Eight Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4s joined F-22 Raptors at JB Langley-Eustis, Va., for the three-week joint training event Exercise Western Zephyr, RAF officials announced on March 5. “Training of this nature alongside our allies is essential if we are to keep the RAF at the forefront of combat air power,” said deployed boss, RAF Wing Commander Jim Walls. “The challenging and demanding exercise … will be hugely beneficial to both 6 Squadron and Typhoon Force as a whole,” he added in the release. The Typhoons just wrapped up participation in Red Flag at Nellis AFB, Nev., last month, and are developing tactics to integrate with fifth generation aircraft ahead of the F-35’s introduction, according to the RAF. Despite weather that challenged even airmen from the “north of Scotland,” the exercise has proved the ability to “operate in extreme climatic conditions,” said RAF Squadron Leader Alex Hunter. Zephyr will culminate in larger-scale exercises with AWACs, and red-force aggressors.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.