Exercise Cobra Warrior is taking place at from Monday 2nd September to Friday 20th September. The aircraft of the German Air Force, Italian Air Force & Israeli Air Force will be based at RAF Waddington. This is set to be the largest Air Exercise that has taken place in many years out of RAF Waddington, certainly since the Runway refurbishment and with The Waddington Airshow being no more it is set to attract a lot of attention to a scale that the area has not seen for many years.
Support aircraft are due to arrive and depart from Monday 19th August 2019 to Monday 30th September so there should be ample opportunity to photograph Transport Aircraft although during the Exercise Waddington based Aircraft are believed to be Fighter Jets, well, all bar one Israeli Tanker for part of it.
Exercise Cobra Warrior also includes fighters from the Royal Air Force and The United States Air Force as well, but they will fly from their UK bases during the exercise. The Exercise is actually about training and qualifying the Weapons Instructors in simulated Tactical Environments and was previously called the CQWI (Combined Qualified Weapons Instructor) Exercise and is the largest collective training Exercise hosted by the RAF.
Summary of Key Dates
Exercise: Monday 2nd to Friday 20th September
Support: Monday 19th August to Monday 30th September
Fast Jet Arrivals: Week commencing Tuesday 27th August (Monday is Bank Holiday)
Italian Air Force
Fighter wise it looks like we will be getting Eurofighter Typhoons from the Italian Air Force in a similar quantity to the four that operated from Waddington on Cobra Warrior 2018.
Rumoured Support Aircraft: Lockheed C-130 Hercules Variants
Rumoured Fighter Aircraft: Eurofighter Typhoon
German Air Force (Luftwaffe)
Then the largest contingent is expected to be from the German Air Force also with their Eurofighter 2000’s, but unfortunately were not expecting their Tornado’s to make an appearance this year.
Rumoured Support Aircraft: Airbus A400M, Airbus A310 MRTT
Rumoured Fighter Aircraft: 10x Eurofighter 2000 (Eurofighter Typhoon)
Israeli Air Force
It’s been widely reported that we will see Israeli Air Force F-15’s although probably not their latest “I” variant who are rumoured to have cancelled. The remaining Jets are rumoured to be from 106 “Spearhead” Squadron based at Tel Nof Airbase and are believed to operate B, C & D Variants. For some of the Exercise these will be supported by the Israeli Boeing 707, it’s likely to be the Tanker Transport Version which they are believed to have nine of, rather than the AWACS version which they are believed to only have one of.
Rumoured Support Aircraft: Boeing 707, Lockheed C-130 Hercules Variants
Rumoured Fighter Aircraft: 7x McDonnell Douglas F-15 (B/C/D) Eagles of 106Sqn (Spearhead Squadron) of Tel Nof Airbase
Frequency of Exercise Flying
As for Frequency of Flying a during the Exercise it’s hard to say and I probably won’t be able to release any Sortie times. A rhythm of “one day on, one day off” was observed last year. A NOTAM has been raised for Exercise Flying that follows this rhythm. However my sources say there is non-Exercise related flying of Exercise aircraft in both the afternoons of the “on” days and during the “off” days. So at this stage I’m hopeful we will get fast Jet Flying every day during the three week Exercise period.
Anything I can reveal according to our Source Information Policy Rules will go on to our diary HERE. I can not stress how important it is to keep checking the diary. Its free, available to anyone, can be searched and will be the first thing we update with any rumours.
Unfortunately we are not going to be able to answer the many “Do you know whats flying?” messages we get on social media.
