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AIR POWER 2017 21ST CENTURY PARTNERSHIPS Editor Simon Michell Project Manager Group Captain James Beldon MBE, Director of Defence Studies (RAF) Editorial Director Barry Davies Assistant Editor Emily Eastman Art Director J-P Stanway Designer Brendon Ward Managing Director Andrew Howard Printed by Pensord Front cover image: Boeing P-8A Poseidon (© Brown Hills Photography/Chris Brown)

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© 2017. The entire contents of this publication are protected by copyright. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means: electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher. The views and opinions expressed by independent authors and contributors in this publication are provided in the writers’ personal capacities and are their sole responsibility. Their publication does not imply that they represent the views or opinions of the Royal Air Force or Global Media Partners and must neither be regarded as constituting advice on any matter whatsoever, nor be interpreted as such. The reproduction of advertisements in this publication does not in any way imply endorsement by the Royal Air Force or Global Media Partners of products or services referred to therein.



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Rt Hon Sir Michael Fallon MP Secretary of State for Defence


Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier KCB CBE DFC ADC MA RAF, Chief of the Air Staff

Harriett Baldwin MP



Minister for Defence Procurement


Paul Everitt



Chief Executive, ADS Group





Simon Michell Editor, RAF Air Power 2017


32 33


Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force and Chief of the Air Force Staff


General Tod D Wolters


UK first and foremost How RAF Eurofighter Typhoon fast jets provide round-the-clock protection from potential air threats

Major General Tonje Skinnarland

Commander, US Air Forces in Europe, Air Forces Africa, and Allied Air Command


The RAF Rapid Capabilities Office ensures that the RAF remains at the forefront of air power evolution

Lieutenant-General Michael Hood

Chief of Staff, Royal Norwegian Air Force


Future generation – explore, expedite, exploit


Interview: Group Captain Paul Godfrey As RAF Lossiemouth says goodbye to its last Tornado fast jets, its Station Commander talks about their replacements


Eastern Hawk


A look back at the Red Arrows’ biggest overseas tour in a decade, which included their debut in China




Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) works with partners to ensure the RAF is equipped for its needs


Export advice Examining the mutually beneficial relationships between the UK’s defence and security bodies, which are important to boosting defence exports


Iraq and Syria: seizing the initiative The RAF has made significant contributions to counter-terrorism efforts in Iraq and Syria, using both manned and unmanned platforms


In defence of NATO An insight into NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission, which has been securing the skies over the Baltic region for more than a decade


Poseidon’s Trident The versatile Boeing P-8A Poseidon will mark a major shift in the RAF’s maritime capability when it enters service in 2020



Equipping the future RAF – working with DE&S


Interview: Vice Admiral Paul A Grosklags The Commander of the United States Naval Air Systems Command discusses the enhanced capabilities offered by the P-8A Poseidon


US MPA 2025 vision Rear Admiral Kyle Cozad, Commander of the US Navy’s Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, outlines the US Navy Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force Vision 2025


P-8A for the RAF – a cost-effective and rapid acquisition programme Why the UK has selected the P-8A Poseidon, plus a look at when the Royal Air Force can expect to take delivery of the first aircraft

Interview: Air Commodore Ian Duguid The Commander of the Typhoon Force reflects on why it is the backbone of the RAF’s combat air capability


Puma’s resolute support Looking at how the RAF’s upgraded Puma Mk2 is making a difference and saving lives


Exercise Eastern Venture As well as strengthening existing ties with partners in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, this exercise saw the RAF hosted for the first time by Japan and Korea


General Dato’ Sri Hj Affendi bin Buang The Chief of the Royal Malaysian Air Force on the importance of the RAF’s continued influence in South-East Asia






ISTAR: seeing is believing Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) is the vital element that can determine whether or not combat forces are required



F-35B Lightning Force An overview of the partnerships that are bringing the Lightning Force from concept to reality in 2018


F-35 Program Office update Vice Admiral Mat Winter, F-35 Program Executive Officer, highlights the UK’s integral role in the F-35 Program, with UK perspectives from Group Captain Willy Hackett

Remote future – securing the skies with the Protector programme



The RAF’s Protector programme will revolutionise the way in which remotely piloted air systems are operated


Pilot programme: the UK Military Flying Training System Details of the system that is destined to transform pilot and aircrew training across the UK’s armed forces


Fast turnaround


BAE Systems explains how industry ensures that fast jets are available to the RAF whenever they are needed


Spin doctors

MBDA offers an insight into the Brimstone spiral upgrade and the SPEAR development programme


Exploring how the RAF’s Chinook fleet is kept in readiness for operations worldwide

Atlas in the Antipodes The RAF maintains a strategic global reach, demonstrated in trips such as this year’s Airbus A400M Atlas flight to New Zealand and Australia



Precisely speaking

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Behind the scenes as the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight celebrates its 60th anniversary



Cyber warriors How the RAF is adapting to protect its systems against increasing cyber threats


RAF force protection Threats to aircraft on the ground are becoming increasingly relevant to those tasked with Air Power force protection


Upwardly mobile The Air Training Corps and Combined Cadet Force are increasing social mobility and providing opportunities for young people throughout the United Kingdom





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When the mission is critical, together we deliver Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0




his journal is a timely opportunity to celebrate the RAF’s immense contribution to our nation’s security. It’s been a busy 12 months. Today our pilots and aircrew are in the Middle East pushing Daesh to the brink of defeat in their last Iraqi stronghold – Mosul. Besides striking the terrorists, they’re providing local forces with cover, gathering detailed intelligence, and refuelling our partners’ aircraft. We haven’t seen such operational intensity for a quarter of a century, and the RAF’s contribution is second only to the United States. Elsewhere, our famous 3(F) Squadron – who earned their wings in two World Wars – are policing Black Sea skies to ward off Russian aggression. In the South Atlantic, our airmen and

women are defending the Falkland Islanders, 35 years on from their liberation. In total, the RAF is currently involved in 13 missions across four continents in more than 22 countries. It’s a supreme effort. All the while, our Quick Reaction Squadrons are guarding the UK’s mainland – ever ready to deter sudden danger. As well as appreciating what our RAF is achieving today, we must also anticipate tomorrow. The defence budget is rising yearon-year and we’re using it to invest our £178bn Equipment Budget in new RAF capability, including P-8A maritime patrol aircraft and F-35B Lightning – the spearhead of our carrier force. A 21st-century fleet fit to face 21st-century threats. But success against dangers growing in multiplicity, diversity and complexity demands not only aircrews and air power, but air alliances. So this year’s Air Power Conference and Journal focus on building 21st-century partnerships. We’re going to do three things to achieve that goal: first, boost our bonds with industry – pressing our private sector partners to deliver more punch for our pound. Voyager offers a model for future working. Owned by a private contractor, tasked by the Ministry of Defence and operated by the RAF alongside civilian crews, it is delivering unprecedented levels of service. We’re also looking for industry to help us innovate. British brains produced the Spitfire, the jet engine and, today, an engine that will reach sub-orbital velocity. By tapping into tomorrow’s talent, we will develop the disruptive capability we need - stimulating export markets and increasing investment in British jobs. Second, improve integration between the three services. With HMS Queen Elizabeth now on sea trials and our F-35 squadrons beginning to form, the regeneration of our carrier strike is near at hand. Capitalising on this capability step-change will require an unprecedented degree of collaboration between the Royal Navy and the RAF. But they’re on the case. Over the past few years they’ve been working tirelessly to enhance their joint operational effectiveness. At the same time as our RAF becomes better at gathering data from every domain, it must accelerate its ability to analyse and exchange information across our Armed Forces. In the future, we want to create a four-dimensional picture of the battlespace to target our quarry with unprecedented precision. 21st CENTURY PARTNERSHIPS AIR POWER 2017



The F-35 Lightning programme underlines the UK’s ability to partner in the most advanced combat air projects (PHOTO: SAC TIM LAURENCE/© CROWN COPYRIGHT)

Third, enhance our international cooperation. We are stronger when we stand together. As the UK steps back from the European Union, we will be stepping up to contribute to European and global security. We will continue seeking to strengthen NATO – the bedrock of our defence – and bolstering our bilateral ties. New acquisitions such as P-8, alongside the development of the carriers and F-35, offer even greater scope for partnership working. Reaching out comes as second nature to the RAF. Its role in our 70-nation Counter-Daesh



coalition, in NATO reassurance and in Exercise Eastern Venture – where it won friends and new investment across the AsiaPacific region – shows the UK has no finer ambassador. So dark clouds of instability might be massing on the horizon, but our RAF remains a ray of hope. In days gone by the RAF stood between tyranny and freedom. Today it is liberating the oppressed. As the shape of our formidable future fleet emerges, imagine what it can do tomorrow. As we build our 21st-century partnerships, imagine what we can do together.




