No 2 Group
An eagle perched on a helmet with wings extended. The badge symbolises No 2 Group's co-operation and close alliance with the Army
Vincemus - 'We will conquer'
No 2 Group
No 2 Group’s vision is to Generate and Develop Effective Combat Support. There are 3 distinct elements within No 2 Group – Air Transport and Air-to-Air Refuelling (AT/AAR); Intelligence Surveillance, Targeting and Reconnaissance (ISTAR); and Force Protection (FP).
The role of the AT/AAR force is to provide rapid strategic and tactical reach, including airborne delivery, in support of operations and exercises world-wide. The role of the ISTAR force is to provide intelligence, surveillance, targeting and reconnaissance on operations and exercises world-wide. The No 2 Group Intelligence, Surveillance, Targeting and Reconnaissance pillar includes the RAF Search and Rescue force and the Mountain Rescue Service. The role of FP comprising of the RAF Regiment, RAF Police and Joint Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Regiment is to provide world-wide force protection.
This complex and demanding remit is accomplished through a wide variety of units operating 11 types of aircraft and a vast array of offensive and defensive equipment. No 2 Group's aircraft are tasked to support Defence in its broadest sense. The communications fleet, based at RAF Northolt, operates the BAe 125 and BAe 146 passenger aircraft and the Augusta 109 helicopter, and provides Royal and VIP transport in direct support of operations worldwide. The air transport and air-to-air refuelling fleets are based at RAF Lyneham and RAF Brize Norton and operate the C-130 Hercules, VC10, TriStar and C-17 Globemaster. The ISTAR fleets are based at RAF Waddington and operate the E-3D Sentry. The Search and Rescue Force Headquarters is based at RAF St Mawgan with it flights of Sea King helicopters at Chivenor, Wattisham, RAF Valley, RAF Boulmer, RAF Lossiemouth and Leconfield.
These aircraft provide a broad range of capabilities, including strategic and tactical transport of passengers and freight, aerial delivery by parachute and aeromedical evacuation. In addition to operations mounted from their UK bases, No 2 Group maintain standing overseas detachments of its aircraft in locations ranging from the South Atlantic to the Middle East and Afghanistan.
When they are not deployed on operations, the Regular and Auxiliary Squadrons of the RAF Regiment and the Operational Support Squadrons of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, which are distributed across a variety of RAF stations throughout the UK, are grouped under the RAF Regiment Force Protection Wing HQ based at RAF Honington. The Joint RAF/Army NBC Regiment is also based at RAF Honington, while the Tactical Provost Wing is based at RAF Henlow.
The future for No 2 Group is exciting and includes the introduction of the A400M transport aircraft, the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA), and the Sentinel. The A400M will replace the Hercules C-130K and bridge the capability gap between the strategic-lift capacity of the C-17 and the tactical capacity of the C-130J. The FSTA is a Private Finance Initiative contract and is currently being negotiated to replace the RAF's existing VC10 and TriStar air-to-air refuelling aircraft. The Sentinel aircraft, as part of the Airborne Stand-Off Radar system, will bring a new dimension to intelligence gathering both over-land and over-water, thereby improving commanders’ abilities to create their desired effect in the modern battlespace. The RAF is seeking to purchase a complete air-to-air refuelling service but it is envisaged that this fleet will also be utilised extensively to fly air transport missions, including those of aeromedical evacuation.