RAF Cold War Jets! After victory in World War II, the RAF was to be further re-organized, as technological advances in air warfare saw the arrival of jet fighters and bombers. The first significant Cold War action of the RAF was its support to the Berlin Airlift in 1948 and 1949 which was originally designated Operation Knicker and Operation Carter-Paterson and later titled Operation Plainfare.
Although the United Kingdom did not base any RAF squadrons in Korea during the Korean War, several RAF pilots saw action while on exchange with the United States Air Force, mainly flying F-86 Sabres. They were credited with seven kills. Other RAF pilots flew Meteors in RAF squadrons on ground support attacks. Two flights of Army Cooperation aircraft flew in support of artillery spotting and reconnaissance. In addition, the two RAF squadrons of flying boats were based in Japan and flew maritime reconnaissance.
Before Britain developed its own nuclear weapons the RAF was provided with American nuclear weapons under Project E. After Britain developed its own nuclear weapons, the RAF's V bomber squadrons took sole responsibility for carrying the UK's nuclear deterrent until the development of the Royal Navy's Polaris submarines. Following the introduction of Polaris in 1968 the RAF's strategic nuclear role was reduced to a tactical one, using the WE.177 gravity bombs. This tactical role was continued by the V bombers into the 1980s and until 1998 by Tornado GR1s.
The primary role of the RAF in the Cold War years was the defence of Western Europe against potential attack by the Soviet Union, with many squadrons based in West Germany. With the decline of the British Empire, global operations were scaled back, and RAF Far East Air Force was disbanded on 31 October 1971.
Despite this, the RAF fought in many battles in the Cold War period. In June 1948 the RAF commenced Operation Firedog against Malayan terrorists during the Malayan Emergency. Operations continued for the next 12 years until 1960 with aircraft flying out of RAF Tengah and RAF Butterworth. The RAF played a minor role in the Korean War, with flying boats taking part. From 1953 to 1956 the RAF Avro Lincoln squadrons carried out anti-Mau Mau operations in Kenya using its base at RAF Eastleigh. The Suez Crisis in 1956 saw a large RAF role, with aircraft operating from RAF Akrotiri and RAF Nicosia on Cyprus and RAF Luqa and RAF Hal Far on Malta as part of Operation Musketeer. The Konfrontasi against Indonesia in the early 1960s did see use of RAF aircraft, but due to a combination of deft diplomacy and selective ignoring of certain events by both sides, it never developed into a full scale war.
Tags: RAF Cold war Jets, RAF, Cold war Jets, Jetfighter, UK, airpower, Cold war, Conflict, Europe, Project E, Britain, Soviet Union, Communism, Nuclear Weapons, Guardian
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