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RAF hones air combat skills with mass ASRAAM firing

A Typhoon pilot launches an ASRAAM missile during a mass live-fire exercise held in September. (Crown Copyright)

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has honed its aerial combat capabilities with a major missile firing exercise off the coast of Scotland in September.

Announced by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 22 October, the exercise saw Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 and Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning combat aircraft launch multiple MBDA AIM-132 Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missiles (ASRAAMs) during a 10-day period.

“The Missile Practice Camp took place over the sea in the Hebrides Air Weapon Ranges last month and was the largest mass firing of the infrared guided ASRAAM from Typhoon FGR4 and F-35B Lightning II,” the MoD said. “Typhoon pilots from 1(F), II(AC), 6 and IX(B) squadrons based at RAF Lossiemouth, as well as from 3(F), and 41 Test & Evaluation Squadron at RAF Coningsby, worked with Lightnings from 207 and 617 squadrons based at RAF Marham in the event.”

As noted by the MoD, the event saw 53 ASRAAMs launched at Banshee target drones for what it described as being ‘a confidence-building exercise' for the pilots in the missile and its capabilities. It also provided ground personnel with experience of safely handling and loading the weapon onto aircraft.

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