On October 1, 2023, the UK Secretary of State for Defence issued an official notice regarding the need to relocate an air contingent to Poland[1]. It included four Eurofighter Typhoon multirole aircraft belonging to the 11th Squadron of the Royal Air Force (RAF) at Coningsby. Their presence is intended to work towards strengthening the defense capabilities of Poland and NATO allied countries located in the region[2].

Four Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft, along with a C–17 Globemaster III heavy transport aircraft, have been redeployed from the UK Royal Air Force air base located in Akrotiri, Cyprus (ICAO code: LCRA) to the 31st Tactical Air Base located in Poznan–Krzesiny (ICAO code: EPKS)[3], where Polish F–16C Block 52+ ‘Falcon’ aircraft are stationed. The endeavor is accompanied by British aviation personnel estimated at around 50, whose task is to adequately secure the scheduled training. Among them are engineers, logisticians, mechanics, cyber communication specialists and security specialists[4].

The purpose of the visit is to support Poland’s air defense during the participation of members of the UK government in the Warsaw Security Forum 2023 (WSF), which is Europe’s leading platform dedicated to transatlantic cooperation,[5] and to hold a two–week training course codenamed Op Carson in cooperation with Polish pilots. Pilots from Spain and Italy, who are currently stationed in Lithuania and Estonia also on combat duty on Eurofighter Typhoon multi–role aircraft as part of NATO’s Rapid Reaction Force – Baltic Air Policing, are also expected to participate in the training[6]. The training is to include Close Air Support (CAS) exercises[7] conducted under the control of specialized military air traffic controllers – Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC)[8]. CAS missions are to be centered around the improvement of pilots’ skills vis–à–vis their ability to intercept airborne targets and combat them beyond visual range, i.e. with medium– or long–range guided air–to–air and air–to–ground missiles[9].

The presence of the Eurofighter Typhoon multi–role aircraft is also linked to the need for security in Polish airspace during the Warsaw Security Forum 2023, in which three British politicians have declared their participation: defense minister James Heappey and Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) ministers Anne–Marie Trevelyan and Lord Ahmad[10]. Debates to be held include the need to maintain support for Ukraine.

The Eurofighter Typhoon is a typical representative of generation 4+ in combat aviation, which began in 1990 and has continued into the present years, in parallel with the development of generation 5. The half–hearted designation was intended to emphasize two key factors. The first is the lack of a significant technological leap in the aerodynamic aspects of the design solutions. This means that the airframes of aircraft designed since 1990 were largely no different from 4th generation aircraft[11]. Only the design of the structural duck layout in aircraft structures, which is represented by the Eurofighter Typhoon (additional horizontal stabilizers placed in the front part of the airframe), was implemented. Secondly, there was the development of electronic systems, which are on board 4+ combat aircraft. These were based on the use of microprocessor technology[12]. Its use influenced the development of stealth technology[13]. The origins of the use of stealth can be traced back to camouflage methods, based on repainting fighter aircraft plating in blue, green, gray and yellow colors to reduce the likelihood of detecting aircraft visually. Another level of stealth enhancement was the use of advanced on–board computers, with the ability to suppress signals from enemy aircraft or ground radar stations. It is by retrofitting the aircraft designs with specialized avionics, nullifying the possibility of detection, that they are named generation 4+ multi–role aircraft.

The Eurofighter Typhoon has an empty weight of 9750 kg and a maximum takeoff weight of 21,000 kg. This means that it can carry as much as 11250 kg of airborne means of destruction, including: a 27 mm caliber Mauser fixed cannon, anti–aircraft missile types: Raytheon AIM–120 AMRAAM, AIM–132 ASRAAM, Raytheon AIM–9L Sidewinder, ‘Iris–T’, ‘Meteor’, air–to–ground cruise missiles: EADS–LFK KEPD 350 ‘Taurus’, MBDA ‘Storm Shadow’, ‘Brimstone’, self–guided anti–radiation missiles ‘Alarm’, GBU–10/16 ‘Paveway II’, GBU–24/B ‘Paveway III’, GBU–24B/24E/B ‘Enhanced Paveway III’, ‘Paveway IV’, GBU–31/32 JDAM, conventional bombs, artillery bunkers or overhead fuel tanks. With its two Eurojet EJ–200 twin jet engines, the structure can develop a maximum speed of 2 Ma (1 Ma = 1224 km/h)[14].


