83 Expeditionary Air Group
83 Expeditionary Air Group (83 EAG)
'To support operations in the Joint Operating Area (JOA) in order to contribute to the achievement of the stated ISAF coalition operational end-states and UK Strategic Objectives’
Personnel from 83 EAG fill positions within the Combined Air and space Operations Centre (CAOC) from where the whole Coalition Air Campaign is commanded from throughout the Broader Middle East and Afghanistan. RAF posts are fully integrated into the CAOC and hold pivotal lead roles in the planning for the Air Component of major ISAF Operations within Afghanistan. Air Power gives ISAF forces a unique advantage against the Insurgents that enables the Land Campaign the degree of manoeuvre it requires to help in the Transition of Security and Stability roles to Afghan National Security Forces and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
The Air Power generated by RAF personnel and assets within 83 EAG enables the Control of the Air above and around Afghanistan. This in turn provides Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance to Ground Commanders to enable them to plan a level of operations and manoeuvre to achieve their intent. This is all supported by the rapid Air Mobility provided by Strategic and Tactical Air Transport aircraft and battlefield Support Helicopters over the austere and expansive terrain of Afghanistan. Importantly Air Power brings a decisive edge and can swiftly come to the direct assistance of Ground troops who come into contact with enemy forces. This can be through the helicopter borne Medical Emergency Response Teams that will provide Casualty Evacuation even under fire and, ultimately, the Attack role of Air Power that can destroy enemy forces with astounding precision and effect.
Command and Control
83 EAG is commanded by an Air Commodore who acts as the RAF’s senior officer for the JOA that includes the Broader Middle East and Afghanistan. He acts as the Air Component Commander and is responsible to the PJHQ for the control and direction of all RAF assets within the JOA.
Both the EAG and its subordinate Expeditionary Air Wings concepts have their origins in the Second World War when they were established in order that the RAF could project Allied Air Power all around the globe. Following the end of the Cold War era when largely static forces adopted a defensive posture, the EAW concept was re-invigorated in 2006, as a result of a need to provide a more agile, adaptable and scaleable RAF to meet the demands of modern expeditionary operations.
83 EAG executes the UK element of the Air Campaign through its direction to its four subordinate EAWs; 901, 902, 903 & 904 EAWs.
Brief history of 83 EAG
No 83 Group was first formed in the UK on 1st April 1943, becoming one of the main components of the 2nd Tactical Air Force (TAF). Its primary role alongside 84 Group, was to provide direct support to Allied forces in the field during the Allied liberation of Europe.
These groups played an important part in establishing air superiority and attacking enemy installations and communications prior to the Allied invasion of Europe in June 1944 (Operation OVERLORD). By the eve of the landings, 83 Group had grown to a strength of 29 fighter, ground attack and reconnaissance squadrons and four artillery observation squadrons, grouped in to ten wings.
Elements of the Group began to move from the UK to advanced landing grounds in the beachhead shortly after the Allied landings in Normandy. Throughout the North-West European campaign 83 Group provided air support for the 21st Army Group, ‘leapfrogging’ between airfields close to the front line in order to keep pace with the Allied advance. Key types operated by the 83 Group at this time included the Hawker Typhoon I fighter-bomber (the RAF's primary CAS aircraft during the campaign), the Supermarine Spitfire IX fighter and the North American Mustang I fighter-reconnaissance aircraft. By the time of the German surrender in May 1945, 83 Group leading squadrons were operating from former Luftwaffe airfields in Germany itself, and the Group subsequently formed part of the British occupation forces in Germany prior to being disbanded and its squadrons absorbed into 84 EAG on 21 April 1946.
On 9 July 1952 83 Group was re-formed, again being one of two Groups within the RAF component of NATO's forces in Germany. By 1956, 83 Group consisted of five wings, controlling a total of fourteen squadrons equipped with Hawker Hunter day fighters, de Havilland Venom fighter-bombers, Supermarine Swift fighter-reconnaissance aircraft, Gloster Meteor night-fighters and English Electric Canberra interdiction and reconnaissance aircraft. As a result of the draw down of RAF presence in Germany 83 Group was once again disbanded on 16 June 1958.
On 1st April 2006, 83 EAG was re-formed as an Expeditionary Air Group HQ in the Middle East replacing the former UK Air Component Head Quarters (ACHQ).
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(Aircraft Image: Hawker Typhoon).