400 miles an hour 500ft from the ground; Typhoon pilots from RAF Coningsby have been testing their flying skills to the limit in the Jordanian desert.
The fighter pilots have been conducting low-level flying training with their Jordanian counterparts in the Wadi Rum desert. The spectacular desert region was used for filming on films such as Lawrence of Arabia, Star Wars and more recently Dune. The fighter jet sorties were not dissimilar to the Star Wars interceptors in the iconic films.
The unique and unfamiliar landscape provided a testing training area where the pilots honed their low flying skills. These skills are required for tasks such as evading adversary aircraft and air defence systems. Flying in a mountainous desert region presents additional navigational and environmental challenges.
The Typhoon pilots flew in formation with Royal Jordanian Air Force F-16s as part of a series of training events with Jordanian forces. This training enables the aircrew to learn from each other and practice operating together.
The pilots had to fly with immaculate precision around the terrain whilst continuously maintaining safe distances from each other. This required exceptional flying skills, mutual trust and strong communication. The success of the training was a testament to the aircraft capabilities and the professionalism of the two air forces.
Shortly after the demanding sortie Officer Commanding 3 (Fighter) Squadron, Wing Commander Buchler, said:
It is nearly 20 years since I last flew over Wadi Rum in a Jaguar, but the landscape still takes your breath away as you cruise in from the North. The rich history of the region is symbolic of our close ties with the Royal Jordanian Air Force, and it is always a pleasure to conduct training serials with them. We fly and fight in a very similar fashion, and their support on Op Shader is extremely valuable. I look forward to joining their F16s at Low Level over Stars War country in the coming years.
Essential support was provided by an RAF Voyager, which provided air-to-air refuelling to prolong the duration and range of the training.
The UK and Jordan have a longstanding and important partnership. Cooperation, such as through Defence activity, is key to maintaining stability and security in the Middle East.
The Typhoons from 3(Fighter) Squadron flew from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus where they are currently supporting operations in the Middle East to help combat Daesh in Iraq and Eastern Syria, as part of the international coalition against terrorism.