An interesting NOTAM H5447/19 has been brought to my attention:
E) MIL EXERCISE. INTENSE FAST JET AERIAL ACTIVITY. ACFT MAY BE UNABLE TO COMPLY WITH RAC. NON-PARTICIPATING MIL ACFT ARE REQUESTED TO AVOID THE AREA WI AREA BOUNDED BY 560938N 0024841W - 561625N 0023238W - 561449N 0001312W - 555631N 0005309E - 553914N 0015615E - 542636N 0011534E - 543003N 0005954E - 544237N 0001428E - 550035N 0005050W - 550434N 0010814W - 550716N 0011424W - 551332N 0012117W - 551115N 0013048W - 560938N 0024841W. ACN 2019-09-0042 REFERS. FOR INFO 01489 612943. 19-09-0042/AS3
What this means
We have to make some assumptions at this point, so assuming this is Exercise Cobra Warrior related, it would establish a possible rhythm for actual Exercise flying. To translate the NOTAM dates and times into a local time schedule it would return the following:
Monday 2nd September 0930-1400
Wednesday 4th September 0930-1400
Friday 6th September 0900-1300
Monday 9th September 0930-1400
Wednesday 11th September 0930-1400
Friday 13th September 0900-1300
Monday 16th September 0930-1400
Wednesday 18th September 0930-1400
Friday 20th September 0900-1300
The Geographical Area the NOTAM covers is:
The Waddington Aircraft Viewing Enclosure (WAVE) and Sentry Post Cafe/Snackbar at the WAVE will be open throughout. Entry will be free and reading between the lines I think the authorities will be keen for people visiting to restrict themselves to the WAVE, so if you venture outside the WAVE please only go where you know you are legaly entitled to be! Also remember the Senty Post has had a difficult few years with the Runway works, they open 7 days a week normally to provide a service to the spotting community and face increased overheads to cater for the surge of people likely to attend so they very much need your support.
The hedge running alongside the A15 has been cut down to a height that photographers should be able to photograph without the use of ladders. This also ties in with the authorities request of “Do not use ladders on or around the fence line” which is something to be mindful of.
The WAVE can accommodate about 135 vehicles. However overspill parking is likely to be available on the old Dispersals south of the WAVE near the Fire & Rescue Training Facility.
To give you an idea of the layout the WAVE is located at the Green Arrow and the likely Overspill Parking Area is indicated by the Red Arrow.
It is likely that once the WAVE is full the gates or at least the entrance gate will be closed to highlight this to visitors. If this is the case head towards the Highlighted Overspill Area at which point I’m hoping an event Marshall will make themselves known and direct you accordingly. Should capacity then be reached they may deem it appropriate to fill some of the old hard standing areas between the WAVE and the Overspill but that’s only my own speculation. Access to the Fire & Rescue Training facility will need to be maintained and bear in mind heavy and wide machinery is used on that site too!
Lincolnshire County Council have raised some Traffic Orders for the Exercise which are worth being aware of. These will be in force from 15th August to 23rd Septmeber and are:
Temporary No Waiting/No Loading At Any Time (Including verges) Order
A15 (between 50 metres north of Bloxholm Lane & 150 metres south of B1178) B1178 (between A607 & a point 540 metres east)
Temporary 30mph Speed Limit Order
A15 (between 50 metres north of Bloxholm Lane & 150 metres south of B1178)
No Overtaking Order
A15 (between 50 metres north of Bloxholm Lane & 150 metres south of B1178)
Messages from the Authorities
Further Signage will be present and in those the following points will be made:
- Please stay within designated viewing areas
- Obey commands from Lincolnshire Police
- Keep the A15, verges and access routes clear for traffic
- Do not stand in the undershoot of arriving or departing aircraft
- Do not stand or climb on fence lines around the airfield
- Do not use ladders on or around the fence line
- Absolutely no use of drones under any circumstances
Articles & Links
Israel’s air force set for first-ever joint exercise with the RAF in Britain – Jewish Cronicle
Israeli F-15 fighter jets to take part in exercise over British skies – UK Defence Journal
Forum Posts on scramble.nl
Forum Posts on Fighter Control
Aircraft Log So far
Monday 19th August
“IAM4679” MM62181 [Lockheed KC-130J Hercules] Of 50º Gruppo | 46º Brigata Aerea Silvio Angelucci | Support and Special Forces Command |Air Fleet Command | Italian Air Force at Pisa Air Base
“GAF003” 54+23 [Airbus A400M Atlas] of Luftwaffe (German Air Force)
Friday 23rd August
“IAM4673” MM62178 [Lockheed KC-130J Hercules] Of 2º Gruppo
German Eurofighter 2000’s
Italian Eurofighter Typhoons
RAF Waddington Map
Please zoom in!