XV Squadron Tornado GR.4 on a low level training sortie a few days ago / © Philip Stevens
On March 23, 2011, XV Squadron, stationed at RAF Lossiemouth, set a new RAF record by flying for more than 5,000 hours in a year. No other fast-jet squadron in the history of the RAF has achieved this level of operation before.
This record is so significant because XV Squadron is the Tornado’s Operational Conversion Unit and, amongst other things, is responsible for producing the Tornado Force’s Qualified Weapons Instructors. These so-called ‘Top Gun’ instructors ensure that frontline squadrons, currently on operations over Libya and Afghanistan, are equipped with the best tactical knowledge to ensure they succeed in their missions.
‘This record is not just about flying hours, it’s about saving lives,’ explains Wing Commander Brian James, Officer Commanding XV Squadron. ‘With continued operations in Afghanistan and new deployments over Libya, ensuring the Tornado Force has the best tactical training possible safeguards our crews in the air and protects people on the ground.’
Previously, XV Squadron flew around 4,000 hours per year and this 25% increase in performance is down to improvements in the base’s infrastructure and the adoption of new ways of working to focus on achieving the squadron’s daily flying programme.
‘To achieve this level of operational excellence at a time of increased deployments, following the severe winter weather and with the inevitable uncertainty around the future of the station, is a testament to the dedication and support of everyone on the base and in the wider Moray community,’ concludes Group Captain Andy Hine, Station Commander of RAF Lossiemouth.
Source: Media & Communications Office, RAF Lossiemouth