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anywhere, thanks to its ability to fly far, fast and high, and land on short and unpaved airstrips. And its unique versatility means it can carry out a range of missions – be it strategic lift, tactical delivery or air refueling. Versatility. We make it fly.




n focusing on partnerships in this year’s edition of Air Power, we seek to highlight the vast array of cooperative enterprises in which the Royal Air Force (RAF) is involved, and how they combine to maximise the RAF’s contribution to meeting national priorities. From the cooperation of air forces and other military formations in prosecuting the fight against Daesh in Iraq and Syria, to delivering flying training solutions with industry alongside us in the UK, partnerships are a vital component in our success at all levels. In his article, Air Commodore Johnny Stringer provides an excellent insight into the way in which the RAF integrates with its multinational and Joint partners in the struggle against Daesh. Such partnerships are, of course, essential in defeating our enemies, but the RAF contributes to our national interests

in more ways than might immediately be apparent, whether it is in protecting our people, projecting the UK’s influence around the world or in promoting our national prosperity. Our hugely successful Exercise Eastern Venture at the end of 2016 saw the deployment of the RAF Aerobatic Team (the Red Arrows), Typhoons and supporting elements to the AsiaPacific region, which not only reinforced our long-established ties with our allies, but also provided an opportunity to support British industry partners in their endeavours to market hightech UK aerospace capabilities to potential customers. Equally importantly, the deployment demonstrated the UK’s will to be a globally engaged power that contributes to international stability through its friendships and alliances. The RAF’s engagement in NATO policing missions similarly affirms the UK’s commitment to a rules-based international order and contributes to security and stability in Europe, as demonstrated in 2016 through our deployment of Typhoons to Estonia and in 2017 to Romania. I am delighted that the RAF’s contribution to the UK’s international partnerships is valued so highly by our allies and partners, and it is particularly welcome that so many international air power leaders have contributed to this edition of Air Power. Their commentaries confirm the very positive influence that RAF airmen and women are making on operations, exercises and in collaborative programmes around the world. They also provide us with an invaluable understanding of how such partnerships are helping to promote international security, whether through the increased confidence that stems from enhanced interoperability, or in meeting the technical challenges at the cutting edge of aerospace technology. In the latter regard, the P-8 Poseidon and F-35 Lightning are vital programmes for the RAF, and for many other nations, too. Both programmes are examples of where RAF personnel are making a real difference in the development of vital capabilities that will enhance our Allies’ capabilities, as well as our own. Together we are stronger, which is why this year’s edition of Air Power focuses unerringly on the partnerships that are vital to our air power strength. 21ST CENTURY PARTNERSHIPS AIR POWER 2017


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s I reflect on my first year as the Minister for Defence Procurement, and as we look forward to the challenges and opportunities of a new Parliament, I continue to be amazed not only by the scale, variety and complexity of the Defenceindustrial partnership landscape, but by the genuine dedication on behalf of all parties to deliver the very best capabilities for our Armed Forces, not least the Royal Air Force (RAF). In all its endeavours, the RAF brings to bear not just its enviable reputation for professional excellence and operational effectiveness, but its equally high standing as an intelligent partner, too, especially with our industrial colleagues and international partner nations. Every Government department, but especially Defence, has a role to play in meeting the National Security Objectives of protecting our people, projecting our influence and promoting our prosperity, and the RAF is at the forefront of delivering in each of these key domains.



The RAF’s outstanding contribution – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – to our increasingly successful struggle against Daesh in Iraq and Syria and on Quick Reaction Alert air defence duties in the UK, the Falkland Islands and on NATO’s eastern flank, all profoundly demonstrate its vital contribution to keeping us safe. And the RAF continues to project the UK’s positive influence around the globe, through its participation in a multiplicity of NATO, bilateral and multilateral exercises, as perhaps most visibly demonstrated in the past year during the deployment of the Red Arrows and Typhoon, Voyager and other aircraft to the AsiaPacific region on Exercise Eastern Venture. Such enterprises not only send a very powerful message to our partners and potential adversaries that Britain is a globally engaged power that lives up to its treaty obligations and responsibilities as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, but also serve as a highly important opportunity to showcase our world-class aerospace industry and demonstrate that the UK is open for business. As many have observed, there can be no security without prosperity, and no prosperity without security. It is an obvious conclusion, therefore, that the Royal Air Force should work closely with industry both to enhance its combat effectiveness and to contribute to the prosperity which makes such enhancements affordable and achievable. So, endeavours such as Eastern Venture, in which our industry partners’ cooperation is invariably essential, are never just military exercises: they support every aspect of our country’s security objectives, including a sharp focus on our prosperity aims. The synergy that exists between security and prosperity is being enhanced by the Defence Growth Partnership (DGP), which has brought together industrial expertise with UK Government Departments, academia and research establishments to leverage our collective efforts more effectively to meet our national security aims. The DGP is working to secure a truly competitive, sustainable and globally successful UK Defence sector that provides affordable leading-edge capability and through-life support for our Armed Forces and international customers, as well as bringing wider economic benefits to the UK. Its success rests on the trust, collaboration and collective will of its constituent partners. It is through the adoption of a whole ‘Team UK’ approach, which represents the whole UK Defence sector, that we will maximise the gains for the UK as a whole, and we have

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The RAF will be able to reinvest TyTAN’s through-life support cost-savings to further improve Typhoon’s capabilities (PHOTO: SAC CHRIS ELLIS/© CROWN COPYRIGHT)

recently exploited this at the Paris Airshow and MAST in Japan, and will aim to do so again at DSEI in London in September. Under the umbrella of the DGP, the Defence Solutions Centre provides a new collaborative working environment to promote innovation and investment in the defence sector, identifying innovative and tailored solutions to meet Defence’s needs and determining road maps to guide future investment decisions and improve competitiveness. Scanning a 15-year horizon, the Defence Solutions Centre is able to exploit collaborative opportunities in the pre-competitive space to enable and embed innovation across the whole Defence industry. This is good for our industrial partners, but, even more importantly, it also paves the way to our future operational advantage. So, in addition to maintaining our 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review Pledge to committing £178 billion to the equipment programme over 10 years, we are energetically pursuing ways in which that investment can generate both battle-winning and contract-winning returns for our armed forces and industry. We are also making sure that our Armed Forces are exploiting the opportunities for reinvestment in capabilities that the delegated funding arrangements to the Service chiefs has provided. Now that the RAF can choose how best to spend and invest its resources,



it, too, is incentivised to find efficiencies that increase its financial manoeuvre space for optimising capability enhancements. The Typhoon Total Availability eNterprise (TyTAN) is a case in point: by brigading together a hitherto disaggregated collection of engineering and support arrangements into a cohesive whole, cost savings in the region of 40% are being achieved, while at the same time improving Typhoon fleet availability. The RAF is able to reinvest those savings into Typhoon’s capabilities – avionics, weapons and more – which will make the aircraft more competitive in the export market, as well as on operations. Because the RAF operates at the frontier of technological development, it spearheads not only the nation’s military operations abroad and closer to home, but also works hand in hand with industry to deliver ever more capable and better integrated capabilities across the spectrum of its activities. The RAF’s successes are, therefore, a tribute not only to the unrivalled prowess of its members, but also to the quality of the partnerships it shares with industry. As the RAF approaches its centenary, we can look forward to an exciting new era in which revolutionary capabilities such as the F-35 are supported and enhanced by revolutionary partnerships – delivering competitive advantage not only in the battlespace, but in the business space, too.

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Providing world-class capabilities


close and mutually beneficial partnership between the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the UK’s aerospace and defence industries plays a vital role in delivering both our national security and our economic prosperity. The UK’s combat air capability is a real success story. UK industry provides world-leading platforms, equipment, systems, support and services to the RAF and our friends and allies around the world. The sector delivered more than 80% of the UK’s defence exports from 2006 to 2015. This is of huge value to the UK, creating long-term, high-value jobs in every corner of the country and sustaining important diplomatic and military relationships. We should not underestimate the importance our allies and international customers attach to the strong relationship between industry and the RAF. The demanding standards set by the RAF and the outstanding quality of its people are respected around the world. When they choose to work with industry partners, it sends a very strong and positive signal.



The UK is at the centre of the provision of cutting-edge platforms, as well as support service partnerships, helping to provide the UK’s Armed Forces with world-leading capabilities and global reach. The Airbus A400M Atlas and Voyager programmes are exemplars of multinational cooperation and the strong relationships throughout the UK’s defence industry. Every UK military helicopter pilot trains on an Airbus helicopter, with their Oxford base home to one of only six H225 simulators available worldwide. Typhoon and Hawk have historically been integral to UK Defence Aerospace and have proven to be operationally and commercially successful, helping to develop and sustain vital engineering and design capabilities in the UK, as well as significantly supporting defence exports. Together with the UK’s role on the F-35 programme, these programmes provide a bridge to future combat air capabilities, including unmanned systems. Far-reaching supply chains mean that a wide range of UK companies participate in military aerospace programmes, working together to put the latest technological innovations at the disposal of the RAF – and providing vital economic benefits for communities right across the country. We have seen a number of long-term partnerships announced in which the UK supports the RAF through training and testing, and maintenance services, enhancing military capability for the future. QinetiQ is transforming the delivery of strategic Test & Evaluation and Training Services through the Long Term Partnering Agreement with the Ministry of Defence – an investment of approximately £180m in modernising facilities, equipment and developing new ways of working. Making sure the RAF remains at the cutting edge of simulation technology, BAE Systems has invested £2.3m in a Training and Simulation Integration Facility (TSIF) at Warton, Lancashire, providing the latest simulation technology for Hawk and Typhoon pilots and engineers. To make sure the UK maintains its position as a leader in military aerospace, partnerships across the industry and government must be for the long term. Stronger relationships will enable the industry to invest in innovation, deliver efficiently in the UK and achieve greater growth in exports markets. The work of the Defence Growth Partnership is vital to cementing this relationship and I look forward to working with colleagues from across industry and government, supporting the continued success of this important manufacturing sector and reinforcing our national security.



Malaysia and Norway and the United States Air Force Europe, who have expressed their personal feelings about the need for global engagement and close cooperation. We have also heard from those who the RAF helps to protect – from the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic to the Baltic States in northern Europe – and how this protection enables their security and prosperity. Closer to home, we have first-hand accounts of how the Air Cadets Organisation helps to produce confident, proactive citizens able to make the most of their opportunities, whether that be in a uniform or society at large.


