The presence of 6 Squadron at RIAT 2014 is particularly welcome this year, given the various anniversaries being celebrated at the show. Having formed on 31 January 1914 as part of the Royal Flying Corps, the Squadron has been celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, which has led to a set of special markings being applied to one of its Typhoons. Consisting of desert camouflage along its tail and spine, the scheme pays homage to one of the Squadron's finest hours combatting tanks with the Hawker Hurricane Mk.IID over the North African Desert during 1942-43. Such exploits led to the nickname they retain today - 'The Flying Canopeners'. In more contemporary history, 6 Squadron was the last to operate the ground-attack Jaguar GR.3/3A and T.4 in RAF service when they disbanded at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire during May 2007. It took until 2010 for the distinguished unit to be reactivated when it became the fourth to operate the Eurofighter Typhoon and the first to do so in Scotland. Alongside 1 (Fighter) Squadron it has for some years maintained the northern commitment to Quick Reaction Alert duties, intercepting unknown or suspicious aircraft deemed a possible threat to UK airspace and also deployed its aircraft all over the world; most notably to RMAF Butterworth in Malaysia in 2013. Due to the impending closure of its current home at RAF Leuchars in Fife, 6 Squadron will have formally moved to RAF Lossiemouth in Moray by the time RIAT 2014 begins in July.
Photo credit: Andy J Donovan