British Typhoon jets normally based at RAF Akrotori on Cyprus conducted ‘expeditionary combat air operations’ from a temporary base in the Middle East as a proof of concept.

The RAF say here that during early October, the 903 Expeditionary Air Wing Typhoon Squadron based at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus forward deployed to a forward location in the Middle East from where it conducted an operational mission in support of Operation SHADER, the British bombing effort against Islamic State.

“Agile Combat Employment is an operational concept of being able to operate from austere air bases in order to disperse and quickly manoeuvre combat capability throughout a theatre. Supported by a minimal presence on the ground to provide support activities such as aircraft fuelling, arming, and engineering; Agile Combat Employment expands the number of bases from which air forces can generate combat sorties.”

Wing Commander Dutch Holland, Officer Commanding 903 Expeditionary Air Wing, was quoted as saying:

“Agile Combat Employment is about utilising our assets from RAF Akrotiri under 903 Expeditionary Air Wing to their maximum extent.  In this example we have projected our forces, the RAF Typhoon FGR4, to a Forward Operating Base.  We have undertaken this deployment and next [time] we will go for longer and perhaps further than this one.”

Air Commodore Mark Farrell, Air Officer Commanding 83 Expeditionary Air Group, was also quoted:

“Operation BLUE DRAGON successfully demonstrated the UK ability to respond dynamically, flexibly, and rapidly under the Agile Combat Employment concept whilst maintaining our commitment to our coalition partners.  This operation is the first such deployment for 903 Expeditionary Air Wing and has enabled them to test how successful the aircraft and supporting personnel were able to operate in a new location and environment.  The team have demonstrated the capability of conducting air operations at short notice at a Forward Operating Base and further demonstrates to our Coalition partners and Middle Eastern allies, the UK’s continued commitment to the region.”

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David Barry
David Barry
25 days ago

Nah, this will be like a Bear Grylls production with a 7 star hotel out of camera shot.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
25 days ago
Reply to  David Barry

I hope so.

Our boys and girls can only dream of accommodation with any stars.

However, at some select MOD locations TM, you can see the stars through the roof of the accommodation blocks.

David Barry
David Barry
25 days ago

Obviously you weren’t green where between stags, stand to and prep for the morn, sleep was something you nicked from a snow filled trench at Catterick, Warcop, Otterburn….

Ps, no stars when it is snowing 🙂

Dern
Dern
25 days ago

I think you’re confusing the Army and RAF…

RAF don’t deploy unless there are at least 3 stars 🙂

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
25 days ago
Reply to  Dern

After a long and stressful day: that comment made my evening!

Dern
Dern
25 days ago

XD Glad to hear it.

Lusty
Lusty
24 days ago
Reply to  Dern

It gave me a giggle too!

Azincourt
Azincourt
22 days ago

The RAF Regiment would disagree and a few others .

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
22 days ago
Reply to  Azincourt

I think we are all being tongue in cheek?

If you reread, carefully, what I posted you might realise I was poking fun at the appalling state of a lot of services accommodation.

Steve M
Steve M
24 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Motto always the Army dig in the RAF CHECK-IN ! Vegas/Trontno/Edmonton, Fairbanks to name but a few 🤣🤣

Rob
Rob
24 days ago
Reply to  Dern

I remember my old RSM once saying “Stars! The navy navigate by them, we sleep under em and the RAF choose their hotel by them”

Trevor W Hogg
Trevor W Hogg
23 days ago
Reply to  Rob

Well yes Any fool can be uncomfortable in the field. Standards gentlemen Standards.

Trevor W Hogg
Trevor W Hogg
23 days ago
Reply to  Dern

I use to be on TCW, After Granby we supported the Harrier Farce in the early 90’s. On exercise they would not fly during the weekend and always deployed with a Cpl and 2 SAC’s to run the bar for them.