The benefits of partnerships


his year’s RAF Air Power highlights the extensive nature of the network of partnerships to which the Royal Air Force (RAF) contributes, and from which it benefits, as it strives to maintain its eminent status as one of the world’s leading air powers. These partnerships bind the RAF to an astonishing array of organisations, industries, countries and allies that are all working together towards the same aim – a secure and stable world. The relationships that evolve out of these activities provide immeasurable advantages in both directions. They are, without doubt, the bedrock for the transformation of the RAF into a 21st-century air force. In this publication, we have been fortunate to be able to include the views of some of the partners with which the RAF has engaged over the past 12 months. We are extremely grateful to the Heads of air forces from Canada,

In order to remain in the first division of air powers, the RAF has to constantly refresh and maintain its capabilities, its manpower and its equipment. As the RAF prepares for the introduction of new groundbreaking air systems via the F-35, P-8 Poseidon and Protector, we have also been able to reach out to the programme managers who are building them and unit commanders who have already been operating with the new systems to understand the unique contribution that the RAF is making to the process of designing, building and using them. We are, therefore, grateful to Vice Admiral Mat Winter, Program Executive Officer for the F-35 Lightning Joint Program Office, who has offered insights into the United Kingdom’s special relationship with the industrial community that is building this new fifth-generation multirole jet. And, with the imminent arrival of the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, Vice Admiral Grosklags (Commander, US Navy Air Systems Command, P-8) and Rear Admiral Kyle Cozad (Commander of the US Navy’s Patrol and Reconnaissance Group) have both underlined the enormous strategic and tactical advantages that this new aircraft will deliver to its operators worldwide and the part that the RAF has played in the programme. The partnership with the US has been vital for the UK to retain its airborne maritime patrol skills. Finally, we would also like to thank the numerous members of the RAF who have offered their time, advice and expertise to our editorial team to ensure that we can deliver accurate and compelling accounts and insights into the highlights of the previous year’s activities. They are not only fascinating, but also demonstrate the enormous value that the RAF adds to national and international security and prosperity. 21ST CENTURY PARTNERSHIPS AIR POWER 2017



LIEUTENANT-GENERAL MICHAEL HOOD Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force and Chief of the Air Force Staff The head of the Royal Canadian Air Force underlines the close relationship the Royal Canadian Air Force enjoys with the Royal Air Force and other partner air forces The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) is the guarantor of Canadian sovereignty. It is the means by which the Canadian Government can reach every square foot of Canada, and act, with speed and agility. The RCAF executes air operations in support of national sovereignty every day, including essential surveillance and control of our airspace, both independently and in the context of NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) with the United States. It is also engaged internationally as tasked by the Canadian Government. The NORAD partnership, now in its 59th year, is a stellar example of structurally embedded cooperation, intelligence sharing and integration with our closest neighbour. This cultural norm of interoperability has also contributed to the RCAF’s effectiveness within NATO and in coalition air operations around the world. The RCAF contributes highly capable forces alongside larger allies, in part because of our close ties with our partners. Together, within our alliances, we are able to present

continued in the Second World War with the Canadian-led British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. This training effort was so successful it was referred to as ‘the aerodrome of democracy’.


credible deterrence and reassurance that our governments require. In that vein, Canadian Defence Policy affirms Canada’s unwavering commitment to our longstanding alliances and partnerships. Our air forces are integrated at the most senior of leadership levels. Our annual staff talks, Air Power Conferences and ‘Five Eyes’ Air Chief Symposiums provide us with mutually beneficial venues for information-sharing and cooperation. Going beyond multinational cooperation, the RCAF and the Royal Air Force (RAF) are fortunate to share our own very close ties. As far back as the First World War, the Royal Flying Corps started training military pilots in Canada. The relationship

We have flown together in battle, and in peace, for generations... the partnership between the RCAF and RAF remains very strong 32


We have flown together in battle, and in peace, for generations of airmen and airwomen, and today, the partnership between the RCAF and RAF remains very strong. The RCAF enjoys connections with various RAF units, including a strong reciprocal exchange programme, and concerted bilateral efforts to advance air power cooperation. As one example of this close cooperation, RAF maritime patrol specialists have been employed within the RCAF CP-140 Long Range Patrol (LRP) community for many years to maintain RAF maritime patrol operational capability and crew currency, prior to the delivery of the P-8 Poseidon. These personnel seamlessly integrated into RCAF crews, exemplifying the best traditions reminiscent of RCAF and RAF personnel “Flying in Formation”, side by side in bomber crews during the Second World War.

COMMON THINKING It is imperative that we continue to foster these deep and substantial ties; together, we will be much better able to anticipate and act. The future security environment and rapidly evolving aerospace technology, including space domain activities, fighter integration and complex ISR systems, call for the harnessing of partner air forces’ intellectual capital and inherent cooperation. Our shared history has engendered a common way of thinking about air power; together, we will continue to rely upon and strengthen this well-established relationship.


MAJOR GENERAL TONJE SKINNARLAND Chief of the Royal Norwegian Air Force (CRNORAF) The newly appointed Chief of the Royal Norwegian Air Force offers a partner’s perspective on the close relationship enjoyed by the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force (RAF) and the RNORAF HOW IMPORTANT ARE THE RNORAF’S RELATIONSHIPS WITH PARTNER AIR FORCES, BOTH WITHIN NATO AND BEYOND NATO? Very important. NATO is the cornerstone of Norwegian defence and security policy. Consequently, we need to be interoperable with our allies in terms of technology, operational procedures and mind-sets. We also have cross-border training and exercises with Sweden and Finland, as well as cooperation and regular discussions on other air power topics. We operate in various coalitions ‘out of area.’ To be successful we need to work constantly on strengthening relationships with like-minded nations so that we understand and trust each other.

WHAT SORT OF PARTNERSHIP DOES THE RNORAF ENJOY WITH THE UK’S RAF? The relationship between the United Kingdom and Norway is strong. We share the same values. We had Norwegian airmen operating with the RAF in World War II and when we formed our own independent air service it was, to a large degree, modelled on the RAF. More recently, we operated together in Operation Allied Force (1999) and Operation Unified Protector (2011). We have regular staff talks and visits. We fly together in numerous exercises every year.

HOW DOES THE RNORAF COOPERATE WITH THE RAF IN TRACKING AND INTERCEPTING INTRUDING RUSSIAN AIRCRAFT? Our F-16s are on Quick Reaction Alert to safeguard Norwegian airspace and NATO’s northern flank. We intercept Russian aircraft regularly, as does the RAF. We exchange information, we share lessons and we cooperate on how best to defend our airspaces individually and collectively. Both our air forces follow the policy of transparent, predictable and accountable actions in the air, based on international laws and regulations.

HOW WILL THE RAF/RNORAF PARTNERSHIP BE ENHANCED WHEN THE RNORAF STARTS OPERATING THE F-35A? Both of our air forces will soon operate a substantial number of F-35s. We are planning to have 52 fully operational by 2025. We will find ways to train, exercise and operate together. We will consider how to exploit the potential for cooperation on simulators, maintenance, logistics and upgrades. We will also work on doctrine, procedures and find ways to exchange lessons learned. To me it is a question of partnering up on ‘body, mind and soul’; that is, fighting power, thinking power and staying power. We need to engage in all aspects of that triangle, not only on matters of hardware.

WHAT WILL THE RECENT COOPERATION AGREEMENT ON P-8A BETWEEN UK AND NORWAY DELIVER? The P-8 is a very capable maritime patrol aircraft and we will be training, exercising and operating together. We will both operate with the US Navy. Given the new geostrategic importance of the North Atlantic, we will look at the trinity of the RAF operating out of Lossiemouth, the

US Navy out of Keflavik in Iceland and the RNORAF out of Northern Norway. This will be a significant cooperation politically and militarily. The combination of investments in F-35s and P-8s by both our countries will open up a ‘new era’ of cooperation for our air forces. Our bilateral cooperation will, in turn, strengthen the Alliance.

HOW WILL THESE PARTNERSHIPS EVOLVE THROUGHOUT THE 21ST CENTURY? We will follow the vision of ‘stronger together’. We are going to work together in developing fifth-generation air forces. One thing is to get fifth-generation aircraft (technology); the greater challenge is to transform our organisation, conceptual thinking, and people into a proper fifth-generation service. We have to better understand the role of air power in the new security era, with all the opportunities that accompany this change. The F-35 truly is a game-changer: it is not an incremental improvement on the F-16. Air Power’s contribution to joint operations will be even more important in the future. Therefore, integration and interoperability across domains, with close allies, is crucial for the future success of our air forces. We will do our part to be a credible and capable ally; past, present and future.



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GENERAL TOD D WOLTERS Commander, US Air Forces in Europe, Air Forces Africa, and Allied Air Command Air Power Partnerships and Interoperability: Enablers for European Security The amazing men and women of US Air Forces in Europe, Air Forces Africa, and Allied Air Command conduct and enable operations around the globe. In Europe, our efforts focus on four objectives – deliver combat-ready forces, provide robust basing access, enhance joint interoperability, and improve partner capabilities. Achieving success in these areas is paramount in a diverse and uncertain global security environment. A 360-degree look at the region illustrates Europe’s complexity, highlights the importance of our partnerships, and demonstrates the need to continuously expand the interoperability of our forces. We maintain a laser focus on the region from top to bottom, right to left, South to North, and West to East. Starting in the North, the diminishing Arctic shelves open economic opportunities, and increasingly, militarization of the region. The impacts of these activities extend North of Finland, Sweden, and Norway, continue westward to Iceland and Greenland, and quickly connect to the Atlantic, where they abut critical defended assets of US Northern Command. Stepping to the South, violent extremist organization (VEO) factors emerge throughout the Mediterranean. We immediately observe that our activities to deter VEOs are intimately linked with the migrant and refugee challenges facing Europe. Snapping to the Southeastern flank of NATO, friction arises from a variety of actors, extending across Syria and into the Black Sea. These power struggles impact the security of our allies and partners bordering these areas. We continue to support these

states, particularly Turkey. Finally, to the East, where Russia poses a challenge to the United States, Europe, and NATO alike. It is a challenge that bears deterring, and we deter it and other actors through a number of means. The most important measure is our robust, focused training and exercise schedule. Through activities like Atlantic Resolve, Arctic Challenge, European Partnership ISR Enterprise, and enhanced Forward Presence we transparently maintain razor-sharp combat capability and credibility alongside our allies and partners. Partnerships are the common thread in these arenas. Our relationships with the partners, nations, and the coalition across Europe, both NATO and EU members alike, have never been stronger than they are today. We continue to build and strengthen these ties in the interests of global security. These partnerships and the access to the region they offer create the platform upon which we train and stand ready to deliver combat power. Examples like the historic first operational deployment of the F-35 in April to the United Kingdom, Estonia, and Bulgaria, along with the rotation of B-2s, B-1s, and B-52s through RAF Fairford in support of exercises Saber Strike and Baltic Operations display the strength of these relationships. They communicate our collective ability to lift and shift forces, and the readiness we all preserve to deter and defend against any potential aggression. The interoperability of forces across our partnerships continues to grow, but we are never satisfied with the current state. We work hard to improve this interoperability, while growing partner capabilities. The permanent introduction of F-35 in the near future, continual rotation of theater security packages, and introduction of Air Integration Elements, to name a few, create opportunities to enhance execution in all domains. The F-35 serves

