Up to 75 aircraft in any one day were deployed from numerous stations across the UK, with six Italian Eurofighter Typhoons alongside a varying number from the RAF each day, as well as with German ECR Tornados, USAF F-16s, F-35as, a G550 CAEW and more.
Cobra Warrior is a tactical training event which combines different aircrew and supporting elements from the UK and NATO allies. The main objective is to develop tactical skills, techniques, and procedures in complex large-scale scenarios.
Thanks to NATO’s involvement deployed forces are able to enhance interoperability between members and further hone their tactics. The aircraft and resources were split into blue and red forces, switching between striking simulated targets and gaining control of the air.
For example, on a typical day, four of the Italian Eurofighters could be deployed as part of the blue team to attack the target versus the red team, which could include their remaining two Eurofighters, who are tasked with defending air-to-air threats.
Leading the Italian Eurofighter deployment based out of RAF Waddington for the exercise, Major Marco S. said: “We believe the Typhoon is going to be the backbone of the Italian Air Force for many years to come and, having had the opportunity to maximise their potential is great. We are very happy with its performance.”
He said that some of the best traits of the Eurofighter Typhoon — its performance at speed and altitude, and its weapon carrying abilities — were brought to the fore during the exercise.
He added: “Not only does an exercise like Cobra Warrior test and mark the completion of our weapons instructor syllabus, but we are able to integrate with partner nations and put our aircraft to the test in a very challenging environment.”
The Typhoon is great because it can operate in both air-to-air and air-to-ground roles, and we are regularly switching roles throughout the course of Cobra Warrior
The three-week exercise, conducted through September, is the first in several years because of the pandemic. This training event was supported by RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, which is responsible for the delivery of training packages, using the Air Space Warfare Centre.
Base Deputy Commandant, RAF Group Captain Andy Burton said: “Interoperability is really vital. While many overlap, the different nations bring different capabilities together which really complement each other. For example, it is great that the RAF and Italian Air Force both fly the Eurofighter, as this gives us the chance to work together and understand how each approaches the aircraft.
"The Typhoon is great because it can operate in both air-to-air and air-to-ground roles, and we are regularly switching roles throughout the course of Cobra Warrior. Likewise, the German Air Force’s ECR Tornados are designed for electronic warfare and bring additional capabilities that we don’t have.
"Cobra Warrior demonstrates that we are ready to work together and that’s important with the current situations around the world.
"Interoperability doesn’t happen by chance; so, unless we practice together and fly missions together, we simply won’t be able to do it when the day arises that we need to. These three weeks provide a fantastic opportunity to do that.”