JJ Smallpiece
JJ Smallpiece
23 days ago
Reply to  Dern

4 star in my day

Bloke down the pub
Bloke down the pub
25 days ago

I guess that it’s a lack of numbers that mean the F35b isn’t the go to choice for deploying to austere bases?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
25 days ago

F35B is no Harrier.

Harrier was a big enough headache for landing on matting etc

F35B I suspect realistically you can’t.

So you are onto concrete. And once you are on concrete runways……

The other issue is flight hour costs. I get the general feel that flight hours are targeted at QEC integration as top priority. Everything else comes second.

Bloke down the pub
Bloke down the pub
25 days ago

Agree about comparison to Harrier, but even if relying on concrete that still opens up the possibility of short sections of road or industrial sites being utilised.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
25 days ago

Would likely only use it’s abilities in such environments in emergencies I suspect or as a last resort, bit like comparing a Defender to a Bentayga when going seriously off-road I fear.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
25 days ago

The thing is the concrete hard stands for Harrier had to be surprisingly thick. So the F35B would be even more so.

What I’m saying, in a roundabout manner, is that F35B in VSTOL may May be less austere deplorable than Typhoon IRL?

Or are RAF proving a point with what they are doing here? RAF operating in the shadows a bit maybe? Less defined?

Angus
Angus
24 days ago

Well folks perhaps a few more at sea airfields would be best with high tech such as F35’s. Your always moving so more difficult to take out with all you need. Sorry Light Blue but accom on a warship is all one needs to keep body and soul.

This is nothing ew, look at history and the RAF/FAA used them all the time and well the Sweds have it covered 100% with their high tech assets and do it rather well.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
24 days ago
Reply to  Angus

Hence why F35B + QEC is the real deal.

And as you say a properly defined place for the crew to get much needed down time.

Simon Lees
Simon Lees
24 days ago

I’ve read before that it has to be special heat resistant concrete for the F35 landing vertically or it melts!

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
24 days ago

Asture isn’t a reference to the simple matter of what type of runway or concrete stripe the aircraft lands/takes off from. It’s also what refueling, engineering, weapons rearming, air traffic control, fire fighting category facilities are available, or most probably not available that can allow an aircraft to continue to operate. A great deal of trades are essential to make aviation possible. The pilot is the final link in the chain.

geoff
geoff
24 days ago

Morning SB. Please explain to the ignorants like me-what is the issue with concrete runways for VSTOL aircraft?

Lordtemplar
Lordtemplar
24 days ago
Reply to  geoff

Heat from the exhaust. That is why the QE carrier decks have a special coating to withstand the heat.
Most ships steel decks cannot accomodate F35B since landing one would damage the deck. Since the US Navy operate the F18 and F35C, i doubt the Nimitz decks could host F35B, unlike USMC WASP carriers which operate F35B.
Regular roads would just melt, so you can forget VTOL. You would have to operate them with traditional rolling take off and landing to not chew up the road.

Daveyb
Daveyb
24 days ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar

All the carriers are being given at least one but probably two ceramic coated helicopter spots. This is because the CMV-22 Osprey is taking over the carrier on-board delivery (COD) role. The Osprey’s two exhausts when rotated down vertically, are only 3ft from the deck and will cause heat fatigue issues with a steel deck. So you would think logically, that the coating should be capable of coping with a F35B landing vertically!

geoff
geoff
23 days ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar

Thanks Lordtemplar but I think I did not express myself clearly or you misunderstood me. I am in the business of coatings so understand why carriers hosting VSTOL have to have High Build HR coatings but on a concrete runway as per SB comment above, they can employ the rolling technique or even conventional landings and take offs. In addition I would imagine that a strong floated 40 mpa plus concrete to the thickness required on a runway could handle some occasionally concentrated heat.

regards

Joe16
Joe16
23 days ago

This has been a concern of mine also, that all this operating from roads and other places in the event of a near-peer or peer war isn’t going to work. That said, I read that the USMC have been practicing running their F-35Bs from austere locations in the Pacific- to follow with their old-becomes-new island hopping strategy. Not sure exactly how austere we’re talking though…

Dern
Dern
25 days ago

Also I query what “Austere” means in RAF parlance, I doubt this is a beside the road/improvised matting kind of Airbase. Got blocked by Andy Netherwood in the past for pointing out that a FOB in Afghan isn’t actually “Austere”.

