Home Air Royal Air Force Typhoons, F-35s launch record 53 ASRAAMs in missile drill

Royal Air Force Typhoons, F-35s launch record 53 ASRAAMs in missile drill

Largest ever Royal Air Force ASRAAM firing
Photo: Royal Air Force

Royal Air Force Typhoon and F-35B Lightning jets recently carried out their largest ever mass firing of Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missiles (ASRAAM).

Over a span of 10 days, pilots from eight different squadrons successfully launched a total of 53 missiles at target drones.

The Missile Practice Camp took place over the sea in the Hebrides Air Weapon Ranges last month and was the largest mass firing of the infra-red guided ASRAAM from Typhoon and F-35B Lightning II.

Typhoon pilots from 1(F), II(AC), 6 and IX(B) Squadrons based at RAF Lossiemouth, as well as from 3(F), and 41 Test & Evaluation Squadron at RAF Coningsby, worked with Lightnings from 207 and 617 Squadrons based at RAF Marham in the event.

The ability to end-to-end test these missiles develops confidence in the weapon, whilst simultaneously developing personnel from professions across the RAF, the service said.

From the movement and loading of live weapons onto the aircraft, to the aircrafts’ transit to the Air Weapons Ranges, the integration of personnel and aircraft from around the country was key to the success of the event. The training has proved the impressive capability of ASRAAM across both RAF combat air platforms, providing training and real-world feedback by destroying Banshee drone targets.

“It surpassed all expectations of what my first live firing exercise on the Typhoon would be. Selecting the weapon and knowing a live missile would come off the rail was a unique moment, hearing the missile tone and pulling the trigger, followed by a large whoosh sound and a slight wobble of the aircraft was fantastic,” a pilot from RAF Lossiemouth commented.

“Watching the missile disappear into the sky in front of me was a moment to remember, it really is impressive how fast the Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missiles can go. The experience has given me a real appreciation of the capability of the missile and how it can be employed in a real combat situation.”

“Seeing the preparation of the aircraft and missiles was crucial to the more junior members on the Squadron, it gave them the opportunity to understand the challenges of a live weapon firing exercise. Operating armed aircraft requires all those involved to maintain the highest levels of concentration due to the extra risks involved,” one of the IX(B) Squadron weapons technicians said.