RAF 'Workhorses' maintain Air Mobility in Asia

25 November 2016

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While RAF Typhoons and the Red Arrows have been making headlines worldwide during Exercise Eastern Venture in Asia - the Air Mobility personnel who got them there and back again have told of their part in the programme.


As the Top Guns of Lossiemouth-based II (AC) Squadron made their debuts in Japan and Korea and Lossiemouth's 1(F) Sqn took part in Exercise BERSAMA LIMA in Malaysia with the Scampton aerobatics aces wowed the crowds for the first time in China, behind-the-scenes it was the movers and air-to-air refuellers who made it all possible.


Spearheading the back-up team were a Brize Norton-based C17 Globemasters and two C130 Hercules moving essential equipment and personnel, and a Voyager which also kept the jets flying in its air-to-air refuelling role.

Air Mobility Force Commander Air Commodore Steve Lushington said: "We have relished the challenge of projecting air power rapidly over long distances during Exercise Eastern Venture.

"The Exercise tested our ability to operate on the other side of the world and, in doing so; I think we have shown what a powerful combination our air mobility assets can be. It has been enormously satisfying working with our Typhoon colleagues, and we are delighted to have been able to see them safely home."

'No 99 Squadron's C17's were honoured to support the Typhoon force in participating in Exercise Eastern Vortex with the Japan Air Self-Defence Force." said Flt Lt Beech, "This historic cooperative saw the very first visit of RAF C17's to Misawa air base and despite typhoon Haima being in the vicinity, we achieved our aim of enabling the exercise to take place by relocating the participants from Penang in Malaysia to Japan. The JASDF made us feel very welcome and we look forward to visiting again in the future.'


FS John Clifford 99 Sqn said, "Supporting Exercise EASTERN VORTEX has been an unusual and interesting task from an Air Mobility perspective. It has been a challenge to transport the Typhoon kit and equipment to a part of the world and airspace we are not very familiar with operating in. It has been a very memorable experience and we have learned some valuable lessons."


During the series of Exercises between September and November;

* The C17 moved 240 tonnes of freight from the UK to Malaysia, Japan, Korea and back to the UK
* Two C130s have travelled a total of 55,000 miles transporting 18 tonnes of freight supporting the Red Arrows in 21 different countries.
* A Voyager has flown 70,000 miles delivering 200,000 kg of fuel to the Typhoons, carried 330 passengers and ferried 12 tonnes of freight between destinations in 13 countries.

© MOD Crown Copyright 2016

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