I agree. Nice to know that if they need to, they'll do it. Which bit is it you doubt? That the bang was an RAF fighter or that the RAF fighters were racing to a civilian helicopter?There's something kind of reassuring to know that in the case of an emergency, the RAF pull out the stops & go supersonic over land.
Well, that's the official explanation anyway...:rolleyes:
Where did you see a Typhoon breaking the sound barrier before? Sonic booms do tend to have a lot of energy in them. So much that you can see them:Was shaking my mates house! I can't really believe that breaking the sound barrier would cause so much noise. I've seen a typhoon do it before and it didn't have that effect so I reckon something must have gone pretty bad in the plane itself.
Where did you see a Typhoon breaking the sound barrier before? Sonic booms do tend to have a lot of energy in them. So much that you can see them:
ROSS COULTHART: That key SAS role - to be an army's eyes behind enemy lines -
was what the Australians did again a year later in the western desert of Iraq.
From here coalition planners feared ballistic missiles might be launched into
Israel as Saddam's response to an invasion, possibly triggering a nuclear
response from Tel Aviv. SAS teams were to search for Saddam's missiles or his
alleged weapons of mass destruction. Now they were waiting on the border for the
command to enter Iraq.
SQUADRON COMMANDER PAUL: It came from the Prime Minister and also in conjunction
with the President of the United States. I indicated to the boss that we were
ready to go and he said, "You have the green light" and I replied "No worries,
boss, who dares, wins! I'll see you when it's all over." We were invading a
country which hadn't been done since Gallipoli for Australia, and, you know, the
adrenaline was very high.
ROSS COULTHART: As the Australians crossed the border they knew that elite Iraqi
units, specially trained to hunt down SAS forces, were waiting for them. And
before long, they were found.
JOHN, SAS PATROL MEMBER: They definitely weren't conscript soldiers. They were
very aggressive. They were very well trained. They moved towards us. We moved
TROOP COMMANDER QUENTIN: They were operating in sports utility vehicles with
large machine guns mounted in the rear tray and on observing our location, they
began engaging us with heavy machine-gun fire, small-arms fire and rocket-propelled
JASON, PATROL MEMBER: When you come under fire, you really don't think about it
ROSS COULTHART: What was going through your head?
JASON, PATROL MEMBER: Well, basically getting to the next vantage point so you
can return fire. You really don't think about the rounds coming in at you.
You're just making sure that you're doing your drills correctly and that you're
backing up your mate in the next car.
ROSS COULTHART: Trooper John later earned a medal for his bravery during this
three-hour battle. Under heavy fire he used Javelin shoulder-launched missiles
to destroy two Iraqi vehicles.
TROOP COMMANDER QUENTIN: Both sides in this particular instance actually stopped
shooting to watch this rocket cruise through the air and that actually engaged a
moving vehicle at high speeds, moving away from us, and I think that changed the
JOHN, SAS PATROL MEMBER: It was a little bit daunting seeing so many enemy
coming towards us, but when we saw how effective our weapons systems were in
neutralising their vehicles, and you could actually physically see the shock on
the enemy's faces when they did see their vehicles destroyed.
SQUADRON COMMANDER PAUL: We were getting rounds splashing all around the
vehicles around the guys when they dismounted. We were getting RPG - rocket-propelled
grenades - exploding over our heads, at times, and behind us.
JOHN, SAS PATROL MEMBER: Quite a few of the enemy at this stage started to
surrender, cause they had seen two of their vehicles destroyed but that being
said, there was also quite a few hiding in the grass returning fire with their
rocket launchers and their small arms. Several also attempted to set up a mortar
tube and they were about to try and engage us with that.
ROSS COULTHART: So, what did you do?
JOHN, SAS PATROL MEMBER: We couldn't really engage the enemy around the mortar
tube because there were some surrendering so we engaged the mortar tube with a
sniper rifle and that was very effective. The round hit the tube and caused a
mortar bomb that was in the tube to explode.
SQUADRON COMMANDER PAUL: There was a Bedouin tent in between us and the enemy.
The enemy promptly moved in behind that and in amongst the Bedouin tent and
there were civilians in there, at which point we stopped firing because of the
threat to the locals.
ROSS COULTHART: Do you think they knew that - that you wouldn't fire through a
SQUADRON COMMANDER PAUL: I think so. They exploited that component of our
professionalism probably. It was also a difficult time. We were also trying to
effect the capture of about eight enemy who were surrendering with their arms in
the air, but as soon as we had got within range they had dropped their weapons
and continued firing. It was a very difficult situation.
ROSS COULTHART: When they did that, when they stopped surrendering and continued
firing, what did you do?
SQUADRON COMMANDER PAUL: As soon as they are in an aggressive pose, and a
threat, they were then neutralised.
ROSS COULTHART: Iraqi soldiers who surrendered were disarmed and allowed to go
JOHN, SAS PATROL MEMBER: Yeah. I think some of them were quite surprised and, at
first, maybe were even a little hesitant to walk away in case we really weren't
going to let them go.
ROSS COULTHART: They were worried you were going to shoot them in the back or
JOHN, SAS PATROL MEMBER: Yeah.
ROSS COULTHART: Wasn't it a worry, in your mind, that these blokes might walk
over a hill, pick up a weapon, and start shooting at you?
JOHN, SAS PATROL MEMBER: Yeah, I think that's always a possibility but we did
have a job to complete and by having prisoners we wouldn't have been able to
complete that job.
ROSS COULTHART: Out in the western desert, the Kubaisah cement factory, one of
the biggest in the Middle East. The Australians were ordered to clear it of all
Iraqi troops and to check the site for hidden weapons.
SQUADRON COMMANDER PAUL: We didn't want to destroy the cement factory because it
was part of the infrastructure for Iraq and if we wanted Iraq to get back on its
feet quickly then we didn't want to destroy it.
ROSS COULTHART: The scores of Iraqi soldiers guarding the factory ignored the
SAS deadline to surrender. It was a difficult target to assault. The Australians
did not want to risk the lives of civilians inside by fighting their way in. So
their commander came up with a novel idea. He called the American Air Force.
SQUADRON COMMANDER PAUL: We requested that an aircraft, an F14, come and do a
low fly in order to break the sound barrier. The effect of this was a sonic boom
- a massive explosion. We actually thought he had detonated ammunition inside
the facility. That wasn't the case. It broke in several windows. And the result
was that people came running out with their arms up.
ROSS COULTHART: Where did you get that idea from?
JOHN, SAS PATROL MEMBER: I remembered before I joined the army, with the
Australian Air Force, broke the sound barrier by mistake and broke a lot of
greenhouses in South Australia.