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UK Typhoon Force shifts focus from Middle East to Eastern Europe

Having previously been focused on combating the Islamic State in the Middle East, the RAF's Typhoon Force is now mainly supporting NATO operations across Eastern Europe. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

UK Eurofighter Typhoon operations are now predominately orientated to supporting NATO allies in Eastern Europe, with nearly 50 sorties a month being flown along the borders of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine.

The Royal Air Force (RAF) missions over the Baltic Sea, Black Sea, and Poland have dramatically increased since the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the end of February 2022. They now surpass the number of sorties flown per month as part of Operation ‘Shader' in the Middle East against Islamic State insurgents. RAF operations over Eastern Europe are part of NATO's Enhanced Vigilance Patrols, which are designed to reassure alliance members in the region.

The sortie data was provided to Janes under the provisions of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act on 29 November, and covers the period from the beginning of 2021 to the end of November 2022.

According to the data, RAF Typhoons have flown 341 sorties, lasting 2,084 hours, from their UK bases at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, and RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland, over Poland and the Baltic Sea region. The Typhoon detachment at RAF Akrotiri on Cyprus has flown 106 missions lasting 650 hours over the Black Sea region. In the first nine months of these long-range operations, the RAF Typhoons flew on average 49 sorties each month.

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