The Royal Air Force (RAF) have conducted a rearm and refuel Typhoon whilst visiting Stornoway, as part of Exercise AGILE PIRATE, a weeklong exercise to develop the future Agile Combat Employment (ACE) concept. 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 3 years.
“Today we have proven the ability to receive, rearm, refuel and regenerate a pair of Typhoon Aircraft, earlier today 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 Duncan Clark Detachment Commander said.
“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 said.
Around 60 personnel are deployed as part of the exercise, operating from Stornoway Airport on the Island of Lewis, Typhoon from RAF Lossiemouth and A400M from RAF Brize Norton are flying into the airport. The RAF have chosen 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. Although currently local to the UK and utilising RAF assets, Agile Combat Exercises will grow to support United States Air Force and Europe Force Elements and those of NATO and Joint Expeditionary Force partners.