[1] Secretary of State for Defence, RAF Fighter jets deploy to Poland for joint exercises ahead of Warsaw Security Forum, online – https://www.gov.uk/government/news/raf-fighter-jets-deploy-to-poland-for-joint-exercises-ahead-of-warsaw-security-forum [accessed: 2.10.2023].

[2] Royal Air Force, Royal Air Force jets arrive at Polish air base for joint training, online – https://www.raf.mod.uk/news/articles/royal-air-force-jets-arrive-at-polish-air-base-for-joint-training/ [accessed: 2.10.2023].

[3] Ł. Pacholski, British Typhoons land in Poland, online – https://zbiam.pl/brytyjskie-typhoony-wyladowaly-w-polsce/ [accessed: 2.10.2023].

[4] Royal Air Force, Royal Air Force jets arrive at Polish air base for joint training…, op. cit.

[5] Vide: Casimir Pulaski Foundation (eds.), Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) as a New Centre of Gravity. Recommendation on Strengthening Regional, European and Transatlantic Security [in:] Warsaw Security Forum 2023 – Annual Report, online – https://warsawsecurityforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/WSF2023_raport_20-09_WEB.pdf [accessed: 2.10.2023].

[6] Service ‘Rzeczpospolita’, On guarding the Baltic. Eurofighter on Air Policing mission, online – https://radar.rp.pl/przemysl-obronny/art39055391-na-strazy-baltyku-eurofighter-na-misji-air-policing [accessed: 2.10.2023].

[7] Vide: C. W. Lemoine, What exactly is Close Air Support? Expert Analysis, online – https://sofrep.com/fightersweep/what-close-air-support-is-and-isnt-part-one/ [accessed: 2.10.2023].

[8] L. Nye, This is what makes Joint Terminal Attack Controllers so deadly, online – https://www.wearethemighty.com/popular/why-jtacs-are-so-deadly/ [accessed: 2.10.2023].

[9] J. Sabak, British Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft in Poland. They will protect important visitors from London, online – https://portalobronny.se.pl/polityka-obronna/brytyjskie-mysliwce-eurofighter-typhoon-w-polsce-beda-chronic-waznych-gosci-z-londyu-aa-wUv8-Loqr-Ff8B.html [accessed: 2.10.2023].

[10] G. Allison, British fighter jets deploy to Poland, online –  https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/british-fighter-jets-deploy-to-poland/ [accessed: 2.10.2023].

[11] There has been a stagnation in the development of aircraft structures due to the effectiveness of the static–unstable aircraft in service to date, with banded or delta wings.

[12] B. Grenda, R. Bielawski, Directions of development of airborne means of destruction, War Studies University, Warsaw 2017, p. 55.

[13] Stealth – a set of camouflage techniques aimed at reducing as much as possible the probability of detecting an aircraft by common observation methods (visual, radio tracking systems). Currently, materials that partially absorb or reflect microwave radiation are used to build combat aircraft.

[14] Official website of Samolotypolskie.pl, Eurofighter ‘Typhoon’, online – http://www.samolotypolskie.pl/samoloty/953/126/Eurofighter-Typhoon [accessed: 2.10.2023].

Photo: Marcin Kurkus, official website DG RSZ on portal X, online – https://twitter.com/DGeneralneRSZ/status/1708768800911307200/photo/3 [accessed: 2.10.2023].

Tekst powstał w ramach realizacji zadania publicznego zleconego w ramach Rządowego Programu Rozwoju Organizacji Obywatelskich na lata 2018–2030 r. „Bezpieczna Polska jutra – rozwój działań misyjnych Alioth Foundation”.