as a fantastic force multiplier, particularly alongside fourth-generation counterparts. We encourage our allies to continue to embrace acquisition of and integration with this platform. It represents a monumental leap in capability that heightens the performance and survivability of other assets. Furthermore, it forces us to stretch and enhance our multi-domain command and control mediums to facilitate greater information exchange. Advancing this communication flow is critical to the trust and teamwork that form the foundation of our incredible interoperability. Our forces maintain a second-bysecond focus on the activities throughout the region, monitoring indications and warnings. We combine that with a robust training and exercise schedule to deter any potential adversaries. The US Air Force articulates support and provides capability to these efforts through its five core missions – superiority, surveillance, strike, lift, and command and control. The strength of our partnerships and the interoperability of our forces underpin the success of this approach. Ultimately, it is the marriage of this hard work that allows us to help keep the global security environment at a simmer, just short of conflict.







The Royal Air Force (RAF) Rapid Capabilities Office has been set up to ensure that the RAF remains at the forefront of air power evolution. Air Vice-Marshal Simon ‘Rocky’ Rochelle explains how



was recently asked to consider an interesting doctrinal challenge suggesting that the most visionary Royal Air Force (RAF) leaders of the past, Lord Trenchard (the Father of the RAF) and Sir John Slessor (the RAF’s foremost air power strategist), would instantly recognise the key components of today’s RAF and the way it currently exercises air power. The somewhat uncomfortable proposition was that these great RAF innovators would all too readily recognise their own eras in the modern RAF – the damning implication being that the things that we do now would still be so familiar to them that it might appear that we had somehow failed to evolve. The key insinuation to be taken from this theoretical challenge is that the RAF still looks the same, that we have lost our innovative edge and perhaps, too, that our competitive edge is diminishing. Is this correct? Have we really lost our way? Would these great men really recognise what they saw? If so, what would be the same, what would be different and would there really be nothing that amazed them? In thinking through these questions, it occurred to me that the challenge was not without substance. After all, do all of our new aircraft operate at hypersonic speeds, and have we genuinely revolutionised what we are doing?

What is for certain is that the RAF is now able to achieve things that would be completely beyond the scope of Trenchard’s and Slessor’s thinking; indeed, the advances we have made in precision and intelligence are beyond what even I could have imagined as I embarked on my career 30 years ago. It would be unfair, I think, to expect that these great proponents of technological advance could have comprehended the sheer breathtaking level of situational awareness that an individual F-35 pilot has, or what that means to the whole joint or coalition effort. The pilot alone has an unprecedented level of situational awareness born of the vast constellation of information available at any one time – certainly an understanding that is of several orders of magnitude better than was available to the massed formations of fighters or bombers in the Second World War when Sir John Slessor was planning his combat operations.

BEYOND THE TECHNOLOGY Perhaps a more salient point to draw from the proposition is that it isn’t about technology per se, but the ability to develop our capabilities and concepts fast enough to keep up with the threat technologies that seek to deny us freedom of action. In terms of technology, we are clearly moving forward – space planes have just been commissioned

The RAF is coupling the use of emerging technology with the best and brightest people to secure its competitive edge (PHOTO: PO PHOTO OWEN COOBAN/ © CROWN COPYRIGHT)




Lord Trenchard and Sir John Slessor would be amazed at the level of situational awareness a single pilot in an F-35 Lightning has at his or her fingertips (PHOTO: SAC TIM LAURENCE/ © CROWN COPYRIGHT)

by the US Air Force and we are looking closely at hypersonic weapon systems. But, we are also extremely conscious that the technological threats to our own capabilities are advancing rapidly, too, and we have already taken steps to see what can be done about this. However, this new approach still has to be delivered within existing budgets. Churchill’s assertion that “Now that we have run out of money we have to think” is an enduring challenge to capability

We are extremely conscious that the technological threats to our own capabilities are advancing rapidly, too

is delivered. It is still early days for this new team, but the first results are encouraging and, as it examines and challenges our current operating model, we will ensure that these improved processes pervade the wider acquisition system while being mindful of the fact that these changes have to be delivered by our best people. In the acquisition area, we need the best and brightest individuals – people who, when given a little room for manoeuvre, take every opportunity and exploit their initiative to deliver something that is greater than had originally been asked for. This requires individuals with energy, bags of initiative and, most importantly, the courage to succeed and the desire to make a difference. So, by understanding and harnessing emerging technology and coupling it with radical new processes to maintain our warfighting edge, we are more than addressing the challenge.

OPPORTUNITIES AHEAD programmers. One of our responses to both the challenge implied by the proposition and the ‘real world’ challenge facing us is the creation of the RAF’s Rapid Capabilities Office. Their motto is ‘Explore, Expedite, Exploit’, and their vision is to ‘deliver a competitive edge to the warfighter’. Rooted at the heart of this new organisation is the need to challenge the process of how our capability



Mulling over the Trenchard-Slessor proposition has made me even more determined to follow the pathway, as drawn from the new RAF Strategy, to deliver the next-generation Air Force. The future success of our Service depends on us continuing to do so, and I hope, as we move forward, we will increasingly be able to talk of these new and exciting opportunities for RAF air power.




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Every day of the year, 24 hours a day, two pairs of Eurofighter Typhoon fast jets are at a few moments’ notice to get airborne and defend the UK against any potential air threat. Alan Dron talks to Air Vice-Marshal Gerry Mayhew to find out why this is necessary and what it entails



mages of Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoons escorting Russian aircraft near to the coastline of the British Isles have cropped up in the press with increasing frequency lately, but the situation has remained consistent over recent years, says Air Vice-Marshal Gerry Mayhew, who commands the RAF’s 1 Group. “I wouldn’t say there’s been a significant change. For some months you could have nothing, then you could get three in a week, depending on what’s happening in the strategic context.” Warnings of approaching Russian military aircraft can come from any of the UK’s NATO partners. When they do, the standard procedure is to launch two Typhoons from one of the UK’s two main air defence bases – RAF Lossiemouth in northern Scotland, or RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire – together with a Voyager tanker aircraft from RAF Brize Norton. Topping up the Typhoons’ fuel tanks can occur either before or after an interception, depending on circumstances. The most usual types of aircraft intercepted, according to Air Vice-Marshal Mayhew, are Russian long-range bombers such as the turboprop Tu-95 Bear or the jet-powered Tu-160 Blackjack. “Occasionally something more exotic might appear on the horizon,” says Air Vice-Marshal Mayhew. “MiG-31

The 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review decreed that two extra Typhoon squadrons should be formed 40


Foxhounds – long-range reconnaissance and fighter aircraft – are still out there.” When the Typhoons are in their NATO air policing role, providing air defence assets for the Baltic nations, for example, more modern Russian fighter-bombers and intelligencegatherers are also among the types intercepted.

READY TO RESPOND Typhoons are held at five minutes’ notice in Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) shelters at Lossiemouth and Coningsby, with pilots spending 24-hour stints in ‘ready rooms’ alongside their aircraft. Apart from being scrambled to intercept military targets of interest approaching the UK, the most usual reason for an alert is the loss of communication between a civilian aircraft and air traffic control. With memories of the September 2001 attacks on the United States still very much alive, no chances are taken with aircraft that do not respond to ground controllers. “We’re called to cockpit almost daily for communications failures,” says Air Vice-Marshal Mayhew, “but in terms of launching to escort an aircraft, it’s rare.” An even rarer eventuality is having to go supersonic over the UK when time is of the essence, as the resulting sonic boom invariably produces a flurry of calls to local police forces. When requirements do force the pilots to punch the throttles, however, “the majority of feedback we get is generally positive. People recognise we’ve got a job to do and only go supersonic as a last resort.” Terrorists seizing an aircraft – perhaps a small one operating from a UK airstrip – is a potential threat scenario that the QRA units train for, both in the simulator and ‘live’. “We’ll train against something that’s very slow-moving, as well as high-speed air traffic. Some lessons that we learned at the


London Olympics [when Typhoons were detached to RAF Northolt, west London, to be closer to the Olympic stadium in the event of a suspected air attack ] we have carried with us ever since.” The 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review decreed that two extra Typhoon squadrons should be formed – taking the total to seven – to bolster the UK’s air defences. These are scheduled to form in 2018-19 and will be Typhoon Tranche 1 aircraft. “These are multirole aircraft, but have a different suite of weapons than Tranche 2 and 3,” says Mayhew. “At the moment, we’re taking a long look at the capability of these Tranche 1s to ensure we get the right systems in play for the longevity of the aircraft.”

Several other branches of the Services play their part in the UK’s QRA role. The Air Surveillance and Control Systems (ASACS) Force is responsible for compiling a ‘recognised air picture’, using ground-based, aerial and naval radars. The ground-based radars are undergoing a recapitalisation programme under Project Marshall. The Boeing E-3D Sentry force, which carries the airborne radars, is going through a sustainment package that will determine what is needed to keep the aircraft effective. At sea, the Royal Navy’s extremely powerful Sampson and S1850M radars on board the Type 45 destroyers also contribute to building the recognised air picture.

