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THE ENLARGED 47 SQUADRON WILL INITIALLY SHARE UP TO 20 HERCULES ACROSS FOUR OR FIVE FLIGHTS extremely busy. They have now flown to 118 airports and airfields in 46 countries including the UK and are currently flying all around Europe as part of a routine Mediterranean airbridge to support ongoing operations. As an example of the new way of thinking, training requirements are being married up with live tasks, says Lushington. “There is no difference to one of these crews, if they’ve got the right

experience levels, between flying into Akrotiri with support for the ongoing operation [and] putting on a bespoke training task which is artificially made up. So why not put them on a live task?” The Atlas is still undergoing capability development. In some areas it is ahead of schedule and in others the fine detail is yet to be signed off. “We are stretching the capability while bringing it into service,” says Lushington. “We are finding the occasional glitch but we have great teams of people working hard to make sure that they understand what these are and that they are addressed and overcome. “There’s a long shopping list of things we need to do. We are just slowly working our way through it. We are making sure that we get the greatest operational agility upfront so that if there are things we’re going to move more frequently, or if there’s a big exercise or if we’ve got some coalition partners we are helping, we are prioritising those things right now.”

The C-130J has earned a reprieve from plans to retire the fleet by 2022, and will now remain with the RAF until 2035



2.4 Lifting the world.indd 60

23/06/2016 16:47

RAF Air Power 2016 – Inspiration and Innovation