#1544 Typhoon FGR4
Squadron Prints Lithograph No. 1544 - ZK372, Typhoon FGR4, 12 Squadron, RAF Coningsby.
No 12 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, was formed at Netheravon on 14 February 1915, out of a flight of No 1 Squadron. By April 1915, the Squadron was fully equipped with B.E.2c aircraft and on 6 September, 12 Squadron arrived at St Omer to become Headquarters squadron for long-range reconnaissance. During 1916, the Squadron reequipped with B.E.2e aircraft which were replaced by the R.E.8 during 1917 allowing the Squadron to successfully undertake night bombing duties. By the end of World War I, 12 Squadron had successfully downed 45 enemy aircraft. After the Armistice, the Squadron moved with the Army of Occupation and flew Bristol F.2B Fighters until disbanding at Bickendorf in 1922 as the last operational squadron in Germany. 12 Squadron reformed as a bomber squadron at Northolt in 1923 equipped with D.H.9A aircraft; these were soon replaced by Fawns which were then superseded by Fairey Foxes. 12(B) Squadron was the only squadron to operate the Fox which outshone all other aircraft of the time, hence the Squadron motto ‘Leads the Field’ and the inclusion of a fox’s mask on the Squadron crest. The Squadron took delivery of Harts then reequipped again with Hinds before moving to Andover in March 1924. Fairey Battles were received in February 1938 and the Squadron took these aircraft to France at the outbreak of World War II. After a short period of heavy losses, the Squadron returned to the United Kingdom where it reequipped with the Vickers Wellington and joined the main force of Bomber Command. Lancasters were received in November 1942 and were retained until the arrival of Lincolns in 1946. The Squadron moved into the jet era with the arrival of Canberra B2 in 1952 and then the B6 in 1955. 12(B) Squadron was disbanded in 1961 to reform in 1962 as part of the expanding V Force, operating the Vulcan B2 from Coningsby prior to being disbanded once more in 1967. The Squadron reformed again at Honington in 1969 as a low-level Maritime Strike Attack Squadron, equipped with the Buccaneer S.2B and moved to Lossiemouth in 1980. In response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1991, the Squadron deployed to Bahrain and conducted target designation and bombing missions over Iraq. No 12(B) Squadron reequipped with the Tornado GR1 in 1993, retaining its maritime strike commitment but soon began repeated deployments to the Middle East conducting armed reconnaissance missions and enforcing the Iraqi no-fly zones. In 1999, 12(B) Squadron took delivery of the Tornado GR4 and during 2003, spearheaded the RAF’s involvement in the second Gulf Conflict. In 2009, 12(B) Squadron was the first Tornado GR4 squadron to deploy to Afghanistan and successfully conducted the first operational employments of Dual Mode Seeker Brimstone and Paveway IV from the Tornado GR4. In 2011, whilst supporting the enduring Tornado Force commitment in Afghanistan, personnel from 12(B) Squadron were called upon to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya. Crews flew operational reconnaissance and attack missions from both Gioia del Colle, Italy and Marham, United Kingdom. 12(B) Squadron disbanded at Lossiemouth on 31 March 2014. Following the decision to maintain three Tornado GR4 front-line squadrons, 12(B) Squadron reformed at RAF Marham on 9 January 2015. The Squadron deployed to RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, playing a vital role in the RAF’s contribution to the coalition operating against Islamic State. With the demise of the RAF’s Tornado fleet, the Squadron disbanded on 14 February 2018. Only a few months later, on 24 July 2018, the Squadron was reactivated again as the UK’s seventh frontline Typhoon FGR4 Squadron, returning to RAF Coningsby for the first time since 1967. As well as fulfilling frontline duties such as Quick Reaction Alert of the UK and her dependent territories, 12 Squadron is linked intrinsically with a deal between the Governments of the UK and Qatar to supply the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) with 24 Typhoon and 9 Hawk aircraft. This sees QEAF air and groundcrew receive training in operating and maintaining the latest version of Typhoon with 12 Squadron as they prepare for the delivery of their own aircraft in 2022. Hence, 12 Squadron is the first ‘joint squadron’ the RAF has operated since the Second World War – another first in the Squadron’s distinguished history of ‘Leading the Field’.