RAF jets scrambled in May this year after two Russian planes entered UK airspace (PHOTO: © CROWN COPYRIGHT)

THE FALKLAND ISLANDS QRA “The RAF Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) is the core of the defence of the Falkland Islands, and ensures there is a rapid response to any perceived incursion. Its capability is sufficient to deter, as well as defend the airfield to enable reinforcement in times of heightened tensions. Its interoperability with other assets is a key part of the task,” explains Mike Summers OBE, Member of the Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly.

the UK forces, including the QRA capability, there would be no sense of security in the Falkland Islands, and little confidence to continue with the economic development programmes that have seen us prosper since the war. We have moved from a position of dependency to one of economic self-sufficiency (save for the cost of defence), and a very high level of internal self-government.”

Mike is a big fan of the RAF jets, as are the islanders: “Falkland Islanders love the fast jets that have provided our defence for over three decades, from the Phantom to the Tornado and now the Typhoon. The sight and sound of the fast jets on exercise is regularly referred to as the sound of freedom.” Summers is in no doubt about the significance of the UK military presence: “Without the presence of

A combination of agriculture, fishing and tourism makes the Islands economically viable, and the promise of hydrocarbons would enhance that success. But, as Summers points out, “None of this investment comes without the necessary security, and all this together underpins the right to self-determination of the Islands that the UK Government has pledged to defend.”





GROUP CAPTAIN PAUL GODFREY STATION COMMANDER As RAF Lossiemouth says goodbye to its last Tornado fast jets, Simon Michell talks to the Station Commander, Group Captain Paul Godfrey, about the new aircraft that will take its place Situated about 40 miles north-east of Inverness, RAF Lossiemouth is one of the Royal Air Force’s (RAF’s) busiest fast jet air bases. In 2014, it took on the Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) role alongside RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire. RAF Lossiemouth’s task, officially dubbed QRA (Interceptor) North, tends to focus on intercepting long-range Russian aviation. According to the Station Commander, Group Captain (Gp Capt) Paul Godfrey, “Each base carries out the full range of QRA missions, but with RAF Coningsby’s proximity to the London commercial air traffic hubs they tend to focus on passenger

aircraft that have failed to check in on their radios with Air Traffic Control, whereas here at Lossie we look further north to intercept Russian Long Range Aviation (LRA) that probe UK airspace.”

A GLOBAL ROLE RAF Lossiemouth also has a global role, with aircraft, crew and Force Protection deployed to operations worldwide, as well as providing assitance to the military and civilians in the region through their Mountain Rescue Team. To illustrate this international responsibility, Gp Capt Godfrey explains, “At the moment, we have personnel from 5 Force Protection Wing deployed to Nigeria, teaching their equivalents how we carry out Force Protection in the air environment. We have one of our Typhoon Squadrons deployed to Cyprus in support of Operation Shader, as well as personnel in other roles in the Falkland Islands and the Middle East.” With the last Panavia Tornado leaving the station in May 2017, following the disbandment of the Tornado Operational Conversion Unit, RAF Lossiemouth now has space for an additional Typhoon Squadron,

which will begin to form in 2018, reaching initial operating capability in April 2019. At around the same time, RAF Lossiemouth will welcome its first permanently based P-8 Poseidon aircraft. The facilities are being planned and work will begin in October. Gp Capt Godfrey points out, however, that RAF Lossiemouth is no stranger to the P-8 or, indeed, large military aircraft: “We have been handling P-8s for a long time, especially during the Joint Warrior exercises that take place in Scotland twice a year. And we have been operating other maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) as our allies have been helping us with the maritime patrol task.” Gp Capt Godfrey is looking forward to the arrival of the P-8s as he is a tremendous advocate of their multi-role capability. “To think of P-8 as an MPA is doing it a disservice. I think there is room for a huge amount of expansion in its role. It is really up to us to use our imaginations as to how we put it to use in the future,” he says. “I think P-8 has an incredibly exciting future, not just for the RAF, but with all our allies who also operate or will operate the aircraft. The possibilities are endless,” he concludes.

A line-up of Eurofighter Typhoons on the apron at RAF Lossiemouth (PHOTO: SAC LAURA BULLAS / © CROWN COPYRIGHT)




Simon Michell asks Stephen Phipson, Head of the Department for International Trade Defence and Security Organisation (DIT DSO), about the benefits of the close relationships between his department, the Ministry of Defence, the armed services and industry



efence exports are important to the United Kingdom on numerous levels. At their most basic level they contribute to the health of the nation’s finances. However, beyond that, they also provide a strategic advantage by helping to support the domestic defence technology research and development that helps the UK maintain a technological advantage in preparation for potential future conflicts. Defence exports also contribute to the deepening of doctrinal and operational interoperability between the UK and its partners, and act as an adjunct for projecting stability overseas in regions where the UK is helping to build capacity and enhance security.

The numbers are significant. In 2015, the UK won £7.7 billion of new defence equipment and services contracts. Added to that, sales of some £4 billion in security equipment were also achieved; the former representing military hardware and support services, the latter more closely linked with assisting other nations to protect national infrastructure, key personnel and, increasingly, cyber networks. Over recent times, the UK has sold aeroengines to France, fast jets to India, Oman and Saudi Arabia, helicopters to Norway and South Korea, Offshore Patrol Vessels to Brazil, Ireland and Oman and bridging equipment to the United States. Stephen Phipson is the UK Government’s man in charge of facilitating this export activity as head

The Eastern Hawk Red Arrows deployment was a prime example of the close cooperation that exists between DIT DSO and the RAF (PHOTO: CPL STEVE BUCKLEY / © CROWN COPYRIGHT)




of the Department for International Trade Defence and Security Organisation (DIT DSO). Although this is a relatively new name, the department has been around for more than half a century. “It started in 1966. Up until 2008, it was part of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) as the Defence Exports Services Organisation (DESO),” Phipson explains. “It was taken out and put into the Department for UK Trade and Industry in an effort to consolidate all of the government’s export support activities.”

Stephen Phipson and Harriett Baldwin MP, Minister for Defence Procurement, host Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, at the IDEX exhibition in Abu Dhabi (PHOTO: © CROWN COPYRIGHT)

STRONG TIES Despite the move, DIT DSO’s links with the MOD and armed services remain as strong as ever, with some 40 MOD civilians and uniformed personnel on loan to the 150-strong department. In addition, there is also a cadre of First Secretaries for Defence and Security (FSDS), also taken from the MOD and armed forces, embedded in about 35 key embassies worldwide. This helps to keep the necessary expertise on tap, as Phipson concedes, “It is very difficult to sell military equipment unless you have got the support of the relevant armed service – the Royal Air Force (RAF) for aerospace systems, the Royal Navy for maritime security and, of course, the British Army for land systems.” The First Secretaries are predominantly located in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia,

DIT DSO’s links with the MOD and armed services remain as strong as ever, with some 40 MOD civilians and personnel on loan to the department 44


and are there to support DIT DSO’s key target market penetration. Their job, according to Phipson, is to work – frequently in collaboration with the embassy defence attaché – to highlight opportunities. “They are our front-line team that is working to identify the requirements in-country across all three armed services that might be of interest to the UK.” As such, they are key to the five-year rolling plan that DIT DSO maintains for each of these target countries.

COLLABORATIVE EFFORTS As well as assisting DIT DSO with market research and customer relationship management, the MOD and armed services also work closely together when planning overseas tours. The RAF’s recent tour of Asia under exercises Eastern Hawk and Eastern Venture was an impressive self-supporting deployment of Typhoons and Red Arrows to a number of countries, containing stopovers that were carefully chosen to benefit existing DIT DSO campaigns. One of Phipson’s senior military advisors, Air Vice-Marshal Nigel Maddox, elaborates, “We were involved in the planning of the stopovers from the beginning, because we have that ability to zoom out, and see a much bigger picture and, in doing so, join the dots to ensure that we involve everyone to the best possible effect.” This is exactly the type of partnership that was endorsed in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review when it called for support to defence exports to become a core MOD task. It seems to be working well and Phipson is extremely pleased with the support he gets from the Armed Services, and the RAF in particular. “The Red Arrows are a great advertisement for UK capability, and the men and women of the RAF are some of our best salespeople.” This is crucial, as the air domain currently accounts for about 70% of defence exports.


BUILDING EFFECTIVE, INNOVATIVE PARTNERSHIPS activities. Leonardo offers UK-designed aircraft, sensors and electronic systems for customers operating in the air, on land and at sea, as well as in the equally important information, space and cyber domains. In the UK, we generate around £2 billion in revenues each year of which over 50% is derived from exports.


WHY ARE PARTNERSHIPS SO IMPORTANT FOR FUTURE BUSINESS? Norman Bone Chairman and Managing Director, Leonardo MW Ltd

WHAT LED TO THE CREATION OF THE NEW SINGLE LEONARDO COMPANY IN THE UK? We launched Leonardo MW Ltd in January 2017, bringing together our vast breadth of capability across the United Kingdom (UK). This improves coherence across our business, enhancing our ability to form crucial partnerships. We can also target investment more effectively.

WHAT ARE THE PARTS THAT MAKE UP THIS NEW UK BUSINESS? Leonardo is one of the UK’s largest hightech engineering companies. We have researched, designed, built and supported technology in the UK for over 100 years through famous companies including Ferranti, Marconi and Westland. We employ 7,000 highly skilled people across the country with major sites in Basildon, Bristol, Edinburgh, Luton, Southampton and Yeovil. Today, we continue to place innovation and adaptability at the core of all we do, and we place that at the service of our customers in the UK and in our export

As markets and operational demands change, our customers in the UK and abroad face new challenges. Partnerships are at the heart of our approach to help them get the deployed capability they need. There are few programmes that start from a clean sheet of paper. Customers are looking to develop existing capability, using solutions that already meet perhaps 80% of their needs. Our customers select industry partners who are willing to invest alongside government and work collaboratively with other companies, developing common standards and architectures.

