#1721 11 Sqn Typhoon FGR4 print
Squadron Prints Lithograph No. 1721 - ZK363, Typhoon FGR4, XI(F) Squadron, RAF Coningsby.
Formed at Netheravon on 14 February 1915, No XI Squadron moved to France on 25 July equipped with the Vickers FB5 Gunbus to become the first unit ever to be tasked specifically with fighter duties on the Western Front. During early combat engagements a Victoria Cross was won by Lieutenant G. S. M. Insall – the fourth to the Royal Flying Corps. The Squadron served as a fighter and reconnaissance unit and re-equipped with Bristol Fighters in 1917. It served as part of the occupation force in Germany before returning to the UK in September 1919 and disbanded on 31 December 1919. No XI Squadron reformed at Andover on 13 January 1923 in the bomber role and moved to India on 29 December 1928 where it remained until the outbreak of WWII when it took its Blenheims to Singapore. In May 1940 it went to Egypt, but the following month moved to Aden to support the Abyssinian campaign. The Squadron remained in the Middle East until March 1942 when it moved to Ceylon to fight the Japanese. A further move to Burma took place in January 1943 where the Squadron received Hurricane IICs that September. Re-equipment with Spitfires took place in June 1945 followed by a move to Japan in May 1946 as part of the occupation force where it then disbanded in February 1948. No XI Squadron returned to service in Germany on 4 October 1948 with Mosquito FB6s as a fighter-bomber unit. These aircraft were replaced with Vampire FB5s in August 1950 and the Squadron continued operations as part of the 2nd ATAF, re-equipping later with Venoms, Meteors and Javelins before disbanding again on 12 January 1966. It reformed with Lightning F6s on 1 April 1967 at Leuchars – its first UK base in 38 years – and moved to Binbrook in March 1972. With the Lightning it formed part of the Air Defence of the UK and was the last RAF Lightning Squadron. On 1 July 1988 it re-equipped with the Tornado F3 at Leeming as the lead element of the Leeming Air Defence Wing. Between August and December 1990 the Squadron deployed to Dhahran in Saudi Arabia as part of Operation DESERT SHIELD – the defence of Saudi Arabia from Iraqi aggression and concurrent Coalition force build-up to the liberation of Kuwait. The Squadron flew on Operation DENY FLIGHT over Bosnia from April to June 1993 and again from November 1994 until February 1995. Thereafter, operations over Iraq followed, initially as part of Operation RESINATE (SOUTH), leading up to Operation TELIC when the Squadron worked around the clock to develop the Suppression of Enemy Air Defence role for the F3 with the ALARM missile. The Squadron maintained a presence in the Falkland Islands providing Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) and also at home on QRA South duties at RAF Coningsby. As part of the UK’s NATO commitment, it deployed to Lithuania in late 2004 to undertake QRA in the Baltic region. With the introduction of the Typhoon the Squadron was disbanded as an F3 unit on 31 October 2005 and later reformed as XI(F) Squadron on 29 March 2007 at RAF Coningsby. Initially equipped with Typhoon F2 aircraft, the Squadron was later designated the lead Multi-Role frontline unit using Typhoon FGR4. The Squadron deployed to Gioia Del Colle in Italy on 20 March 2011 on Operation ELLAMY joining other NATO forces implementing UNSCR 1973 over Libya. On 9 July 2012, the Squadron enhanced UK QRA by forward deploying to RAF Northolt in support of Operation PROTEGO; the Air Policing Plan for the London 2012 Olympic Games. The Squadron also deployed to RAF Akrotiri (Cyprus) on 29 August 2013 to protect UK Sovereign Base Areas, during tensions in Syria, under Operation LUMINOUS. On 3 January 2017 the Squadron deployed to RAF Akrotiri in support of Operation SHADER, as part of the US led coalition against Daesh forces in Syria and Iraq. In 2022 XI(F) Squadron was the first UK fighter squadron to fly Combat Air Patrols over Eastern Europe to defend NATO’s borders in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.