Typhoon jets and an A400M transport aircraft will deploy to Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides in a major test of the ‘Agile Combat Employment’ concept.
Agile Combat Employment say the Royal Air Force, “aims to enable the RAF to operate from a greater number of locations”, to provide increased flexibility and resilience.
According to a news release:
“It is being developed and implemented using a series of exercises over the next 3 years. Around 60 personnel will deploy as part of the exercise, known as Exercise AGILE PIRATE, which will practice refuelling and rearming of Typhoon fighter jets from a forward location.
Operating from Stornoway Airport, the Island of Lewis will play host to visiting Typhoon from RAF Lossiemouth and A400M from RAF Brize Norton. A Headquarters from 138 Expeditionary Air Wing based at RAF Marham will command the deployment made up of specialists in personnel preparation and admin, tactical refuelling teams, armaments experts, logisticians, Force Protection and not least civilian cooperation and support from Stornoway Airport.”
The exercise is designed to test a fundamental question say the Royal Air Force: what is the minimum footprint of people and kit and processes required to successfully deploy and sustain aircraft to a temporary location at short notice.
Squadron Leader Astle, Exercise Planner, was quoted as saying:
“The next few days will test our ability with the minimum footprint of people and kit to receive, debrief, re-arm, refuel and rebrief a Combat Air capability. In short bursts of activity, we will use an A400M to bring in kit and also directly refuel our in-situ fuel bowser to support the Typhoon – an activity delivered by 1 Expeditionary Logistics Squadron from RAF Wittering.
At the same time, 6 Squadron engineers will service and simulate re-arming the aircraft while the crews take advantage of our deployed comms capability to debrief and rebrief prior to re-launching. All of this under the watchful eye of a deployed team from 34 Squadron RAF Regiment and other security specialists providing an enclave protection and counter-intruder capability.”
You can read more on this from the RAF here.