Report from one of our affiliates – RAF Leeming
RAF Leeming has had an exceptionally busy, yet fruitful year. Operational tasking has been at the forefront of our efforts, personnel have been deployed globally, at least 170 personnel are currently deployed. The Station has supported the training and deployment of Operation BILOXI 18, the RAF’s deployment to Romania to provide Policing of NATO’s airspace over the Black Sea. Over 150 personnel and 4 Typhoon aircraft are currently on 24/7 watch, ensuring the integrity of NATO airspace and providing reassuring messaging to our NATO allies and providing a visible presence to those that may challenge the alliance.
The Station has continued its support to the Front Line, the Hawks of No 100 Sqn have flown over 2000 hrs this year so far, providing ‘Red Air’ for RAF and NATO front line aircraft. Training has continued with the resident Joint Forward Air Controller Training and Standards Unit. This specialist team trains all personnel, from the UK Military and our Allies, in the calling and implementation of Air to Ground Fires, an extremely demanding and essential skill set. The use of RAF Leeming based Hawk aircraft also supports this task.
Personnel have deployed as far and wide as the Falkland Islands, Afghanistan, South Korea and Qatar to name but a few locations. RAF Regiment personnel of 34 Sqn have supported Training Teams deployed globally and members of the Operational Training Centre recently returned from a successful deployment to Nigeria.
The majority of our ‘extracurricular’ work this year has been based upon our support to RAF 100, the celebration of our centenary. Celebrate, Commemorate and Inspire have been our catchwords. RAF Leeming has hosted the RAF Baton on its tour of the UK; personnel have been engaged locally, our Freedom of Northallerton was celebrated recently with a hugely successful parade through the Town. Nationally, the Unit supported the extremely successful celebrations held in London. 9 of 100 Sqn’s Hawk aircraft took part in the historical flypast on 10 July over Buckingham Palace. Other personnel of RAF Leeming were instrumental in the RAF Parade prior to the flypast, this took weeks of training and was exceptionally well received by the public.
There are many events on the horizon, possible new Units to arrive at the Station over the coming years and we have recently been advised that RAF Leeming and its Expeditionary Air Wing will be tested by NATO in 2019. Preparations are already underway! Most notably, the Station is extremely proud to now be affiliated with the Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers and looks forward to hosting a delegation on 6 Sep to join the Officers’ in celebrating the Battle of Britain.
Wing Commander Andrew Coe