Bloke down the pub
Bloke down the pub
24 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Probably means the officers’ mess only has the basic champagne.

Lusty
Lusty
24 days ago

😂

Daveyb
Daveyb
24 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Depends if you asking about plank trash or the sound of freedom brigade?

Pete
Pete
24 days ago

Just read again and nowhere, other that the article title, is the word ‘austere’ used in either of the RAF quotes provided or in the RAF links provided Only ref is to FOBS. George ???

Steve M
Steve M
24 days ago
Reply to  Pete

FOBS or Austere just means airfield that doesn’t have full support facilities for the aircraft type. all you have is FAP brought in on C-130/A-400

Lusty
Lusty
24 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

FAP, eh? -raises eyebrows-

Whatever pleases a crab, I guess!

Steve M
Steve M
24 days ago
Reply to  Lusty

Fly Away Pack, suppose seamen would call it SAP (Sail Away Pack) or is that what the RFA are for? carrying all the spare bits for when the boats break, oh know unless its big the RAF have to FLY them out

Lusty
Lusty
24 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

I know, but don’t ever Google the urban dictionary definition of FAP…

Seamen too now, eh? 😂

Last edited 24 days ago by Lusty
James
James
24 days ago

I just read news reports the UK is considering buying Turkish made drones and that they are presented with options by Turkey and that UK is taking a serious consideration. This report is based on what the Turkish minister has said. I won’t be surprised by it with the praise Ben Wallace has given those drones in the past when Turkey engaged Syria and Libya Azerbaijan , Armenia conflict with its drones.
Recent buyers included Ukraine and Poland.

Currently Turkey is building a variant for its LHD carrier based on the Canberra class

Last edited 24 days ago by James
Expat
Expat
24 days ago
Reply to  James

What I don’t get is when we sell kit in a number of cases the buyer wants technology transfer. Yet when we buy it appears to be a very onecsided deal.

James
James
24 days ago
Reply to  Expat

Usually that’s the case I agree . But at times we don’t share tech too. The Americans share way more tech with Israel than the UK. Classic example is the F35 codes despite being tier one partner the US for years refused to share the codes which angered Tony Blair , while they shared it with Israel which never was part of the F35 project. I think the Turks are more keen to share tech but also gain tech from the UK. I don’t think anybody knows Russian radars and sir defence system better than Turkey in NATO with the… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
23 days ago
Reply to  James

I wonder if they will upgrade to the S-500 in the next few years along with China and possibly Iran?

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/weapons-headlines/latest/s-500-enters-service-in-moscow-region

S-500 enters service in Moscow region14 OCTOBER 2021

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/weapons-headlines/latest/s-500-enters-service-in-moscow-region

farouk
farouk
24 days ago

I do have to ask, how much has the Uk gained from Saudi Operations with their Typhoons and what improvements have arisen from such operations

Daveyb
Daveyb
24 days ago
Reply to  farouk

Probably quite a bit, as there are still ex-RAF pilots and techies working for the Royal Saudi Air Force as technical advisors.

Donaldson
Donaldson
23 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

That must be good pay eh?

JJ Smallpiece
JJ Smallpiece
23 days ago

Hope the lads still had decent hotels. None of this living in holes in the ground nonsense. Hot tea and coffee as well.

AlexS
AlexS
19 days ago

Supposedly there is a squadron in Israel now for BlueFlag 2021

Also first time Indian Air Force is operating in Israel

Others participants are Germans, Italians, French, Greece, USA.