiles was crucial…to understand the challenges of a live weapon firing exercise,” an IX(B) Squadron weapons technician said. “Operating armed aircraft requires all those involved to maintain the highest levels of concentration due to the extra risks involved.”