Typhoon pilot describes first air to ground strike

15 April 2011 | Typhoon pilot describes first air to ground strike

The Royal Air Force pilot who carried out the first operational Typhoon aircraft strike on a ground target has been describing the mission.

The first strike was made against a Libyan regime main battle tank during a mission on Tuesday, 12 April.

The pilot said: “I left Gioia Del Colle in a mixed pair with a Tornado GR4.

“We’d been tasked to Misratah in the West of Libya, which is pretty much a city under siege, with significant numbers of attacks against the civilian population from pro-regime forces. We were looking along one of the main supply routes in Misratah when we came across a compound with around 10 – 15 main battle tanks in.

“We reported our findings to the command and control assets we work with and shortly thereafter, were cleared to engage.
“At that point, we generated coordinates for the targets and dropped weapons. Each time we assessed the likely weapon effect and whether there would be any collateral damage implications.

“It was a precision attack from a significant altitude.

“To be honest, I was a little bit nervous but you just revert to the training you’ve done before. I’ve dropped a significant number of weapons from the Typhoon in training. It felt no different from that, only this time I was even more relieved to see the bomb go exactly where it should have done, in the Litening III image displayed in my cockpit.”

“We have proven that the jet can carry weapons a long distance, drop them accurately, land and get pumped full of fuel, reloaded with weapons and go and do it again, day in day out. That makes this capability enduring, and while it may seem like a milestone to some, it’s just a hurdle that had to be overcome at some point. It has been done, and we will drop more over the life of the aircraft. I think people are just pleased we’ve got the first one out of the way.”