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Author Topic: RAF Lossiemouth Personnel Prepare For Summer In Iraq -  (Read 4207 times)

Offline tigershark

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RAF Lossiemouth Personnel Prepare For Summer In Iraq -
« on: March 20, 2008, 01:51:12 AM »
RAF Lossiemouth Personnel Prepare For Summer In Iraq -

The three operational Tornado GR4 Squadrons based at RAF Lossiemouth are currently preparing for a summer in Iraq. Each Squadron will take its turn in support of OPERATION TELIC. Their main duties will be to patrol the skies over Iraq and help the ground forces with their Mission.

The first Squadron to deploy at the end of March will be 14 Squadron under their new boss, Wing Commander Steve Reeves. Each squadron has taken part in a number of exercises over the last few months and a considerable amount of night flying in order to make sure they are ready for their deployment. Wing Commander Adrian Frost, the current Boss said:

"The Sqn will be heavily involved in Coalition Operations throughout Iraq, maintaining a 24 hour, seven days a week presence. The majority of missions will be in direct support of Iraqi, UK and US ground forces and the missions will frequently involve assisting forces with counter-insurgency operations, sometimes requiring the release of weapons on hostile elements. When the situation requires the Tornado crews to take action, their response needs to be correct first time, every time, so our training is critical to our success. Over the past few months our flying has seen us working with UK Army units from the North of Scotland to the southern tip of Wales.

Due to the increased difficulty of flying at night whilst supporting ground troops, this skill must be practiced and honed before the crews have to do the job for real. Low level flying, bombing practice over the ranges at Tain and Cape Wrath, as well as working with other nations and services. Each squadron will undertake a 2-month deployment, Officer Commanding Operations at RAF Lossiemouth, Wing Commander Torben Harris said:

"It is vital that our all squadron personnel are fully trained and ready for the tough deployment ahead. The aircrew will spend many hours in the air during sorties and, the long hours and high temperatures will take it's toll on man and machine alike. To support flying operations, engineers will be working around the clock to ensure each aircraft is fully serviceable for its next mission. Whilst the success of the Operation is crucial, we must ensure our personnel are in the best possible condition for the work they must undertake”

12(Bomber) Squadron, under the command of Wing Commander James Linter, will follow 14 Squadron into Iraq. The Squadron have just come back from an arduous exercise in Germany where they trained alongside the Brigade that they will be working with in Iraq. Wing Commander Linter said:

"It was a fantastic that we were able to exercise with the Army these past few weeks. Land/Air integration in Operations is crucial to the mission and following this exercise; both the Squadron and Brigade personnel have a better understanding of how the other works. Pre-deployment training is essential and if you can do it with those you are going to deploy with, then all the better"

The final squadron to deploy will be 617 Squadron commonly known as 'The Dambusters' under the command of Wing Commander 'Rocky' Rochelle.

The three flying squadrons are not the only ones deploying to Iraq this year, 51 Squadron, RAF Regiment, supported by 2622 Royal Auxiliary Air Force Regiment will deploy to Iraq in the Autumn. The two squadrons will deploy under the command of Number 5 Force Protection Wing, which is commanded by Wing Commander Derek Read who joined the wing in January this year. The Station Commander, RAF Lossiemouth, Group Captain Monkman said:

"This is an extremely busy year for RAF Lossiemouth and it's personnel; not only for those going away, but for the Station personnel who have to ensure everyone is prepped and ready to go and then cover their absence, as well as provide support to those families and friends left behind. It requires a great deal of effort from the whole team and I know everyone is working very hard to make sure everything is done in time. As well as these high profile deployments, we also have a number of individuals who will be deploying separately and the same level of pre-deployment support will be needed for them as for the squadrons."

In addition to the operational deployments, the Station is preparing itself for it's stand-by role in 2009. RAF Lossiemouth personnel are part of Number 140 Expeditionary Air Wing which will be on operational stand-by from 1 Jan 09. Personnel within the Air Wing will be responsible for setting up a Forward Operating Base, should another conflict arise. At present the Station personnel are undertaking a number of exercises and training programmes to ensure they are fully trained and up to speed should the Air Wing have to deploy next year. Everyone involved will be required to deploy on a major exercise at RAF Fairford later in 2008.



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