British Typhoon and Voyager aircraft have taken part in a major German Air Force exercise over the North Sea.

The RAF say that Typhoons from XI (Fighter) Squadron, together with a Voyager from RAF Brize Norton have this week joined German Typhoons and Tornados plus aircraft from several other NATO Allies and partner nations on Exercise MAGDay.

The Officer Commanding XI (F) Squadron said:

“Exercise MAGDay provides, XI (F) Squadron with the opportunity to demonstrate our ability to project UK Air Power and fight in a complex environment, shoulder-to-shoulder with our closest allies.”

As part of the exercise the RAF Typhoons and German Eurofighters conducted Air to Air refuelling, from a RAF Voyager off German North Sea coast before conducting further training over Northern Germany.

An XI(F) Squadron pilot who flew on the exercise said:

“Participation in Ex MAGDay has required detailed tactical planning and coordination with our European and US counterparts.  The execution provided an excellent opportunity to reinforce and hone our interoperability skills with key NATO Allies to undertake multi-role missions.  In this case involving 40 aircraft from five nations. Exercises like this give us the experience of working together as a team, which is the key to being able to conduct air operations as part of an alliance, such as NATO successfully.”

This edition of Exercise MAGDay in addition to the RAF and German participation, also saw US and Dutch F-16 fighters and Swiss Air Force F18 Hornets.  The Air to Air refuelling was carried out by a RAF Voyager, a German A310 and a A400M plus a US KC135 tanker.

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Did we give or sell all our RAF tornado parts to help keep the German/ Italian fleets in the air?


we sold them to the Saudis. Our GR4s were much closer to the Saudi spec


Ah right, I think we also helped the Germans with some spare parts they couldn’t get.


possibly given their very low rates of aircraft availability and urgency to improve this. BAE systems supported both the RAF and Saudi aircraft and the RTP program harvested a lot of spares which would go back into the BAE inventory.


Not all parts went to Saudi, some parts went to both Italy and Germany.


Why don’t we convert some of our a400 aircraft for refuelling when we don’t need a huge voyager And Need tactical refuelling.we should have converted some of our old Hercules for chopper refuelling ect. Does the contract with voyager say we can’t have any other refuelling aircraft yeah?

Paul T

Cam – as far as I know basically yes that’s correct,the AirTanker contract doesn’t allow it AFAIK.


Correct, some stipulation in the signed contract. The Voyagers badly need booms to be added, especially with the P8s and E7s around the corner.


Will they ever get booms though, I’m glad the USA have plenty refuelling aircraft based in Britain. We have a loose agreement with The yanks with using their tankers in theatre When we need them not sure about in the UK though, what happens when we need to refuel our p8s over the Atlantic Ocean On search and rescue? not being able to refuel them is a big disadvantage isn’t it?


They are bound to, I think I read an article that said they where plumbed for booms so it should be too difficult to add them. They will prob charge the mod £1bn for the change in requirement


Cheers Paul T


seems to me the Luftwaffe are suddenly sitting up and realising they need to improve their training/readiness/availability. Commitments to further Typhoon, Growler, AESA radar and apparently greater intensity of exercise seems they are “back” as an air force. Anyone agree?

Nigel Collins

They are certainly making progress that’s for sure!
Hopefully, we will continue to do the same?


There seems to be big improvements going on.