RAF: Operational update 22-28 Sep 13

Throughout the Middle East and in Afghanistan the men and women of 83 Expeditionary Air Group continued to generate air power in support of UK military objectives throughout the region.

As the draw-down of Britain’s military presence in Afghanistan continued, 906 Expeditionary Air Wing continued to serve as the hub for air movements across the Joint Operating Area. This week Wing Commander Jon Hough assumed command of the EAW, commenting: ‘906 EAW is at the hub of RAF air power in the Middle East and plays an essential supporting role for UK ops in Afghanistan. It’s a huge privilege to be leading the EAW’s dynamic team at such a busy time for Defence.’

The draw-down was further supported by Tornado GR4s from IX(B) Squadron, serving at Kandahar Airfield with 904 Expeditionary Air Wing. Using the highly advanced RAPTOR pod, the aircraft have been taking surveillance photographs of vacated British patrol bases in Afghanistan to be sure the ground has been cleared of dangerous materials such as ammunition.

At Camp Bastion, 903 Expeditionary Air Wing worked around the clock to support the Relief in Place as Operation HERRICK 19 units arrived to take over from their HERRICK 18 counterparts. Given the number of air movements that still take place at Bastion every day, the risk posed to operations by Foreign Object Damage (FOD) to aircraft is a significant concern. While all personnel work hard to prevent FOD, one member of 903 EAW was honoured this week for his ‘vendetta’ against FOD: Sergeant Al Davey received an Air Component Flight Safety Award for his sterling efforts to keep everything running smoothly.

The Sentinel R1 aircraft of V(AC) Squadron, serving with 902 Expeditionary Air Wing, continued to deliver critical intelligence products to UK and coalition forces throughout Afghanistan. On the ground, the crews – and all their colleagues at 902 EAW – benefitted from the excellent medical care provided by the EAW’s medical detachment, which is responsible for keeping the whole team fighting fit as well as administering aeromedical passengers back to the UK.

Across 83 Expeditionary Air Group’s 8-million-square-mile Joint Operating Area, including Afghanistan, the Middle East and Cyprus, RAF personnel were joined by colleagues from the Royal Navy, British Army and coalition forces to mark Battle of Britain Day. At HQ 83 EAG Last Post and Reveille were sounded by a bugler from the US Air Force, in a tribute to the sacrifice made by American pilots during the Battle. Group Captain Dominic Stamp, officer commanding 901 Expeditionary Air Wing and the Deputy Air Component Commander, said: ‘Over 70 years on from the Battle of Britain, the RAF continues to protect the Nation with air power. We never forget that we’re standing on the shoulders of giants, so we were proud to take a moment out of our busy lives to salute The Few. Their grit and courage, and the hard work of their ground crews and air battle managers, are an inspiration to everyone who serves on operations with the RAF today.’

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