One of the Royal Air Force’s oldest squadrons is set to leave its home on the Marham base in 2015 to be relocated with Scotland’s Typhoon jets.
The historic Number II squadron last year celebrated 100 years of service and is now to be re-equipped with the latest Eurofighter Typhoon jets, which will replace the current Tornadoes.
The Squadron’s ‘number plate’ will transfer to the new jets before the move to RAF Lossiemouth, in Scotland, after next year’s Afghanistan tour. The newly-reformed Number II Squadron will be the fifth front line RAF Typhoon squadron.
Wing Cmdr Jez Holmes, Officer Commanding II (Army Cooperation) Sqn, said: “I am pleased that Number II Squadron’s place at the heart of the Royal Air Force’s Combat Air Power is assured.
“It is in it’s 102nd year and has a proud history of delivering on operations, including supporting the troops in the trenches of World War I, overflying the D Day beaches at low level, and recent campaigns including Iraq, the Balkans, Libya and Afghanistan.”
He added: “The Squadron is preparing to deploy to Afghanistan again in the New Year, and on our return we will begin to prepare for the re-role to Typhoon and the redeployment of the Squadron’s personnel.”
It has been confirmed that there is to be no redundancies and members of the Number II (AC) Squadron will remain within the RAF, either deployed elsewhere at Marham, or on other bases.
South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said: “The Tornado aircraft continue to play a significant role in overseas operations and I wish our service personnel well when they deploy to Afghanistan next month.
“The Lightning II will secure the long term future of RAF Marham providing employment, housing and educational opportunities for the local area.
“I have approached the MoD to put the case for Marham’s excellent engineering facilities and how these can be expanded to offer services for other allies’ air fleets.”
The change is part of the realignment, which will see all Tornado GR4 aircraft retired by 2019 to be replaced by advanced Typhoon and F-35B Lightning II fighters.
Defence minister Mark Francois, who announced the move, said: “I can announce that Number 2 (AC) Squadron will formally disband as a Tornado squadron on March 31, 2015, and will re-equip to form a new front line Typhoon squadron based at RAF Lossiemouth the next day on April 1, 2015.
“I am sure that Number 2 (AC) Squadron’s valuable contribution to operations throughout its long and distinguished history will continue as it helps maintain the strong traditions of RAF Lossiemouth as a main operating base for the RAF into the future.”