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Royal Air Force Typhoons conduct Agile Combat Employment exercise inside the Arctic Circle

Royal Air Force Typhoons have forward deployed to Norway above the Arctic Circle, to carry out an Agile Combat Employment exercise from Estonia, where they are currently based conducting the NATO Air Policing mission.

The Typhoon deployment was to take part in Exercise Tempest Strike and Exercise Tower Guardian.  The first exercise, Tempest Strike has seen the Typhoons fly from Amari Air Base in Estonia to the Norwegian Air base at Orland.  

At Orland, the Typhoons were refuelled and rearmed with Paveway IV precision-guided bombs at a Forward Arming and Refuelling Point that had been rapidly deployed. The Forward Arming and Refuelling Point created a staging point that allowed the Typhoons to then push forward towards the northern limits of mainland Europe.

The Forward Arming and Refuelling Point is a key element of the new Agile Combat Employment concept and was built and then disbanded to mimic that of a rapid redeployment.  Once rearmed and refuelled, the fighters from 1 (F) Squadron, deployed further north to Bardufoss Airbase, inside the Arctic Circle, where they then went on to conduct bombing sorties at the Setermoen Range. 

Our forward deployment to the high-north has shown the RAF’s capability to undertake operations in austere environments with precision, effectiveness and with limited command and support nodes.

What we have shown is that the RAF can re-deploy both aircraft and personnel at short notice from already deployed locations. This was a valuable opportunity to develop our approach and will have applicability to several aircraft types. As we look to integrate further with NATO Allies and JEF partners, such as the US and the Nordic states, our ability to rapidly deploy and deliver effect together will strengthen capabilities and relationships.

Wing Commander Scott MacColl, 
Commanding Officer of 140 Expeditionary Air Wing

During their forward deployment to Norway, the Typhoons also exercised with B1 Lancers of the USAF Strategic Bomber Task Force, as part of Exercise Tower Guardian.  The Typhoons alongside Norwegian F35s, Swedish Gripens, Danish F16s and Finnish F18s conducted tactical intercepts of the Bomber Task Force, as the bombers transited across the Norwegian Sea, then moved north up the west coast of Norway, before returning west towards the US.

This deployment has seen the Typhoons of 1 (F) Sqn, supported by elements from 1 Expeditionary Logistics Squadron, 93 Expeditionary Armaments Squadron, 90 Signals Unit and 15 Sqn RAF Regiment under the overall command of 140 EAW.

The RAF’s 140 EAW is currently deployed to Estonia on Operation Azotize as part of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission. Personnel have been undertaking this mission since March and will conduct one further Agile Combat Employment exercise at the end of July when personnel and Typhoons will participate in Exercise Jousten Strike in Finland.