Fighter jets above Eastbourne? Here’s what we know so far

Four fighter jets soared over Eastbourne this afternoon (Wednesday), sparking much speculation across town.

Wednesday, 6th November 2019, 4:12 pm
Chris Moorhouse

Some believe they were typhoons while others say the aircraft, which roared over Hampden Park towards Hastings at about 3pm, were F-16s.

The rumour mill has been working overtime, with reports it was an RAF (Royal Air Force) scramble.

However, Aviation photographer Matt Silvaire said, “They were four Belgian Air Component Lockheed Martin F-16AMs. Not sure where they came from but they were heading home to Belgium.”

Aviation photographer Matt Silvaire says they were Belgian Air Component Lockheed Martin F-16AMs, which he captured at Airbourne earlier this year SUS-190611-164042001

He said they were from the 31st ‘Tiger’ Squadron from Kleine Brogel Air Base, and he had photographed the same type of aircraft earlier this year at Airbourne, Eastbourne’s annual air show.

Another reader pointed out it could be to do with a series of NATO drills taking place across the south coast this week.

The UK Defence Journal reports the six-day operation called NEMO 19 will test how allied navies can defend themselves against “anti-ship cruise and hypersonic missiles”.

It started on Halloween (October 31) and involves 13 NATO countries – Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States.

The Herald has contacted the Ministry of Defence for further information.

A spokesperson for the MoD is looking into it but said “generally” the RAF does not fly over the south coast – but the Royal Navy does.

In the meantime, read about the last sightings over Eastbourne here: RAF expert explains fighter jets sightings in skies above Eastbourne