RAF Coningsby clocks up a Typhoon first

Staff work on one of the Typhoon fighter jets at RAF Coningsby.
Staff work on one of the Typhoon fighter jets at RAF Coningsby.

Imagine servicing a car worth a few thousand pounds - and perhaps forgetting to change the oil filter and the spark plugs.

Now, imagine the amount of work involved in servicing one of the world’s leading fighter aircraft worth millions of pounds and capable of speeds of almost 1,600 miles-in-hour.

That’s exactly what staff at BAE Systems - based at RAF Coningsby - have done.

They’ve just completed the first ever major ‘maintenance’ on a RAF Typhoon jet after it clocked up 1,600 flying hours.

Hopefullly, they remembered to change the spark plugs.

The ‘major’ maintenance programme is carried out as part of the Typhoon Availability Service (TAS).

The TAS contract was awarded to BAE Systems by the Ministry of Defence in 2009.

It consists of a joint BAE Systems and RAF team and ensures the UK’s fleet of Typhoon aircraft remain ready for operational duties, anywhere in the world.

The maintenance programme itself involves a complete ‘strip-down’ of the aircraft to enable detailed inspections to be performed by the specially trained engineers.

Any repairs and modifications are also performed on the aircraft before it is fully prepared and ready to return to duty.

The first aircraft to complete the programme was Typhoon number ZJ921,

It has now been returned to the world renowned number 3 Squadron, based at Coningsby.

The jets are regularly involved in some of the worlds trouble spots.

In fact, ZJ921 was one of the aircraft to fly out from Coningsby to Gioia Dell Colle in Italy, to support the ‘Op Ellamy’ mission over Libya.

More recently, the squadron helped patrol the skies above London at the summer Olympic s, providing vital security in the process.

Martin Taylor, Combat Air Support Director at BAE Systems, said: “The completion of the first RAF Typhoon aircraft to undergo a major maintenance is a significant milestone for us under the TAS contract.

“The team is continually improving processes and procedures to ensure this complex frontline fighter aircraft is available for operational duty and that the RAF’s flying timetable remains on schedule.

The Typhoon Maintenance Facility at Coningsby has a further three aircraft currently undergoing major maintenance.