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Royal Air Force fighter jets test dogfighting skills in Poland

RAF Typhoons have been testing their air combat skills, completing air-to-air training with and against Polish F-16 and Italian F-35 fighter aircraft.

Based in Poznan, Poland the two-week detachment codenamed Operation Carson involved joint training with Polish, U.S., Spanish and Italian Air Forces undertaking various air combat exercises across Poland and Lithuania.

Typhoon pilots from 2 (Army-Cooperation) Squadron, usually based at RAF Lossiemouth, completed training serials of Dissimilar Combat Air Training, known informally as ‘dogfighting’, and Basic Fighter Manoeuvres with the Polish F-16s and Italian F-35 fighter jets to hone skills and compare tactics with NATO allies.

The Typhoons also operated with US and UK Joint Terminal Air Controllers who from the ground directed the action of combat when jets were providing close air support to ground troops.

“During Op Carson, RAF aircrew have been able to foster key relationships and build a greater understanding of how the other Air Forces employ their assets, whilst exploring the challenges and opportunities of Agile Combat Employment. Whilst most fighter pilots are cut form the same cloth, opportunities to learn from one another are invaluable.”

Flight Lieutenant Lyle
RAF Pilot

Agile Combat Employment or ACE is the concept of outmanoeuvring an adversary by being flexible, constantly on the move and able to maintain operations with minimal support.

In addition to training in Polish skies, RAF Typhoons met with Spanish Typhoons in Lithuanian air space operating with NATO’s surveillance systems to carry out close positioning manoeuvres. The Spanish Air Force are currently conducting Baltic Air Policing, a NATO operation that the UK handed over to them in August this year.

“This partnership-building endeavour enhances interoperability between Polish F-16s and British Typhoons and the training enables both sides to engage in realistic practice in the demanding aerial domain. The base is happy to host friends from the UK to enable this highly beneficial training with us and other NATO countries. Together we are stronger.”

Colonel PiÄ…tek
Commander of the Polish 31st Tactical Airbase