The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) stood up 9 Squadron as its latest Eurofighter Typhoon unit on 2 May.
A re-activation ceremony held at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland marked the return of the former RAF Marham-based Panavia Tornado GR4 squadron as the RAF's sixth front-line operational Typhoon unit. The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Steven Hillier, first announced the return of 9 Squadron in July 2018. Speaking at the Air Power Conference 2018 in London, ACM Hillier said that 9 Squadron and 12 (Bomber) squadron would be stood up at RAF Coningsby at a later date and would be populated with Typhoons that were slated for retirement but were spared during the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) in 2015.
Jane's had previously been told by then (now retired) Deputy Commander of Operations Air Marshal Greg Bagwell that these 24-early model Tranche 1 Typhoons would be fielded as a separate air defence force, with the later and more capable Tranche 2 and Tranche 3 aircraft used in a multirole capacity. "The issue was how to operate the Tranche 1 alongside the Tranche 2 and 3 as there is very little spares commonality between them, so it was decided that the plan [should be] for two new squadrons of Tranche 1 Typhoons," AM Bagwell said in April 2016.
However, when he announced the reformation of 9 Squadron ACM Hillier said that it is no longer intended to separate the Tranche 1 and Tranche 2/3 fleets in this way, and that 1 (Fighter), 2 (Army Cooperation), 3 (Fighter), 6, 9, 11 (Fighter) and 12 (B) squadrons would field a mix of standards. The CAS did note that the Tranche 1 aircraft would make "superb air defenders" while the Tranche 3 aircraft would be saved for high-tempo multirole operations.
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