Fighter Show on the trail of the fighter pilot ‘bad’ guys 

Draken Europe at Teesside Airport in the UK is the setting for ‘Red Air – Behind Enemy Lines’,  the latest episode of the award-winning Eurofighter YouTube series The Fighter Show.

The show takes a behind-the-scenes look at how the aviation and technology firm provides air-to-air training for RAF Typhoon pilots – preparing them for real-life combat scenarios.

The show is hosted by Eurofighter’s Flo Taitsch, who says Draken Europe is the ‘largest private air force in the world’ and is ‘very good at being bad!”

In the episode, Flo interviews three of Draken Europe’s former RAF pilots Pip Roberts, Steve White and Paul Heasman to gain their expert knowledge of the service they provide fighter pilots.

Pip explains how Draken Europe, formerly Cobham Aviation, simulates the real-world enemy environment by having pilots fly ‘Red Air’ acting as the aggressor or enemy against the Eurofighter Typhoon pilots over the North Sea. 

We are simulating enemy aircraft so that the Royal Air Force are as prepared as they can be in case they have to step into real conflict.

Pilot Pip Roberts

They use a combination of modified electronic warfare Falcon 20s and the light multi-role combat fighter L159 – nicknamed the ‘Honey Badger’ due to its small but mighty nature.

Pip says: “We are simulating enemy aircraft so that the Royal Air Force are as prepared as they can be in case they have to step into real conflict. Once in the air we cover right from beyond visual range to all the way into dogfighting and close-range visual fighting.”

Senior base pilot Steve describes the size of Draken Europe’s fleet of aircraft and the expertise in hostile training of its pilots.

Electronic warfare officer Paul – nicknamed Cheesy – is described by Flo as the ‘nasty guy’ because he’s the one whose role is to jam the Eurofighter Typhoon’s comms.

Paul says: “Using the jamming pods we have on board our aim is to blind the Eurofighter’s sensors and disrupt their situational awareness.”

The two-prong attack with the Falcon 20s interfering with the Typhoon’s radar allows the L159s the opportunity to move up closer.

Flo also speaks to civil-trained pilots Ben Cornwell and Ellie Davies who fly the Falcon 20s during the daily sorties.

Flight safety officer Ben, is also a You Tuber with the handle Plane Old Ben. And Ellie says her role is the “best job in the civilian world!”  She adds: “The blend of teamwork in the multi-crew environment and also working with militaries around the world – well there is nothing else like it.”

The Fighter Show is broadcast fortnightly and episodes have attracted more than half a million views.

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