A Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 assigned to the Royal Air Force’s (RAF’s) No 29 Squadron has been rolled out sporting a brand-new ‘Union Jack’ paint scheme, which will be seen at a variety of air shows over the next two years.
The multi-role fighter – serial ZJ914 ‘914’ (c/n 051) – was unveiled wearing its new ‘Union Jack’ livery by 29 Squadron at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire – the unit’s home base – on May 28. The new scheme is predominately black and red but features the ‘Union Jack’ (the UK’s national flag) across the top and underside of its wings and canards. The design also accommodates a large RAF roundel on its tail.
This Typhoon FGR4 will serve as the display aircraft for the RAF’s Typhoon Display Team for the 2021 and 2022 air show season. Flt Lt James Sainty, the RAF Typhoon display pilot for the 2021 season, said: “I am extremely proud to be literally flying the flag in this aircraft. I am confident that air show crowds over the next two years will share some of that pride when they see the aircraft.”
Wg Cdr Jim Calvert, the officer commanding 29 Squadron, added: “We are extremely privileged to be displaying a Typhoon in stunning livery this year, demonstrating the amazing capabilities of the aircraft at venues across the UK and Europe. Special thanks must go to all personnel, RAF, civil servants and industry colleagues who have made today possible.
“This new paint scheme brings me an enormous amount of pride – I hope that feeling is shared by everyone who is lucky enough to witness it perform this year,” Calvert added.
Not only will the multi-role fighter feature at air shows in the UK and abroad over the next two summers, but it will also be primarily used by student Typhoon pilots at RAF Coningsby, before they transition to the frontline units of the type at RAF Coningsby and RAF Lossiemouth in Moray, Scotland. No 29 Squadron serves as the operational conversion unit for the type and is responsible for training new pilots on the type at the Lincolnshire base.
AirForces Intelligence data states that – as of May 28, 2021 – the RAF maintains a fleet of 116 single-seat Typhoon FGR4s and six two-seat Typhoon T3s. In total 135 FGR4s were delivered to the service, but 17 examples are currently in storage, one was written-off in a landing accident in the US in April 2008 and another example has been withdrawn from service.
Six T3s were delivered to the RAF in 2003 to complement the air arm’s 16 Typhoon T1s in the role of training student pilots to fly the type operationally. The T1s were subsequently upgraded to T3 standard, completing the RAF’s fleet of 22 two-seat Eurofighters. However, the 16 converted aircraft have since been withdrawn from operational service.
In RAF service, the Eurofighter serves as a multi-role fighter, capable of conducting both air-to-air and air-to-ground combat missions. The platform has a variety of munitions at its disposal, from Paveway II and Paveway IV laser-guided bombs to the Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile.
The Typhoon FGR4 also serves as the UK’s sole quick reaction alert (QRA) force and is maintained at a high state of readiness on a 24/7 basis. If required, Typhoons from RAF Coningsby, RAF Lossiemouth or from No 1435 Flight at RAF Mount Pleasant in the Falkland Islands, take-off an intercept unresponsive or adversary aircraft operating within or near-to British airspace. The air arm also supports other nations in protecting their own sovereign airspace through NATO’s air policing missions.