Operation[edit | edit source]
QRA in the United Kingdom[edit | edit source]
Pilots on QRA duty are at immediate readiness twenty-four hours a day fully dressed in the Aircrew Ready Room, which are next to the hangars (a hardened aircraft shelter known informally as Q-sheds) which houses the interceptor aircraft, since 2007 the Eurofighter Typhoon. Pilots are on QRA duty around once or twice a month, each a twenty-four-hour shift. Two Typhoon aircraft are on duty, each with two 2,000 litre drop tanks, four Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missiles (ASRAAM), and four AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles.
Civilian aircraft in the UK are monitored by NATS Holdings at:
- Swanwick, Hampshire with the London Area Control Centre and London Terminal Control Centre (at RAF West Drayton until 2007), broadly known as the London Air Traffic Control Centre, which covers the London Flight Information Region (EGTT). The RAF have a team at Swanwick.
- Prestwick, which covers the Scotland Flight Information Region (EGPX) which is north of the Solway Firth.
- RRH Benbecula on the Outer Hebrides
- RRH Buchan off the A90 south of Peterhead
- RRH Brizlee Wood in Denwick, Northumberland (west of RAF Boulmer) three miles directly west of Alnwick in Hulne Park
- RRH Staxton Wold off the B1249 in Willerby in the east of North Yorkshire; the Yorkshire Wolds Way passes next to it.
- RRF Neatishead at Trimingham on the Norfolk coast
- RRH Portreath in Cornwall
The radars were Type 93, and are being replaced by the Lockheed Martin AN/FPS-117 system.
QRA response[edit | edit source]
Air traffic across Europe is controlled by Eurocontrol in Brussels. Military aircraft from Russia can be tracked across Norway, and reported to the Norwegian Joint Headquarters near Bodø, or the Combined Air Operations Centre 2 (CAOC UE) in Uedem, North Rhine-Westphalia close to the border with The Netherlands. The Russian Tu-95 Bear aircraft originate from the Olenya base on the Kola Peninsula and the Tu-160 Blackjack aircraft come from the Engels-2 base near Saratov.
A QRA response involves the fighter aircraft being scrambled to investigate an infringement of the NATO country's airspace. This may also be a civilian aircraft that poses a threat, if not sufficiently responding to air traffic control (ATC); incidents of this nature in the UK are monitored by the Control and Reporting Centre (CRC) at RAF Boulmer, which builds a 3D Recognised Air Picture and RAF Air Command, if notified, decides whether to send a QRA response.
QRA RAF stations[edit | edit source]
Currently there are two QRA RAF stations, of 1 Group.
- RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire looks after the southern sector of the UK, known as QRA South.
- RAF Lossiemouth in Moray protects the northern sector of the UK, referred to as QRA North, hosted by 1 Sqn, No. 2 Squadron RAF and 6 Sqn.
History[edit | edit source]
United Kingdom[edit | edit source]
QRA North was moved from RAF Leuchars to RAF Lossiemouth on 1 September 2014.
2012 Olympics[edit | edit source]
To cover the security for the 2012 Summer Olympics, part of QRA South was briefly moved from RAF Coningsby to RAF Northolt.
See also[edit | edit source]
- Baltic Air Policing
- Cold War II
- Combined Air Operations Centre Finderup
- Integrated NATO Air Defense System
- Category:Military radars of the United Kingdom
- Category:Telecommunications equipment of the Cold War
- Category:Soviet Long Range Aviation bases
References[edit | edit source]
[edit | edit source]
- September 2012 MoD document
- RAF 2004 (Report). Royal Air Force. 2004. pp. 38–43. http://www.raf.mod.uk/rafcms/mediafiles/01A22E2E_DBE9_8D3B_C7AC8A965544E238.pdf. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
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