Wing Commander Lavender handed over the Squadron’s number plate from the Phantoms to Wing Commander Quarterman of the new Jaguar unit on the 1st of October 1974. After a brief run up at RAF Lossiemouth, the
Squadron moved to RAF Coltishall in the November. Its role however was unchanged as a ground attack squadron being declared to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) as part of NATO’s Allied Central Europe (ACE) Mobile Force. As such and with the Cold War still in full swing, the Squadron was fully involved in the role of a rapidly deployable force to reinforce preset locations in Europe. The Squadron, therefore in the late seventies and eighties, was heavily involved with the training exercises and evaluations that NATO commanded, with regular visits to the airbases in Norway and in Denmark that would be the forward operating locations for the Squadron if the “Cold War” had ever became “Hot”.
Such exercises involved the rapid Operational Turn Round (OTR) training of refuelling and rearming aircraft in nuclear biological and chemical environments, wearing “goon suits”, “gas masks” and practicing emergency deployment procedures. The Squadron was also a participant in several the NATO maritime exercises, operating from Gibraltar and the annual armament practice camp at the NATO base at Decimomannu, Sardinia. It was also at this time that the RAF began to be involved in the large North American “Flag” exercises. The Squadron travelled to its first “RED FLAG” at Nellis AFB, Las Vegas in 1978. It was also a regular participant in the “MAPLE FLAG” exercises based at CAF Cold Lake in Canada. As the RAF Coltishall Jaguar Squadrons were qualified in air-to-air refuelling, they were given the task of ferrying Jaguars to and from the USA and Canada of behalf of the RAF Germany squadrons, so frequent trips across the “pond” accompanied by Victor tankers were commonplace.
Although not involved in any “hot” wars at this stage, the Cold War training requirements were always challenging, and frequent international competitions were a good way of maintaining a competitive edge. One such was the Tactical Bombing Competition held at RAF Lossiemouth in 1978 against USAF and RAF Germany opposition. The 6 Squadron team did well by winning 5 of the 7 trophies.
The regime for this period of the Squadron’s history was to “Train for War”, however it had not been since Suez in 1956 that t
he Squadron had actively been involved in “hot” operations.
By the end of 1989, with the easing of European tensions brought about by the internal collapse of the Warsaw Pact and the withdrawal of the Soviet Forces from Eastern Europe, the task that the Squadron had been committed to was rapidly being made redundant. However it was not long before the Squadron found itself facing new challenges with the unproven British Jaguars having the chance to show their claws.