Flight Lieutenant Richard Watts has become the first pilot in the world to reach 2,000 flying hours on the Typhoon.
The pilot reportedly achieved this milestone on a training sortie in a Typhoon from 29 (Reserve) Squadron at RAF Coningsby.
Flt Lt Watts transferred to the Typhoon in 2005. He said:
“I have been tremendously fortunate to have been involved with the Typhoon fleet since its introduction into RAF service. It has been a privilege to observe at close-hand its development into the world-class aircraft that it is today.”
The aircraft’s development effectively began in 1983 with the Future European Fighter Aircraft programme, a multinational collaboration among the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Disagreements over design authority and operational requirements led France to leave the consortium to develop the Dassault Rafale independently.
Political issues in the partner nations significantly protracted the Typhoon’s development; the sudden end of the Cold War reduced European demand for fighter aircraft, and a debate over the Eurofighter’s cost and work share. The aircraft entered operational service in 2003.
The aircraft is highly agile, designed to be a supremely effective dogfighter in combat. Later production aircraft have been increasingly better equipped to undertake air-to-surface strike missions and to be compatible with an increasing number of different armaments and equipment including Storm Shadow and the RAF’s Brimstone.
The Typhoon saw its combat debut during the 2011 military intervention in Libya with the Royal Air Force and the Italian Air Force.