No 1435 Flt
RAF Mount Pleasant
31 Oct 1988 - 1992
No. 1435 (Night Fighter) Flight was first formed at Malta as a night fighter unit on 4 December 1941, by re-designating the Malta Night Fighter Unit. In July 1942, personnel from No. 603 Squadron were equipped with the Spitfire V to form the unit. After a brief period as No.1435 (Fighter) Flight, at RAF Luqa, due to its size it was raised to No. 1435 Squadron on 2 August 1942 at RAF Luqa, It converted to fighter-bomber activities in January 1943 and operated over Sicily and in Italy. It was assigned to the Balkan Air Force, carrying out operations over Albania and Yugoslavia until the end of the war. It disbanded on 29 April 1945 at Falconara, Italy. In October 1988, when 23 Squadron converted to the Tornado, 1435 Flight was revived, equipped with four McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR.2s. After No. 23 Squadron's disbandment at RAF Mount Pleasant, the mission and equipment were transferred to No. 1435 Flight, flying the Panavia Tornado F.3 and later the Eurofighter Typhoon.
The aircraft are permanently based in the islands, while the aircrew from the UK are cycled through No. 1435 Flight, with the only limitation being the necessary weather flying qualifications. While there they provide a 365 day, 24 hour alert. The Flight has maintained its Maltese connections, with its aircraft sporting the Maltese cross. The practice of naming the four-aircraft presence on the islands has also been maintained: they are called Faith, Hope and Charity, after the legendary three Gloster Sea Gladiators that once defended Malta, and Desperation. Desperation was added to the three traditional names when Phantoms entered service in the Falklands and the flight was revived in 1988. Faith, Hope and Charity fly operationally, with Desperation appropriately in reserve. On their retirement in 1992, one of the Phantoms was placed as the gate guardian at Mount Pleasant. The Phantoms were replaced by four Tornado F.3s. The four Tornados remained in active service until they were replaced in their turn by four Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 (Tranche 2) in September 2009. Although the unit's new aircraft do not have the traditional names applied, the four aircraft have tailcodes that match (F, H, C, D).
23(F) Sqn Montage
FIAD patch with 1435 number.
Faith, Hope, Charity & Desperation.
1435 Flt personnel at Christmas 1989.
Supplied by Mick Fowan
1435 Flt personnel in Nov 1990.
Supplied by Shaun Allen
It might still have an eagle on the fin but XV438 is leaving it's housey as a 1435 Flt aircraft, newly formed in 1988.
Supplied by Bill Houlihan
A pair of 1435 jets ready for take off at MPA in the early 1990's.
Supplied by John Cooper