On 2 December 2015, Parliament voted to authorise air strikes on Islamic State in Syria. In a rushed operation without spare parts and little planning, 48 hours later, Wing Commander Mike Sutton and his wingman, Jonny Anderson, dropped two 500lb precision bombs on the terrorists’ main pipeline, cutting the flow of pirated oil sold to buy advanced weaponry and extend the self-proclaimed Caliphate.
From their scruffy base in Cyprus, Sutton as the Boss of 1 (Fighter) Squadron – the oldest most prestigious squadron in the RAF – leads his team of 15 Typhoon fast jet pilots on hundreds of precision strikes in five months of round-the-clock operations.
With the constant danger of mid-air refuelling, ground-to-air missiles and the lurking threat of Russian aircraft, 1 (Fighter) Squadron obliterates strategic targets including bomb factories, takes out snipers, chases vehicle borne IEDs and protects ground troops often outnumbered by drugged-up jihadis. In one savage street battle, Sutton carries out the first and only strafing sortie by a Typhoon jet.
Sutton brings acute analysis of the fighter pilots’s role in modern warfare and puts the reader bang in the cockpit on perilous missions to protect civilians against a brutal regime that beheads journalists, slaughters men without beards and sells women in mediaeval slave markets.
In Typhoon, Sutton explores the themes of leadership, the strains on family life, the normalisation of extreme violence and the harrowing effects of operations . He reveals the intimate inner workings of his squadron, the camaraderie of men at war and how he struggles against bureaucracy to maintain the rhythm, zeal and confidence required of pilots in combat.
Awarded the OBE in 2017, the leader of a twenty-seven aircraft Queen’s Birthday Flypast, Mike Sutton takes us on a journey through his early career, from failing to be accepted in the RAF, and how the gruelling training in the UK and Canada weeds out all but the bravest and the best.
Clifford Thurlow has lived all over the world and has worked as a gem stone dealer, a foreign correspondent for The Observer in Athens and as one of the team translating works from Tibetan into English for the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India, where he wrote his first book, Stories from Beyond the Clouds, an anthology of Tibetan folk stories.The winner of the London Arts Board New Millennium Prize for short fiction, he is best known as a ghostwriter, his most recent books being: Making A Killing, the inside story of a hired gun in Iraq, and Escape from Baghdad with Captain James Ashcroft; F...
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Mike Sutton left the RAF as a Wing Commander in 2018 aged 39 after serving eighteen years as a fighter pilot. He was awarded an OBE in 2017. He now flies commercially as a pilot, providing operational readiness and electronic warfare training support for the MOD. Now he is out of the service, he has more time to spend with his daughter.
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