The RAF Regiment takes the lead on Force Protection (FP) for the RAF and is responsible for ensuring the protection of any deployed RAF assets. This could include anything from training other branches of the RAF to mounting aggressive patrols around an air base to deter any attackers. The RAF Force Protection Centre, located at the RAF Regiment's home at RAF Honington, provides specialist training and advice in all areas of Force Protection, and monitors the way in which the RAF Regt operates.
Force Protection Wings
RAF Force Protection Wing Headquarters (FP Wg HQs), of which there are 7, are optimised to provide operational planning, command and control for Force Protection assets deployed on operations. Each Wing is headed up by an RAF Regt Wg Cdr, who is charge of an 11 strong multi-disciplinary specialist Force Protection team. A Field Sqn is attached to every FP Wg and will provide the main FP manpower during training and operations for an FP Wg.
Field squadrons are highly mobile, heavily armed dismounted close combat units optimised for active protection of air assets. They are extremely versatile and are able to counter the whole spectrum of ground-based threats to the RAF. Field Squadrons are trained to move quickly around the battlefield on foot or mounted in helicopters and specially adapted Land Rovers.
The 8 Field Squadrons are organised into flights, each composed of 1 officer and about 30 Gunners. There are various specialist roles within the Sqns such as snipers, mortars and signallers that form an integral part the unit and allow each Sqn to be self-sufficient.
The way a Field Sqn operates depends upon the threat they are facing. They could be mounting defensive positions one day, whilst switching to aggressive patrolling a long way outside of the airfield the next. The Sqn operates by firstly finding the enemy, then fixing him in position using the Support Weapons flight and finally striking using the Rifle Flights to destroy him.
II Squadron RAF Regiment is a parachute-capable Field squadron and can be used to jump in to capture and secure a landing strip or refuelling point. The Sqn operates as a normal Field Sqn, but its capability is used on specific operations as well, such as Op Silkman in Sierra Leone in 2001. Members of II Sqn are required to pass the arduous Pre-Para Selection course, in order to attend a military parachuting course at RAF Brize Norton.
Ceremonial and Public Duties
The Queen’s Colour Squadron (QCS) is an RAF Regiment unit acting as the custodian of the Queen’s Colour for the Royal Air Force in the United Kingdom. The Squadron is responsible for all security and care of the colour and provides the Escort Squadron whenever it is paraded. The Squadron is unique within the Royal Air Force Regiment in that it has a dual role and holds the Squadron number of 63 Squadron RAF Regiment and fulfils both ceremonial and operational Field Squadron roles.
The Queen’s Colour Squadron regularly forms the Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace and other Royal residences. Other important Duties such as repatriation and military tattoos feature heavily in the QCS programme. Additionally the Squadron is world-renowned for its continuity drill displays and holds the world record for the most number of drill movements performed in 24 hrs following a single word of command.
Forward Air Control
RAF Regiment personnel man the majority of Tactical Air Control Parties (TACPs) that coordinate Close Air Support for the British Army. These small teams move with Airborne, Armoured and Infantry units in order to identify enemy targets and call in air assets to attack them. They are also trained to call in artillery fire. TACPs are required to move quickly around the battlefield and can be inserted by vehicle, helicopter or parachute.
Ground Defence Training
Every RAF station has a Ground Defence Training Section; where RAF Regiment instructors train all station personnel in practical Survive To Operate measures, such as first aid, weapon handling and Nuclear, Biological and Chemical defence.
AC Dickinson's Experiences
Sqn Ldr Carter's Experiences