Starting on Monday 1st October 2012 was Exercise Joint Warrior 2012-2. The 2 week exercise is the biggest in Europe and plays out the scenario of multiple sovereign states that develops into war. The exercise consists of 24 ships, 2 submarines, 4,500 personnel and 40 aircraft.
Deployed to RAF Leuchars for the exercise was six Maritime Patrol Aircraft and 14 Tornados from the German Air Force.
Jagdbombergeschwader 33 and Aufklärungsgeschwader 51
The ground attack IDS variant of the Tornado was provided by Jagdbombergeschwader and 33. The Tornado IDS provided Close Air Support (CAS), convoy support, Time Sensitive Targeting (TST) and Non-Traditional Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (NTISR) with their Litening targeting pod.
The recce role was provided by Aufklärungsgeschwader (Reconnaissance Wing) 51 “Immelmann” (AKG 51) from Schleswig Air Base.
Only one is left in the green scheme (45+93) with the rest having been painted in the blue-grey scheme used by the ECR variant.
Jagdbombergeschwader 32 provided the Suppression of Enemy Air Defence (SEAD) role for the exercise and each sortied was flown with the AGM-88 HARM fitted. With the introduction of the Eurohawk UAV this could be one of the last major exercises for the Tornado ECR.
Maritime Patrol Aircraft
Providing the anti-submarine and anti-ship capability of the exercise was a French Navy Atlantique 2, three US Navy P-3 Orions, a Canadian CP-140 Aurora and most interestingly was the US Navy P-8 Poseidon. The P-8 is based on the Boeing 737-800 and is due to replace the P-3 Orions. Only 7 P-8s has been produced so far so they are a relatively rare sight but has attended both Joint Warrior 2012-1 and 2012-2. The exercise allows the crews from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX-1) operate the aircraft against another of structured exercises and integrate with other assets. There presence also allows the aircraft to be demonstrated to the RAF who currently lack a dedicated MPA aircraft after the retirement of the Nimrod MR2 and cancellation of the MRA4.
US Navy P-8A 167952
6 Squadron Typhoons
Unconnected to the exercise the locally based Typhoons from 6 Squadron were flying. The highlight was Typhoon T3 ZJ809 flying at Leuchars 02 making an impressive ‘performance take off’.
Typhoon FGR4 ZK304