The RAF has completed a busy week at home, in the air and overseas, working alongside allies and other government departments.
Since the 5th of March, RAF personnel from a number of stations have been based at RAF Leeming undergoing a vigorous NATO evaluation designed to test the RAF’s ability to conduct NATO operations. That testing culminated today with a pass from the NATO examiners. The pass confirms that the RAF remains ready to support NATO for operational commitments.
Simultaneously, the RAF has scrambled aircraft to conduct Air Policing missions three times in six days to intercept Russian aircraft flying in the UK’s Flight Information Region.
Typhoons from RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Coningsby, supported by Voyager air-to-air refuelling aircraft and coordinated by battle managers at the National Air and Space Operations Centre at RAF High Wycombe and the Air Surveillance and Control System at RAF Boulmer, intercepted and shadowed Russian Bear and Blackjack aircraft.
Also this week, a C-17 transport aircraft carrying 37 tonnes of UK aid landed in Hayat. The supplies on board include tents to provide life-saving shelter, hygiene kits, blankets, water purification tablets, cooking equipment and lanterns for around 300 families who have been forced to flee their homes and seek safety in harsh conditions. The UK Aid supply was part of a Department for International Development-led package designed to assist with international efforts to alleviate suffering.
In addition, RAF Lossiemouth took delivery of the second Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. The aircraft is named the “City of Elgin, reflecting the strong links between Lossiemouth and the city. This second aircraft joins the RAF alongside the first, the “Pride of Moray” which arrived in February earlier this year.
Discussing the activity, Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston, Chief of Air Staff said:
“These are challenging times. We share with our colleagues across Defence the grief at the loss of Lance Corporal Brodie Gillon in Iraq, and we understand worldwide concerns about COVID-19; these are issues that affect us all.
This week, once again, the Royal Air Force has demonstrated our ability to succeed in the most demanding environments.”
Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston
Chief of Air Staff
He added: “In this one single week, we have proven our commitment to NATO, demonstrated our ability to protect our airspace, side by side with our NATO allies and have worked with other government departments to deliver aid where it is urgently needed.
Simultaneously, our Service is deployed across the globe; ready to protect our nation’s interests. I have enormous pride in all that the Royal Air Force continues to achieve.
This is what we train for today, and will continue to deliver tomorrow and in the future; as we build the next generation Royal Air Force.”