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101. RAF Leuchars. (NO 470 208)

RAF Leuchars in Fife houses two fighter squadrons and one reserve squadron, each of whom use the F3 variation of the Tornado. Both of the active squadrons, 43 and 111, compromise of 16 F3 Tornados and a total of 14 aircraft from both squadrons were sent to the Gulf as part of Operation Telic in 2003 and deployed over Iraq.

The F3 Tornado is the UK's principal air defence fighter, and there are 51 based at Leuchars. The F3 can carry a number of different armaments including air to air and air to surface missiles. In 2003, the Tornado F3 squadrons were equipped with the ALARM anti-radiation missile, designed to suppress enemy air defences. The ALARM missile contains a loiter function whereby it ascends to a height of 13km if the target radar is shut down and deploys a parachute. When the target radar is turned on again, it fires a secondary motor to attack it. The Iraq conflict of 2003 saw this missile being used on a wide-scale basis for the first time.

Squadrons 43 and 111 from Leuchars were based in Al Kharj, Saudi Arabia during the conflict and their main task was to patrol the no-fly zones over Iraq. They had total air superiority due to air power and technology. In total, the aircraft from RAF Leuchars flew nearly 1,000 hours of missions during the conflict.

It is expected that the Eurofighter Typhoon will replace all of the Tornado F3s based at Leuchars in 2008. This means that there will be £51 billion worth of aircraft based in Fife. In 2001-2002 the operating costs of the base were £60.5 million.

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