WHAT ARE THE PLANS FOR DEVELOPING PARTNERSHIPS WITH LEONARDO’S UK BUSINESS? Effective, innovative partnerships are hugely important to the success of Leonardo, which is why we’ve invested in relationships across the globe. This includes in our supply chain where we have 1,500 SMEs among our 2,300 UK-based suppliers. We also recognise that the UK has a critical shortage of engineers, so we work with schools, universities and government initiatives to invest in skills, with more than 400 apprenticeships and new graduates across the UK. T WIT TER

Selling abroad is essential to the success of our business, allowing us to invest further in the UK. Our ability to partner, our breadth of capability and the depth of our skills give us a strong platform to develop our business in the UK and drive exports.

Leonardo has supported the RAF throughout its 100 years, since the First World War, when we developed direction-finding equipment to target

“We work with schools, universities and government initiatives to invest in skills” German Zeppelins and pioneered the development of aircraft. Today, that direct involvement can be seen in our work, for example, with 41 Squadron at RAF Coningsby, the Test and Evaluation Squadron responsible for introducing new capability on to the Typhoon fast jet. Our collaboration there ensures we understand the performance of our new technology, how it fulfils operational requirements today, and how it can be further enhanced to deliver what the Royal Air Force needs tomorrow.

@leonardo_live WEBSITE


Air Commodore Johnny Stringer, Air Component Commander – 83 Expeditionary Air Group, explains the Royal Air Force’s contribution to the counter-terrorism efforts in Iraq and Syria and shows how a mix of manned and unmanned platforms is helping with this crucial effort




f 2015 was the year in which Daesh’s territorial gains and ambitions were checked, the period from early 2016 to the present may well be seen as when its ultimate defeat was established. Throughout this period, the frontline squadrons of the Royal Air Force (RAF) have been at the forefront of the coalition’s military campaign – a coalition now comprising more than 60 nations, assembled under the command of the Combined Joint Task Force and with an impressive air component that has been key to its success. Autumn 2017 will mark three years of air and joint campaigning on Operation Shader – the United Kingdom’s contribution to the coalition Operation Inherent Resolve. From bases in Crete, Cyprus and across the Middle East, the RAF’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), fast-jet, air-transport and air-refuelling forces have provided an unbroken operational contribution. For many, their

The RAF’s Sentinel R1 ISR aircraft are helping to supply as much as 25% of the key stand-off radar imagery used to target hostile forces in Iraq and Syria (PHOTO: © CROWN COPYRIGHT)



contribution goes back more than 25 years to the First Gulf War. For the Reaper Squadrons, their operations are conducted from bases in the UK and United States, with a small Launch and Recovery Element forward in the Gulf region. Many airmen and women have served more than one tour, flying, engineering, exploiting intelligence product (also in part done from the UK) or otherwise supporting the fight against Daesh. Home bases have been exceptionally busy generating and sustaining their squadrons, and, in all of this, support from our families has been unstinting. All are united by the need to defeat the amoral evil represented by Daesh. I can only hope to give a flavour of the RAF’s operational contribution; the small vignettes and statistics that provide a sense of the whole. It has been one of the most challenging tactical, operational and strategic environments that any of us serving in this campaign can recall, featuring: missions in the same


areas as Russian and Syrian aircraft; numerous factions fighting with and against each other on the ground; some exceptionally busy airspace; and targeting an enemy deliberately using civilians as human shields and hostages within dense urban environments. It has taken every ounce of professional skill and judgement and it is an immense and humbling privilege to command such a fine group of men and women. As their predecessors would recognise from the almost 100 years of the RAF, they take pride in making the difficult look easy, and the exceedingly hard nothing to waste too many words on. The reality is somewhat different.

CHALLENGING CONDITIONS For our Tornado and Typhoon aircrew, an average Operation Shader mission lasts between six and seven hours. In that time, they will conduct multiple air-refuelling brackets with our Voyager tanker aircraft and other coalition refuelling jets, receiving tonnes of fuel and remaining on station for several hours. Perhaps surprisingly, weather in the Middle East can be variable and none too pleasant: violent thunderstorms, hail and lightning at one end of the spectrum, strong winds, reduced visibility, dust storms and exceptional heat at the other. For our engineers, coping with flooding on one detachment will be replaced by heat acclimatisation and SPF50 sunscreen on the next. For the majority of the past 12 or more months, our fast jets and ISR aircraft have been directly engaged in demanding urban operations. A sense of the tempo can

be seen from our targeting teams in the Combined Air Operations Centre. Multiple dynamic strikes a day, fusing numerous sources of intelligence to ensure that our crews engage the right targets while avoiding civilian casualties is always at the forefront of people’s minds.

UNPRECEDENTED PRECISION Every single strike has to be approved in accordance with the Laws of Armed Conflict and in harmony with national policy. Then our crews have to identify and engage targets that require a degree of precision in engagement and execution that has probably never been achieved at this scale and duration before. And the targets are exceptionally challenging: defensive fire positions established in houses, apartment blocks and industrial buildings; vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) that might be as seemingly innocuous as a motorbike or as lethal and indiscriminate as an explosive-rigged fuel tanker; and Daesh fighters hiding among innocent civilians, or even forcing them in front as a defensive screen. There have been numerous occasions when – even though cleared to engage legitimate targets – our crews have delayed engaging the enemy until certain of avoiding civilian casualties, or have diverted weapons after launch (a “shift cold”) to avoid innocent people when the situation has changed on the ground. Equally, there has been quite exceptional weapons employment: mortars engaged under tree canopies, in courtyards and in doorways; VBIEDs struck when only a

Precision munitions from RAF multirole jets – such as the Typhoon, pictured during refuelling by a US Air Force tanker over Iraq – have engaged Daesh terrorists in the tightest of corners (PHOTO: US AIR FORCE/ STAFF SGT COREY HOOK)




handful of metres away from friendly forces and under incredible pressure; precision strikes within 70 metres or fewer of our coalition partners to save lives and break contacts; and weapon fusing that allows us to target snipers on individual floors in multistorey buildings. Some of these missions will rightly live long in the memory. These include: the rapid intervention by a Reaper crew to break up an imminent public execution by engaging a Daesh sniper without harming any civilians; the Tornado crew engaging a Daesh vehicle convoy while low on fuel and with scant minutes to execute multiple precision strikes; and a Typhoon defending Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) north of Tabqa dam from a Daesh counterattack – the first weapon released in anger by a young pilot on his first operational mission.

INTELLIGENCE-LED OPERATIONS The performance and output of our ISR crews and the intelligence and imagery analysts that exploit their products are no less remarkable. Our Sentinel aircraft provide more than 25% of key coalition stand-off radar-derived imagery of hostile (and friendly) manoeuvre on the ground in Iraq and Syria. It has become an essential aid to top-level commanders and has become the exemplar across the coalition. The strikes conducted by our Reaper crews already noted are only part of the contribution. Operating for

Daesh has shown utter disregard for human lives, including those of their own forces 48


Reaper RPAS, operated remotely by RAF crews in the UK and US over Iraq and Syria, are often the first to notice and react to suspicious behaviour on the ground below (PHOTO: © CROWN COPYRIGHT)

numerous hours over Mosul, Raqqa and many other towns and cities, they have established a knowledge of their operating environments that has few peers, and are often the first to pick up on something that doesn’t look right. As part of a wider enterprise of coalition ISR assets, our Reapers are routinely “crosscued” by other aircraft, or tasked to investigate locations briefed to them by forces on the ground. This “big-to-small” surveillance allows for the most efficient use of our aircraft and develops critical insights into both Daesh front-line activity and the logistics and transportation that supports them. As such, it is a central part of our deliberate targeting, allowing the coalition to strike Daesh military targets many miles from an active front. RAF aircraft have destroyed weapons caches and production facilities, Daesh command and control centres and headquarters, and other locations where Daesh fighters assemble before deploying forward. During the past year, particular emphasis has been placed on countering both commercially procured and Daesh-developed drones, quadcopters and other unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). Much of this work is highly sensitive, but UK and RAF intelligence analysts have been at the heart of the coalition effort. The impact has been profound and has directly saved many Iraqi security-force and civilian lives. RAF fast jets have also struck a number of locations in Iraq related to Daesh’s UAV capability, and this work continues apace.

DAESH IN RETREAT Throughout 2016 and the first part of 2017, Daesh has lost ground across Iraq and Syria. From threatening Baghdad in 2014, they are now reduced to desperately defending a few districts in west Mosul. Elsewhere in Iraq, the remaining isolated pockets of Daesh-held territory will be tackled in the coming months. In Syria, Daesh is in retreat on all fronts: Tabqa has fallen and the SDF are making great strides towards wresting Raqqa back from Daesh. No one underestimates how challenging these remaining fights will be – Daesh has shown utter disregard for human lives, including those of their own forces, but there will only be one outcome: their defeat and destruction in both Iraq and Syria, and the demise of the brutal, so-called caliphate. For those RAF servicemen and women who have and will continue to be part of Operation Shader, there is justified yet quiet pride in providing their unstinting, utterly professional contribution to this vital coalition campaign and the fight against Daesh. The RAF has also learnt much from the past few years, and our analysis of the UK and coalition air contribution will inform our equipment procurement and, perhaps most importantly, the conceptual development of the Service: our tactics, command and control in the air environment, and how we prepare and develop our operators and our commanders, including me.


