A major RAF exercise that saw RAF aircraft operate from Stornoway has concluded with officially expressed thanks to the airport and the town.
Detachment Commander Wing Commander Clark said: "I would like to pass a massive thanks to Stornoway, both the town but particularly the airport for allowing us to exercise from here.
"We have been here as their guests; they have been excellent hosts. I would also like to thank 7th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland who have help support us as well."
Exercise AGILE PIRATE was part of the programme to develop the concept of Agile Combat Employment (ACE) and lasted for a week.
This exercise saw personnel and aircraft being deployed to conduct rearming and refuelling of Typhoon jets away from a main operating base.
The Agile Combat Employment concept aims to enable the RAF to operate from a greater number of locations, to provide increased flexibility and resilience. It is being developed and implemented using a series of exercises over the next three years.
"We are looking ahead at the ways we may want to operate, it’s a recognition that over the last two decades we have deployed overseas and operated from very well-founded bases. In this increasingly complex and congested world, we want to be more agile and adaptable, we may want to send smaller elements of capabilities to austere operating locations and enable them to deliver a full range of affects."
Air Vice Marshal Suraya Marshall
Air Officer Commanding 2 Group
The exercise began with around 60 personnel deploying to Stornoway, by A400M, the RAFs newest transport aircraft. The detachment then received Typhoons from RAF Lossiemouth based 6 Squadron and an A400M from RAF Brize Norton to practice their ability to sustain and regenerate aircraft in a temporary location.
Personnel from 34 Squadron RAF Regiment and other security specialists also deployed to provide an enclave protection and counter-intruder capability. Also personnel from 1 Expeditionary Logistics Squadron who provided the deployed refuelling capability and 3 Mobile Catering Squadron personal deployed.
"We have proven the ability to receive, rearm, refuel and regenerate a pair of Typhoon aircraft. During the week an A400M flew in with personnel and equipment, we took fuel from that aircraft to put into the Typhoon. At the same time Engineers from 6 Squadron rearmed and serviced the aircraft for its next sortie, while the pilots took advantage of the deployed communications at the location to reach back to their headquarters and prepare for their next mission."
Wing Commander Clark
The RAF chose to use Stornoway as a location due to its relative remoteness which in turn has forced the deploying elements to consider air transportable options, this removes the easy solutions that simply deploying from known main operating bases provide.
"I would like to pass a massive thanks to Stornoway, both the town but particularly the airport for allowing us to exercise from here. We have been here as their guests; they have been excellent hosts. I would also like to thank 7th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland who have help support us as well."
Wing Commander Clark