The Netherlands is the destination for No. 2 Mechanical Transport Squadron as RAF Wittering’s famous drivers set off in support of Exercise Frisian Flag on 21st March 2017.
A blustery afternoon saw seventeen trucks loaded with enough equipment to support six tornado jets and 140 personnel leave Cambridgeshire’s historic air station. During Exercise Frisian Flag the RAF will operate alongside many European air forces and the United States Air National Guard.
Squadron Leader Rick Longworth is Officer Commanding No. 2 Mechanical Transport Squadron. He said:
“Not everything can be moved by air; sometimes you need the economy and flexibility of surface transport, which helps us to keep our valuable transport aircraft available for tasking.”
2MT, as the Squadron is known, provides the RAF with its only heavy-lift transport capability by road or sea, supporting operations and exercises across the globe. In addition to HGVs, the Squadron also boasts airfield support vehicles like aircraft towing tractors and fuel bowsers.
Squadron Leader Longworth continued:
“This is not the sort of work you can just give to a haulage company. Trained airmen and airwomen are needed for this job; military drivers who understand how to work around an operational airfield and move aviation equipment.”
The Squadron was formed during the Battle of Britain when spares for the Spitfires and Hurricanes, ammunition and equipment had to be urgently ferried from airfield to airfield. In Exercise Frisian Flag, the air forces of the world will practise defensive and offensive mixed-fighter operations.
In addition to the RAF Tornados, F-16s, F-15s, Mirage 2000’s and the distinctive Typhoon will be operating in the Dutch skies for the duration of the exercise. When Frisian Flag ends, 2MT will be sent to recover all the UK equipment and return it in good order.
Group Captain Rich Pratley is the Station Commander at RAF Wittering and Commanding Officer of the A4 Force Elements, of which 2MT is a part. He said:
“Frisian Flag is an important exercise; in deployments like these the Royal Air Force projects the UK’s global influence by working in close partnership with our international allies.”
Group Captain Pratley continued:
“This is the second time in as many days that 2MT has been dispatched to support an exercise, this tells us that the Squadron offers Defence a very useful capability and one that the RAF is happy to showcase to our international partners.”
MOD Crown Copyright 2017