In response to the crisis in Libya part of the UK’s contribution included the RAF deploying ten Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4s from XI Squadron at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, to Gioia del Colle, Italy. Announced on March 19, the squadron departed its home base within 24 hours. The first operational mission was flown within 18 hours of the Typhoons’ arrival at Gioia del Colle.
The aircraft were sent to support the US- (later NATO-) led effort to impose a No-Fly Zone (NFZ) over Libya. They initially flew in an air-to-air, defensive counter air role, each armed with six Raytheon AIM-120 AMRAAM and two MBDA ASRAAM air-to-air missiles, and the aircraft also has its 27mm Mauser cannon, though this is not believed to have been fully cleared for air-to-air use.<