NATO’s Baltic Air Policing (BAP) mission has been securing the skies over the Baltic States and its north-eastern flank since April 2004, and the UK has played a key role alongside 16 other NATO allies in supporting the mission and its Baltic partners. Mike Bryant talks to Wing Commander Gordon Melville about the importance of this activity



ing Commander (Wg Cdr) Gordon Melville, commanding officer of the RAF’s 140 Expeditionary Air Wing, considers the importance of the BAP mission to NATO from the RAF’s point of view. “NATO has got to be unified and mutually supporting,” he says. “It has got to secure both its land borders and its airspace, and the Baltic mission plays a very important role in that. We need to investigate any unidentified airspace encroachments very quickly and to have that defensive posture in place.” The strength of the UK’s commitment to the mission is reflected in the fact that for three consecutive summers – between 2014 and 2016 – the RAF has deployed Typhoons and personnel to the mission, on the first occasion to Lithuania and then twice to Estonia. Looking back at those last two visits,

Wg Cdr Melville observes, “Estonia has provided fantastic support for us, as well as excellent facilities.” While some NATO allies deployed to Estonia as part of the mission have chosen to stay in hotels in the capital, Tallinn, the RAF opted to stay on the Amari Air Base. “That suits us best,” says Wg Cdr Melville. “We can still go into Tallinn for rest and recuperation.” While the spotlight has certainly focused more intently on the BAP mission in the light of growing tension between NATO and Russia in recent years, the inherent nature of the task – to investigate any non-compliant flights into Baltic State airspace through a rapid interceptor response – hasn’t changed since 2004, and Wg Cdr Melville doesn’t envisage it changing in the foreseeable future either. What is clear is the need for the NATO presence, and the frequency of its rapid response. During the RAF’s most recent four-month deployment

Royal Air Force Typhoons, pictured here at Amari Airfield in Estonia, have participated in the NATO Baltic Air Patrol mission since 2004 (PHOTO: G VAGULA)




to Amari in 2016, its Typhoons performed no fewer than 21 interceptions of 42 aircraft: Russian fighters, transports and surveillance aircraft. The RAF is not deploying this year as part of BAP (this summer it will instead deploy for another four months in support of protecting the airspace over Romania and Bulgaria). However, currently at Amari are five German Typhoons of the Wittmundbased Tactical Air Wing 71. This wing took over from another German formation in January this year, and will remain based at Amari until the end of April, as will the Royal Netherlands Air Force formation operating four F-16s from Lithuania’s Siauliai Air Base. The minimum NATO commitment to BAP is two pairs of aircraft, but Germany has a reserve aircraft at Amari. The missions typically last for four months. There is also a NATO air component of BAP at Malbork Air Base in Poland, a temporary third aspect to the mission established in the wake of Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.

THE LOCAL PERSPECTIVE Kolonel Jaak Tarien, Commander of the Estonian Air Force, agrees with Wg Cdr Melville that the BAP mission performs a crucial role. He sees its importance in two main regards – firstly, as a visible demonstration of the Alliance’s commitment to Estonia and, even more importantly, as a physical presence of NATO forces providing a deterrent to potentially hasty decisions being made in the Kremlin. While BAP is a defensive mission with a non-threatening posture, Kolonel Tarien notes it nevertheless makes clear that any infringement of the NATO Baltic States’ sovereignty would immediately



The UK is offering military assistance training to the Estonian Air Force in areas such as force protection Kolonel Jaak Tarien (right), head of the Estonian Air Force, stands in front of an RAF Typhoon fighter jet with Wg Cdr Gordon Melville (centre) and Marko Mihkelson, member of the Estonian Parliament (left) (PHOTO: G VAGULA)

involve NATO forces. And, with regard to the UK commitment, he recalls: “We enjoyed having the RAF here at Amari two years in a row, in 2015 and 2016. We developed very good relations with them.”

EXTENSIVE RELATIONSHIP Estonia’s relationship with the RAF goes even further. For instance, Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Chief Marshal Stephen Hillier’s first overseas visit as CAS was to Estonia in late 2016. Moreover, as part of the NATO Transatlantic Capability Enhancement and Training (TACET) initiative, which supports the implementation of the Assurance Measures of NATO’s Readiness Action Plan and which seeks to enhance capability development in the Baltic States and Poland, the UK is also offering military assistance training to the Estonian Air Force in areas such as force protection, command and control, and force integration. The Estonian Air Force comprises a little over 400 personnel, who operate Amari Air Base, the national radar network and provide command and control functions. As with Lithuania’s and Latvia’s air forces, it has no air combat assets; another reason why BAP is so important to the effective defence of the region.



AIR COMMODORE IAN DUGUID Typhoon Force Commander

“Typhoon is a remarkable combat aircraft. It has incredible performance, can fly high and fast and can carry a very broad range of weapons. It is, without doubt, world class,” says Air Commodore (Air Cdre) Ian Duguid, the Royal Air Force’s Typhoon Force Commander. This and the number of squadrons available for front-line duties makes it, in his opinion, “the backbone” of RAF combat air capability. The RAF currently has five squadrons of the combat-proven, multirole Typhoon fast jet. Each squadron is made up of 12 aircraft and about 150 personnel, including pilots and engineers. Three of the squadrons are based at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland and the other two in Lincolnshire at RAF Coningsby. In addition, four Typhoons are permanently based in the Falkland Islands as part of 1435 Flight, which is manned by pilots and engineers from across the Typhoon Force. There is also a conversion unit, 29(R) Squadron, used to train pilots in flying and operating the Typhoon. These numbers are to soon be boosted with the introduction of two more squadrons by the end of 2019, and preparations for them have already begun. “I am already taking more people into the


Air Commodore Ian Duguid explains why the Typhoon Force is the backbone of the Royal Air Force’s combat air capability

Typhoon Force to be able to raise the two extra squadrons,” Air Cdre Duguid reveals.

PROJECT CENTURION By the time the Typhoon’s air combat partner, the Tornado, is withdrawn from service in March 2019, Typhoon will have become an even more potent combat aircraft thanks to the Project Centurion weapon enhancement programme, which will transfer Tornado’s air-to-ground capability to Typhoon while additionally introducing a record-beating, long-range air-to-air missile: Meteor. “That will take the multirole capability another step forward, and the introduction of Storm Shadow and Brimstone 2 in the air-to-surface role and Meteor in the air-to-air role, together with some software upgrades, will ensure a seamless transition from Tornado to Typhoon,” says Air Cdre Duguid. The much-vaunted Meteor represents a game-changing capability. “One of the

“In terms of the aircraft’s growth development, Typhoon is only going to get even more capable”

overriding things about the missile is that it is very capable and can hit targets from a very long range. Therefore, we should be able to get the first shot off, which is all important in the air-to-air war,” explains Duguid. Storm Shadow and Brimstone 2 are equally significant – the former against bunkers and large reinforcedconcrete buildings, and the latter against moving vehicles and smaller targets. “The net result is that, by the time Project Centurion rolls out, we will be able to carry an air-to-air mixed load of long-range Meteor, medium-range AMRAAM and short-range ASRAAM,” says Air Cdre Duguid. “While we are doing that, we will also be able to carry a targeting pod and a mixture of air-to-surface missiles and bombs.” Due to their size, it may not be the case that Typhoons will carry Storm Shadow and Brimstone simultaneously, but, according to Air Cdre Duguid, “We are certainly looking at a mixture of Brimstone and Paveway IV”. However, that is not the end of the story. In a few years, Typhoon will be fitted with a brand new E-scan radar. As Air Cdre Duguid says, “In terms of the aircraft’s growth development, Typhoon is only going to get even more capable.”





Nick Cook asks Group Captain Hamish Cormack how the Royal Air Force’s upgraded Puma Mk2 is making a difference and saving lives


O The Puma Life Extension Programme has successfully transformed the Puma into a 21stcentury battlefield support helicopter, ahead of schedule and on budget (PHOTO: CORPORAL (CPL) CONNOR PAYNE/ © CROWN COPYRIGHT)


ne of the practical challenges associated with the extremely successful introduction of the upgraded RAF Puma Mk2, says Group Captain Hamish Cormack, the Station Commander of RAF Benson, where the helicopters are based, is that it looks pretty much like a Puma Mk1. However, thanks to the new capability it has received, it is effectively a brand new aircraft and is already proving itself as such on operations in Afghanistan. “The Puma Mk1 wasn’t a 21st-century helicopter, but now, thanks to the upgrade, it is,” explains Group Captain Cormack. The Puma is the RAF’s stalwart medium-lift helicopter, which has been in UK service since the early 1970s.


With 35% more power from its two new Makila 1A1 engines, additional fuel-carrying capacity and improved fuel efficiency, the new machine has almost twice the range and endurance of its predecessor. There are many other advantages conferred by the new capability. For example, the Puma Mk2 is rapidly deployable – two aircraft can fit into a single RAF C-17 transport and, upon landing, can be reassembled and flying on task in four hours, which is a major boon to rapid-reaction and disaster-relief operations. The new engines give significantly improved hot and high performance, vital for operations in mountainous countries such as Afghanistan, enabling the RAF to fly further and for longer. The Mk2, with its smaller physical footprint than fellow UK medium- and heavy-lift types (the Merlin


and Chinook), is also very well suited to the kinds of urban operations in which the RAF is increasingly called upon to perform, says Group Captain Cormack. Finally, he adds: “It may sound like a salesman’s pitch, but it’s true – the new helicopter, which is far cheaper to run than other support helicopters in the defence inventory, represents extremely good value for money.”

A COST-EFFECTIVE UPGRADE In 2008, the UK MOD was faced with the rapidly approaching out-of-service date of the RAF’s Puma fleet, at a time when budgets were constrained and the RAF was being called on to undertake increasingly high-tempo operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. With few alternatives to replacing the Puma Mk1 fleet cost-effectively, the decision was taken to fund an Airbus Helicopters proposal for a Puma upgrade that would cost markedly less than a new fleet and which could be delivered in less time. The Puma Life Extension Programme (LEP) was originally intended for 28 aircraft, but was subsequently reduced to 24, in great part because the Mk2’s new capabilities would allow the RAF to use fewer aircraft to perform the same number of missions. In addition to the new engines and reduced weight, these new capabilities include improved ballistic protection and defensive aids, secure communications, an advanced flight management system and a four-axis digital autopilot. The Puma Mk2 can carry 16 fully armed troops. The first deliveries were made in 2013, and all 23 aircraft are now in service. Initial Operational Capability was achieved in February 2015 and, three weeks later, ahead of schedule and to cost, the Puma Mk2s were deployed on Operation TORAL, the NATO training and support mission in Afghanistan also known as the Resolute Support Mission. “‘TORAL Saves Lives’ has been a very accurate and descriptive strapline for us,” says Group Captain Cormack, as it has reduced the need for personnel to travel on the

dangerous roads in and around Kabul and, specifically, has reduced the risk from IEDs and attacks. The LEP will see the Mk2 remain in RAF service until at least 2025, but consideration is being given to keeping the aircraft in service five or 10 years beyond this – “recognition of just how capable the Puma now is.” The Puma detachment that operates in and around Kabul comprises three aircraft, and personnel drawn from 33 and 230 Squadrons, both of which are based at Benson. In addition to its main role – the transport of personnel and equipment around the ‘Kabul Cluster’ – the detachment carries out medical transfer operations in what is a “very intense airspace”, and often in very poor weather. But it is in the summer, Group Captain Cormack remarks, that the upgrade really comes into its own.

