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The RAF has completed a busy week at home, in the air and overseas, working alongside allies and other government departments.

Since the 5th of March, RAF personnel from a number of stations have been based at RAF Leeming undergoing a vigorous NATO evaluation designed to test the RAF’s ability to conduct NATO operations.  That testing culminated today with a pass from the NATO examiners.  The pass confirms that the RAF remains ready to support NATO for operational commitments.

1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment providing force protection on CAPEVAL. Royal Air Force personnel deployed on CAPEVAL at RAF Leeming on 3rd March 2020. CAPEVAL is a NATO Capability Evaluation Exercise where the RAF is tested against NATO military standards. The Evaluation phase lasts over three days with various scenarios played out, including…. Sniper attack, IED incidents, mortar attack, casualty evacuation, fast jet scrambling etc.

Simultaneously, the RAF has scrambled aircraft to conduct Air Policing missions three times in six days to intercept Russian aircraft flying in the UK’s Flight Information Region.

RAF Typhoon FGR4’s scramble to intercept unresponsive aircraft as part of the QRA(I)N mission at RAF Lossiemouth. This was captured at the takeoff stage of the mission as they left RAF lossiemouth on the 11th of March 2
RAF quick reaction alert Typhoon aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth scrambled to monitor two Russian Blackjacks while they were in the UK area of interest.

Typhoons from RAF Lossiemouth and Coningsby, supported by Voyager air-to-air refuelling aircraft and coordinated by battle managers at the National Air and Space Operations Centre at High Wycombe and the Air Surveillance and Control System at RAF Boulmer, intercepted and shadowed Russian Bear and Blackjack aircraft. 

RAF Typhoon FGR4’s from RAF Lossiemouth scramble to monitor Russian Tu-142 Bear Maritime Patrol Aircraft whilst they were in the UK area of interest on the 11th March 2020.

Also this week, a C-17 transport aircraft carrying 37 tonnes of UK aid landed in Hayat. The supplies on board include tents to provide life-saving shelter, hygiene kits, blankets, water purification tablets, cooking equipment and lanterns for around 300 families who have been forced to flee their homes and seek safety in harsh conditions. The UK Aid supply was part of a Department for International Development-led package designed to assist with international efforts to alleviate suffering.

On Wednesday 11th March 2020 a Royal Air Force C17 operated by 99 Squadron, RAF Brize Norton, delivered 50 tonnes of vital humanitarian aid to the Turkey-Syria border.

The aid was packaged and loaded by personnel from the Joint Movements Unit at Al Minhad airbase in the UAE who worked throughout the night to build 15 air cargo pallets of supplies which included tents, hygiene kits, cooking kits, thermal blankets amongst others.

In addition, RAF Lossiemouth took delivery of the second Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.  The aircraft is named the “City of Elgin, reflecting the strong links between Lossiemouth and the city.  This second aircraft joins the RAF alongside the first, the “Pride of Moray” which arrived in February earlier this year.

This image shows the cargo hold of the RAF C17 full of humanitarian aid in transit.

On Wednesday 11th March 2020 a Royal Air Force C17 operated by 99 Squadron, RAF Brize Norton, delivered 50 tonnes of vital humanitarian aid to the Turkey-Syria border.

The aid was packaged and loaded by personnel from the Joint Movements Unit at Al Minhad airbase in the UAE who worked throughout the night to build 15 air cargo pallets of supplies which included tents, hygiene kits, cooking kits, thermal blankets amongst others.

A team of six personnel from UK Mobile Air Movements Squadron (1 Air Mobility Wing) based at RAF Brize Norton accompanied the cargo into Turkey to facilitate the offload and hand the aid over to the Turkish Red Crescent who will distribute it to the worst affected areas.

Discussing the activity, Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston said:

These are challenging times. We share with our colleagues across Defence the grief at the loss of Lance Corporal Brodie Gillon in Iraq, and we understand worldwide concerns about COVID-19; these are issues that affect us all. This week, once again, the Royal Air Force has demonstrated our ability to succeed in the most demanding environments.

Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston, Chief of Air Staff
Royal Air Force Voyager landing at RAF Brize Norton after supporting a Quick Reaction Alert.

The Voyager, from RAF Brize Norton, flew under the call-sign MADRAS 712 and was called upon to fuel Typhoons that were alerted to a QRA scramble early yesterday, the 12th of March.

After flying off the West coast of England, MDS712 then went North, up across Scotland, before going East and eventually heading home to Brize Norton.

This is the third time a Voyager, along with Typhoons, has been called upon to act on a QRA alert.

Close up of Royal Air Force Voyager landing at RAF Brize Norton

Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston added:

“In this one single week, we have proven our commitment to NATO, demonstrated our ability to protect our airspace, side by side with our NATO allies and have worked with other government departments to deliver aid where it is urgently needed. Simultaneously, our Service is deployed across the globe; ready to protect our nation’s interests. I have enormous pride in all that the Royal Air Force continues to achieve. This is what we train for today, and will continue to deliver tomorrow and in the future; as we build the next generation Royal Air Force.”

Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston, Chief of Air Staff
1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment providing force protection on CAPEVAL. Royal Air Force personnel deployed on CAPEVAL at RAF Leeming on 3rd March 2020. CAPEVAL is a NATO Capability Evaluation Exercise where the RAF is tested against NATO military standards. The Evaluation phase lasts over three days with various scenarios played out, including…. Sniper attack, IED incidents, mortar attack, casualty evacuation, fast jet scrambling etc.
Royal Air Force personnel deployed on CAPEVAL at RAF Leeming on 11th March 2020.

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