RAF Germany Lightning pilot – Confronting the Warsaw Pact

Flt Lt Ross Payne recalls the early years of supersonic flying over NATO’s frontline to Hugh Trevor

In the years when the ‘Cold War’ might have turned hot, RAF Germany was responsible for policing an area regarded as a ‘trip-wire’ for world war. In the confined airspace over the divided Germany, NATO and Warsaw Pact air forces prowled within full view of each other.

Flt Lt Ross Payne.
Flt Lt Ross Payne. All images via Hugh Trevor unless noted

RAFG’s ‘beat’ was the intra-German zonal border between West and East. One of its roles was to intercept violations of the border, or the air defence identification zone (ADIZ), where entry was forbidden without authorisation. Still further west was a buffer zone to give extra protection to lost aviators straying towards the border.


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