1991 – 2003

Jag Painting by Andrew Hay

Jag Painting by Andrew Hay

On the return of the Jaguar force from the Gulf in the March of 1991, the Squadron settled back to peacetime training. However it was not long before further events in Iraq would affect the affairs of 6 Squadron. With the failure of the Kurdish uprising in the north of Iraq and Saddam’s subsequent repression, the Jaguar force was assigned to carry out the reconnaissance element of the joint US/UK no-fly zone of Iraq, under the title of Operation Warden. Operating out of Incirlik (Adana) in south eastern Turkey from the August of 1991, the Coltishall squadrons operated on a rotational basis of every two months supporting 4 aircraft. From the hotels in the Gulf, members of the squadron found themselves accommodated in tents, fortunately of the American air-

conditioned variety. The Squadron also found itself patrolling over the area it used to patrol in the 1920s and keeping an eye on bases it used to fly from in that period and in the 1950s as well!

At the start of February 1993, Harriers replaced the Jaguar force, however it was not long before the Squadron was back on active operations, again operating in an area that had been a stomping ground for the Squadron before. After the break up of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s and the subsequent civil war in Bosnia, the United Nations set up a no-fly zone over Bosnia under the supervision of NATO as Operation Deny Flight.

Jaguars

Jaguars

The Jaguars were based at the southern heel of Italy at Gioia Del Colle, again with a rolling rotation of the Coltishall squadrons. This time however the Jaguars were in a more aggressive mode. The missions over Bosnia became “Hot” in August 1995 when the squadron deployed in full to support Operation Vulcan, the air bombardment of Bosnian Serb targets to force an end to the conflict. In this period the squadron was not always involved in operations, but did take part in many training exercises including the annual trips to North America.

The Squadron again deployed to Italy as an emergency measure when NATO decided to put on a show of force against Serbian repression in Kosovo in the June of 1998. 1998 also saw the Squadron return back to Incirlik to continue its reconnaissance duties over the northern Iraqi no-fly zone, now called Operation Resinate (North). It was not rare for aircrew operating in this

6 Sqn Bulgaria Visit 2002

6 Sqn Bulgaria Visit 2002

zone to come under attack from Iraqi air defence systems, as Saddam Hussein desperately wanted the capture of any allied aircrew. With the aftermath of September 11, and the American decision to deal with Saddam Hussein, operations over Iraq took a more aggressive edge. However with the beginning of the war with Iraq and the closure of Operation Resinate, the Jaguars returned home. Away from operations, the next 5 years saw the updating of the Jaguar, with major advances in the sophistication of the avionics fit for the aircraft, making it a highly capable system in all environments.

The additional modifications of night vision aids allowed the Squadron to become the first Jaguar unit to become night combat ready. The usual Squadron detachments were spiced up by visits to Davis Monthan in Arizona and in 2002 with the “Partnership for Peace ” deployment to Bulgaria for Exercise Lone Cat, the Squadron became the first RAF squadron to take part in a joint NATO / ex Warsaw Pact exercise. This detachment was a great success. The Squadron passed 90 years of continuous service in the twilight of the aircraft which the squadron had operated with great distinction for one third of its life and looked forward to the future and the planned conversion to the Eurofighter Typhoon.