Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon aircraft from 6 Squadron, based at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland were welcomed at Azraq airbase in Jordan to celebrate a common heritage.
The RAF Typhoons were on their way to exercise in the Middle East where Azraq airbase commander, Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) Colonel Mohammad Hiyasat welcomed them. He said: “In the 1950s the late King Abdullah the First presented the RAF No 6 Squadron with the Royal Standard. Then in 1995 Jordanian No 6 Squadron and the British No 6 squadron became sister squadrons. His Royal Highness Prince Faisal, a squadron commander, led the efforts to join the two squadrons because he knew that cooperation would benefit both air forces.”
Typhoon Force Commander, Air Commodore Ian Duguid who flew in one of the Typhoons from the UK was enthusiastic, saying: “The opportunity to come and fly into this part of the Middle East, though Jordanian airspace and land in Azraq air base provides exceptional training. I was fortunate to fly on the trail from the UK here to Azraq. In the fourship two of the pilots were on their first posting and I have seen their confidence and experience grow.”
He added: “We thought it would be an excellent idea whilst 6 Squadron was deploying for them to be able to come and base themselves at Azraq, which is the home of 6 Squadron of the RJAF, and be able to interact and rekindle those relationships and friendships we have had over the years. The UK has a great relationship with Jordan from a strategic perspective. Clearly we are working with Jordan and many others in the coalition in the fight against Daesh. The Jordanians are able to offer us support through airspace overflight and diversion capabilities.”
Lieutenant Colonel Sa’ad Shehaltogh, Officer Commanding 6 Squadron of the Royal Jordanian Air Force recognised the long heritage, saying: “For me it is an honour to be commander of a squadron that has a relationship with the RAF’s 6 Squadron that dates to the 1950s and later when HRH Prince Faisal was a squadron commander.” He continued: “This is the continuation of a legacy. It’s something we shouldn’t lose and of which we should be proud. Hopefully people will be here in the future celebrating the hundred years of the squadrons as sisters.”
Wing Commander Billy Cooper, Officer Commanding 6 Squadron of the RAF said: “One of the great things about the squadrons in the RAF is the real sense of history we engender and that really informs the ethos that we have. Our relationship with Jordan is such an important part of 6 Squadron’s history that it really is a great privilege for us to rekindle that here at Azraq.”
RJAF 6 Squadron pilot, Captain Mohammed Abu Aljazar speaking at a reception held for the visiting pilots from Lossiemouth said: “It’s a very good opportunity since we had never met before and we have an old history between us. We hope to meet and train together in the UK in the future.”
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