Personnel from No 1 Expeditionary Logistics Squadron and No 2 Mechanical Transport Squadron have been preparing and transporting the equipment and supplies needed to sustain the Typhoon jets that will be deploying to carry out the NATO enhanced Air Policing mission in the Black Sea region this summer.
The RAF NATO mission is known by its military name as Operation Biloxi and is the first major operation for the newly formed RAF Support Force, of which the A4 Force Elements are a part. They bring together most of the capabilities and skills needed to sustain modern air operations and exercises, including Specialist engineering, logistics, advanced military communications, tactical medical services and the mountain rescue team.
The RAF Support Force engineering and logistics personnel being based at Romania’s Mihail Kogalniceanu air base. The deploying personnel will be responsible for the moving of RAF military equipment across international borders to set up and then sustain the operation. To ensure the operation is successfully supported requires specialist planning and delivery which is carried out by the Support Force personnel.
It’s an involved and detailed process. We have to make sure the schedule works in order get all the right equipment there on time. We do that by ensuring all the kit that has to travel has all the proper diplomatic and international clearances in place.
Senior Aircraftman Bennett-Yard, 2 MT Squadron
Whilst 2 MT Squadron will transport the equipment to the military port at Marchwood, a team from 1 ELW Squadron has been making sure all the kit is properly prepared. Mobility Supply Flight has prepared all the freight needed by the RAF for this mission, including the specialist airfield vehicles, and will oversee the shipping to Romania.
Sergeant Markham has been involved in the logistics effort for several NATO Air Policing Missions.
It’s our biggest task of the year, and we’ve been involved from the start, preparing and packing all the kit to travel by air and sea for the A4 Force Elements. Our Port Liaison role sees us manage freight, ISO containers and vehicles from across the RAF ready for travel on the ferry.
In addition to the RAF Wittering based units, personnel from RAF Coningsby and RAF Lossiemouth have also been preparing and despatching equipment to Romania. Group Captain Lincoln, Commander of the A4 Force Elements and Deputy Commander of the RAF Support Force.
In many ways, this is what the Support Force is all about, making sure that the right equipment is in the right place at the right time. It sounds like a simple thing, but modern air power depends entirely on having the right kit on the ground, ensuring those aircraft and their crews are appropriately supported.
Group Captain Lincoln