In the first week of deployment during Exercise Deployed Titan 06 at RAF Fairford, the aircraft fired eight AIM 9M Sidewinder missiles against a Mirach 100-5 aerial target drone. The squadron also carried out laser-guided bomb drops against surface targets at
Skip MacQueen of the USAF said, ‘The purpose of our deployment was to provide the centrepiece fast-jet element to the RAF’s largest annual exercise. We engaged in simulated combined air combat operations and Qinetiq provided comprehensive ranges services, which allowed us to conduct the first live AIM-9 Sidewinder missile launches against drone towed targets within the European Theatre.’
MacQueen added, ‘This was a significant step up in tactical realism for USAFE missile training and provided the first opportunity for a number of the unit’s pilots to employ one of their primary air-to-air weapons.’
Mirach, Qinetiq’s new aerial target system, is operated from the MOD range at Aberporth but can also be deployed to Scottish range sites. The company’s mobile instrumentation assists in exercise planning and monitors and tracks the munitions fired by
USAFE is responsible for the combat weapons training of
Qinetiq’s range services and aerial target systems provide USAFE aircrews with a significant level of tactical training not available on any other
The increased scope of USAFE training on UK MOD ranges last year led Qinetiq to purchase a number of surface targets along with an instrumented barge for data capture.