"I'd rather go to war in a Typhoon than in a F-18 (Super) Hornet" an Aussie exchange pilot says

“I’d rather go to war in a Typhoon than in a F-18 Hornet”. This alleged Australian exchange pilot’s statement is one of the most interesting outcomes (and marketing slogans) of BERSAMA LIMA 11 an exercise marking the 40th Anniversary of the Five Powers Defence Agreement (FPDA) the only multilateral defence agreement in South East Asia with an operational element commitment undertaken by five nations (UK, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Australia) to consult in the event of an attack on Singapore or Malaysia.

Image source: RAF/Crown Copyright

This year’s edition of the exercise was attended by 18 ships, two submarines, 4000 troops and 68 aircraft: among them four RAF Typhoons (three single seat and one twin seat jets, both belonging to the Tranche 2) from RAF Leuchars that undertook a 4-day 7,000 mile trip to RMAF Butterworth (including stops in Jordan, Oman and Sri Lanka).

According to an email I’ve received today from a Eurofighter pilot, the overall performance of the plane was almost faultless and much better than anybody had anticipated in spite of the limited support and spare parts available:

“There were no significant problems with the aircraft apart from a small radar issue on one aircraft during the exercise. No issues were attributed to the extreme humidity and local environment, a significant improvement on performance during the Singapore campaign.”

During Bersana Lima 11, the British Typhoons, that had their baptism of fire in the air-to-surface role during the Air War in Libya,  faced Malaysian Mig 29s, Australian F-18s (C and F) and Singaporean F16s using for the first time during an operational deployment, their electric hat (HMSS/HEA – Helmet Mounted Simbology System/Helmet Equipment Assembly the Typhoon JHMCS equivalent) and “easily came out on top in all engagements.”

To such an extent that the Aussie pilot made the notable comment (don’t forget the Royal Australian Air Force is an operator of both Legacy and Super Hornets….).

Image by Nicola Ruffino

Shortlisted in the Indian MMRCA (Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft) tender for 126 fighter planes for the Indian Air Force with the Dassault Rafale (the recent loser of the Switzerland selection for a fighter plane to replace the ageing F-5Es), with Ex. Bersana Lima 11 the Typhoon has undertaken another operative (and marketing) campaign to prove the aircraft expeditionary capabilities and its superior technology.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Sorry I can not find the button to answer at the right place

    Regarding PR and marketing, I can only agree with you. It’s not the first time I read stories such as the one you describe. It’s really a pity to see how bad they are in marketing, I think French always look at marketing and PR in a kind of disdainful way
    Regarding articles from Libération and Le Monde, just to put in perspective: these papers are the main competitors in France of Le Figaro, which is owned by… Dassault. So of course they tend to not be very kind with the Rafale. If you look for example at the Figaro of today, you will see a very different tone in the Edelstenne’s interview. There are also internal politics here, as Liberation and Le Monde are left-wing papers, whereas Serge Dassault is a strong supporter of Sarkozy…

  2. Typhoon pilots are the luckiest pilots on Earth – they don’t have to face in anger an F22, and F35, or an AEGIS-equipped warship.

  3. Australia and New Zealand have come a long way from their former deep loyalty to the UK. Time was when both would use whatever fighter was being or had been used by the UK as a matter of course. I would recall New Zealand’s wartime PM, Peter Fraser, resisting New Zealand getting its own navy, the Royal New Zealand Navy, rather than remaining an integral part of the Royal Navy, saying, “now is not the time to break away from the old country”.

    With Australia’s open and long standing preference for the F-22 having been rebuffed by the US, and its adoption of the F-35 having clearly been a second choice owing to range and payload issues, perhaps the UK’s announcement of its new Tempest stealth fighter (with a strong desire to find other countries as partners) will lead to Australia joining in the project.

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