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The Foreign Secretary has visited the RAF's Middle East Headquarters

James Cleverly, the UK’s Foreign Secretary, has visited 83 Expeditionary Air Group, the Royal Air Force’s Operational Headquarters in the Middle East.

The visit to the HQ was one of several engagements that the Foreign Secretary is carrying out across the Middle East. This visit was to build his knowledge and awareness of current RAF air operations in the region.

Image shows RAF aviator and civilian inside airplane.

The role of 83 Expeditionary Air Group to control and direct the four Expeditionary Air Wings that are conducting the Air Operations element of Operations Kipion and Shader, as well as the delivery of UK National and Defence objectives across the Middle East. 83 Expeditionary Air Group's area of responsibility extends from the Southern end of the Arabian Gulf to the Eastern Mediterranean, supporting numerous relationships and alliances across the region, and commands in the region of 750 UK Armed Forces personnel.

Today I had the privilege of meeting personnel deployed to the operational Headquarters of 83 Expeditionary Air Wing in Qatar. The Royal Air Force is unwavering in its commitment to our partners and allies to defeat Da’esh, protect the UK, and help deliver security across the region.

James Cleverly
Foreign Secretary

Image shows personnel and civilian sitting at a table.

During the visit the Foreign Secretary was briefed by the Air Component Commander Middle East, Air Commodore Nikki Thomas OBE, on the current operations being coordinated by the HQ and conducted by the Expeditionary Air Wing. He also had the opportunity to talk with personnel deployed as part of 83 Expeditionary Air Group and 901 Expeditionary Air Group. In addition, during the visit the Foreign Secretary also met with personnel US military personnel deployed as part of the coalition.

It has been a privilege to present the Expeditionary Air Group to the Foreign Secretary. While Operation Shader is now in its eighth year, the dedication and hard work of all those deployed in the Middle East is unwavering.  I was pleased to explain the wider role of the Expeditionary Air Group, from support to Operation Pitting just over a year ago, to the delivery of the ongoing UK commitment to enhance the security of the region through armed operational sorties into Iraq and Eastern Syria, training, and defence engagement.

Air Commodore Thomas
Air Component Commander Middle East


Image shows RAF aviator walking with civilians wearing middle eastern attire.

See more on the Middle East video series