83 Expeditionary Air Group
902 Expeditionary Air Wing
902 Expeditionary Air Wing (902 EAW) provides focussed support to ISAF and Coalition ground forces in Afghanistan, and support other force elements in the region, by supporting a detachment of Sentinel R1 aircraft from V(AC) Squadron. Sentinel provides an essential intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance capability which enables ground force commanders to make real-time decisions on the tactical and operational use of force based on detailed information from the aircraft’s sensors.
Typical operations for 902 EAW’s Sentinel detachment include overwatch of ground forces during operations, the detection and tracking of enemy forces and interdiction of their supply routes. 902 EAW’s personnel provide the ground and technical support that allow its Force Elements (FE), totaling around 200 personnel, to deliver air power where required.
Command and control
902 EAW is one of five expeditionary air wings under command of 83 Expeditionary Air Group. 902 EAW is commanded by an RAF wing commander, who is responsible to the UK Air Component Commander for the EAW’s operations.
The Royal Air Force Headquarters was formed at Chittagong, southern India, in No 244 Group on 1 October 1944 from No 166 (Tactical) Wing. On 1 December 1944 it was re-designated No 902 (Tactical) Wing. From 16 January 1945 it was based at Double Moorings in Chittagong. It embarked on His Majesty’s Transport RAJULIA on 9 February 1945, arriving two days later at Kyaukpyu, located on the coast approximately 55 miles south-east of Akyab Burma. The Wing was in transit from 20 June 1945, arriving at Madura, about 100 miles west of Cochin, India, on 27 June 1945. During the period 9-19 September 1945, No 902 Wing was at Kelanang, Malaya and Tengah. On 1 october 1945 it was allocated to Air Headquarters Malaya and re-designated Royal Air Force Tengah. During 1944-45 the Wing operated six squadrons equipped with Spitfires and Hurricanes, later converting to Thunderbolts, and Beaufighters and Mosquitoes all in the bomber/fighter-bomber roles. The Wing’s Communications Flight operated Sentinel aircraft. The Wing disbanded in 1945.
On 1 April 2006, some 61 years later, No 902 Wing was re-formed as an Expeditionary Air Wing replacing a Royal Air Force deployed operating base in the Middle East.