83 EAG Ops update 8-22 Feb 14
83 Expeditionary Air Group (83 EAG), based in the Middle East, is responsible for the strategic delivery of RAF air power in support of UK and coalition operations in an 8 million square mile joint operating area, including Afghanistan and the broader Middle East.
83 EAG provides command and control of RAF aircraft and force elements across the air power spectrum. In managing such capability good command and control is essential. At 83 EAG’s base in the Middle East, RAF aerospace battle managers (ABMs) work alongside their US counterparts to provide effective control of UK and ISAF aircraft operating in Afghanistan. ABMs’ tough training at the RAF School of Aerospace Battle Management at RAF Boulmer, and experience with the RAF’s tactical air command and control field unit 1 Air Control Centre, has equipped them with battle-tested skills which enable them to provide a wide range of aircraft with much needed situational awareness and effective control. Last week 83 EAG’s ABMs supported hundreds of aircraft in Afghanistan, including RAF Tornado GR4s serving with II(AC) Squadron.
II(AC) Squadron, which mans the Tornado Detachment at 904 Expeditionary Air Wing at Kandahar Airfield, continue to support Afghan-led ground forces as they support Afghanistan’s transition towards full control of its own security. Last week II(AC) Squadron’s aircraft provided direct support to troops in contact with the enemy by providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance overwatch of insurgent positions, enabling friendly forces to orientate their fire and extract from a battle with no casualties.
Also at 904 Expeditionary Air Wing the Tactical Air Transport Detachment continued to enable the safe, timely and cost-effective redeployment of equipment from Afghanistan. The Detachment’s C-130J Hercules aircraft from 30 Squadron and BAE 146 aircraft from XXXII (The Royal) Squadron moved over 100 tonnes of freight and nearly 700 passengers around Afghanistan last week alone. Elsewhere redeployment was supported by 906 Expeditionary Air Wing in the Middle East, which last week supported the movement of more than 180 tonnes of freight to and from the UK.
Back in Afghanistan, personnel at 903 Expeditionary Air Wing at Camp Bastion did their bit to support Afghanistan’s transition by supporting the country’s independent election committee with storage and security of ballot boxes and papers for the presidential elections on 5 April. Under constant monitoring from Afghan election committee members the EAW supported the deployment of nonpartisan election material across Helmand Province. Normal operations continued too: 903 EAW’s air traffic controllers, who have trained and work alongside colleagues from the United States Marine Corps, provided support for around 4,000 aircraft in Camp Bastion’s complex airspace in the last two weeks alone.
Force protection remains essential for British forces operating in Afghanistan and at Camp Bastion 5 Force Protection Wing, manned by 51 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, continued to provide security assurance for aircraft from a variety of ISAF nations and those of Afghanistan. Camp Bastion and Kandahar alike also benefited from intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance from MQ9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft under 83 EAG’s command, and Sentinel R1 aircraft from V(AC) Squadron.
Last week V(AC) Squadron racked up a new record, providing the longest continuous operational output the aircraft has provided since it started operating in Afghanistan. The aircraft, based with 902 Expeditionary Air Wing in the Middle East, was ‘on station’ for 7.5 hours within a nearly 11-hour sortie, providing vital intelligence to friendly forces.
Editor: Sqn Ldr Wasley
RAF/MOD Crown Copyright 2014