‘If I wasn’t quick people were going to die’: Typhoon squadron boss on going to war against ISIS

We speak to Wg Cdr Mike Sutton (ret’d) about his time flying the Typhoon, which started in the early days of the aircraft’s RAF service and culminated by leading 1 (Fighter) Squadron into combat against ISIS in the skies of Iraq and Syria

A shimmering heat haze bounced off the tarmac. To my left and right, the Typhoons stood armed to the hilt, poised and ready for action. Standing in front of each jet was an engineer whose job it was to supervise the engine start and conduct the last-minute checks: ensuring pylons were live, safety pins were removed, countermeasures secure and airframe panels all done up.

The sixteen-target strike required four weapons from each of the Typhoons, each aimed precisely at a different target. If all weapons struck, the entire factory complex would be destroyed in a single attack. Mike Sutton
The sixteen-target strike required four weapons from each of the Typhoons, each aimed precisely at a different target. If all weapons struck, the entire factory complex would be destroyed in a single attack. Mike Sutton

Precisely on time, to the second, the radio crackled into life. ‘Dragon check.’ ‘2.’ ‘3.’ ‘4.’ We skimmed down the runway in succession, the fourth jet airborne just over a minute after the first. My thoughts turned back to the conversation with Jonny and Tim thirty six hours before. The engineers had truly pulled off something remarkable.

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