The new machine has almost twice the range and endurance of its predecessor Beyond Afghanistan, the Mk2 is involved in support of hot and high training operations in the south-west United States, and one aircraft remains on constant standby to support contingency operations within the UK, which could, for example, include flood relief. RAF Benson also provides the joint Chinook and Puma Operational Conversion Unit, which trains all RAF support helicopter crews, and Joint Helicopter Force 3, a deployable headquarters for RAF helicopter missions around the world in support of disaster relief and non-combatant operations. Three Pumas are also earmarked for worldwide contingency operations in these vital areas.

Pumas are helping to save lives in Afghanistan as part of the British contribution to the NATO Resolute Support Mission (PHOTO: CORPORAL TONY ROGERS/ © CROWN COPYRIGHT)




Anne Paylor explains how Exercise Eastern Venture not only helped to strengthen existing ties with partners in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions, it also saw the RAF hosted for the first time by Japan and the Republic of Korea


I Typhoon aircraft participate in Exercise Bersama Lima 16, hosted by Malaysia on behalf of the Five Powers Defence Arrangements (PHOTO: SGT NEIL BRYDEN/ © CROWN COPYRIGHT)

n the autumn of 2016, the Royal Air Force undertook a major tour of the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions, demonstrating the United Kingdom’s strategic reach and wider interests, while underlining the importance of close ties with Asia. Exercise Eastern Venture, which ran from 29 September to 2 December 2016, involved the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team (the Red Arrows); Typhoon multirole fighter aircraft; Voyager tanker aircraft; and C-130J Hercules and C-17 Globemaster. As well as a comprehensive display schedule by the Red Arrows, Eastern Venture included three separate back-to-back exercises with the air forces of six Asia-Pacific nations. Two of these nations – Japan and the Republic of Korea – had never before conducted major air exercises with any foreign nation other than the United States. A total of eight RAF Typhoons from 1(F) Squadron and 2 (Army Cooperation) Squadron flew 20,000 miles to undertake these exercises, supported by RAF Voyager

tanker aircraft undertaking multiple air-to-air refuelling operations. Stopping in various countries en route, the Typhoons covered more than 7,600 miles in the region.

EXERCISE BERSAMA LIMA 16 The first element of Eastern Venture was Exercise Bersama Lima 16, an annual exercise conducted under the auspices of the Five Powers Defence Arrangements (FPDA), which include Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the UK. Hosted by Malaysia, Exercise Bersama Lima aimed to develop the integration of air, maritime and land forces of all five nations to promote interoperability, while at the same time exercising FPDA combined and joint doctrines at tactical and operational levels. It involved a Command Post Exercise (CPX) and a Field Training Exercise (FTX), including largescale training missions with all of the deployed air elements on a daily basis. The FPDA are the only multilateral defence arrangements of their kind that exist in South-East Asia, and 2016 marked the 45th anniversary of the group’s formation.

EXERCISE GUARDIAN NORTH Following the successful completion of Exercise Bersama Lima, 2 Squadron flew on to Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK). The four Typhoons, supported by a Voyager air-to-air refuelling tanker and a C-17 heavy-lift transport aircraft, made a 3,500-mile non-stop flight from Malaysia to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) Base at Misawa in the northern part of the island of Honshū. Exercise Guardian North 16 provided an opportunity for both the UK and Japanese air forces to learn from each other and develop their skills, and




Exercise Eastern Venture saw the first-ever combined air drill between the Royal Air Force and the Republic of Korea Air Force (PHOTO: © CROWN COPYRIGHT)

was aimed at enhancing interoperability to deepen the two countries’ partnership in security and defence. “We have not done any bilateral exercises in Japan with other nations except with the US,” remarked Chief of the JASDF General Yoshiyuki Sugiyama, “and ultimately we are so grateful for this opportunity to host one in Japan with the Royal Air Force, which is one of the most committed services to improving the global security environment.”









Karachi Muscat



JAPAN Shanghai

Guangzhou Zhuhai Hong Kong Haikou



INVINCIBLE SHIELD The Typhoons – together with C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft, Voyager tanker aircraft and around 200 RAF personnel – then deployed to the ROK’s Osan Air Base for the Invincible Shield drill: the firstever combined air drill with the US and the UK to be hosted by the ROK Air Force. It was also the first time that domestic air combat manoeuvres were hosted by the ROK with a foreign nation other than the US. The aims were to enhance interoperability among the air forces of the ROK, the US and the UK, and increase ROK-UK defence and security cooperation. The UK’s participation also served to emphasise its continued commitment to the maintenance of the international rules-based system as one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. The UK and the ROK continue to develop opportunities for cultural and economic exchanges, and Invincible Shield marked a milestone in their journey towards greater defence cooperation and a stronger partnership in the future.





Kuala Lumpur





Exercise BERSAMA LIMA (Malaysia)

30 September-2 December

4-21 October

Exercise GUARDIAN NORTH (Japan) 22 October-5 November

INVINCIBLE SHIELD (Republic of Korea) 5-14 November

Wing Commander Roger Elliott, then Officer Commanding of 2 Squadron, said of Exercise Eastern Venture, “By any measure, this was an astonishing deployment that involved all elements of the Service. Given the distance, the short duration and the number of nations involved, this was the most ambitious deployment by the Typhoon Force.” 21ST CENTURY PARTNERSHIPS AIR POWER 2017



GENERAL DATO’ SRI HJ AFFENDI BIN BUANG Chief of the Royal Malaysian Air Force Following the successful conclusion of Exercise Bersama Lima 16, in which the Royal Air Force (RAF) made such a significant contribution with Typhoon multi-role jets, the Chief of the Royal Malaysian Air Force reflects on the importance of the RAF’s continued influence in this part of the world

Decision-making is consensual, gradual and pragmatically orientated. Despite its initial setup to address traditional security issues for Malaysia and Singapore, the FPDA is now increasing its relevance by looking at non-traditional threats as well. As a part of this larger scope, the FPDA is also looking at the importance of confidence-building measures among the non-FPDA regional neighbours. Personally, I recognise the importance of this aspect and fully support the idea of non-FPDA regional neighbours being invited as observers to exchange ideas and share information on the planning and conduct of FPDA activities and exercises.

After more than 45 years, the Five Powers Defence Arrangements (FPDA) is currently among the longest-standing military partnership programmes in the world. Although not a formal alliance, the FPDA contributed greatly to thwarting communist ambitions in the region – and, in particular, from the communist terrorists in Malaysia – during the Cold War era, and has been a stabilising influence in more recent times. I sincerely believe that the FPDA will continue to be relevant as a part of the regional security architecture in SouthEast Asia. From its humble beginnings 45 years ago, the FPDA has grown to be recognised as a complementary security architecture as it also operates on principles that are very familiar to ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) members.

Within the current context, the FPDA has the potential in future to evolve into an institution that is capable of influencing constructively the regional security architecture and defence cooperation in South-East Asia. Indeed, in the complex and uncertain security environment of the region, the flexibility and adaptability that the FPDA has consistently demonstrated thus far gives a clear indication of its strong resolve. I envision that the FPDA will continue in the future to play a pivotal role in the regional security and stability of South-East Asia following the principles that were formulated at its inception in 1971. The UK was not just an important driver in the establishment of the FPDA, but was also instrumental in safeguarding Malaysia’s interests during our formative years. The UK has provided the necessary


The Five Powers Defence Arrangements will continue to be relevant as a part of the regional security architecture 56


concepts that have built confidence, developed professional military skills and contributed to developing militaryto-military relations among the FPDA members. FPDA members were able to tap the experience and draw on the expertise of the UK, as well as from each other, to prove their operational capabilities. The UK remains an important partner member of the FPDA with the capabilities it can provide and being one of the recognised global major powers, as well as having a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council. But more important is the question of what significance the FPDA entails for the UK. As South-East Asia is now becoming the world economic engine, it is important for the UK to remain actively engaged within this region. Being a member of the FPDA gives the UK a legitimate reason for positive engagement, thus enabling a stake in ensuring the continued stability and prosperity within South-East Asia. Therefore, in my opinion, the UK-FPDA relationship is truly a symbiotic one, as positive engagements by one part strengthen the other, and vice versa.


Eastern Hawk saw the Red Arrows stage their biggest overseas tour in a decade. Anne Paylor shares some of the highlights


T The iconic Petronas Towers form the backdrop of a Red Arrows fly-past in Malaysia (PHOTO: CPL STEVE BUCKLEY/© CROWN COPYRIGHT)

he biggest Red Arrows overseas tour in a decade was a pivotal part of Exercise Eastern Venture, a tour aimed at reinforcing the United Kingdom’s credentials as an engaged global power, as well as supporting UK interests across business, trade and education and promoting the best of British innovation, technology and creativity. The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team (Red Arrows) tour – Exercise Eastern Hawk – began in late September 2016. It saw the team performing a total

of 18 displays and three fly-pasts in 63 days across 17 countries, including nine full displays over six days at China’s 11th Zhuhai Air Show. It was the first time in the squadron’s 52-season history that it had visited China, and also the first time an RAF fastjet had touched down in the People’s Republic. Twelve Hawk T1 jets were flown from the Red Arrows’ home base at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire to China and back, requiring 42 refuelling stops and a well-planned logistical operation for both the aircraft and the 100-strong support team. 21ST CENTURY PARTNERSHIPS AIR POWER 2017



As well as appearing at Airshow China, the Red Arrows performed fly-pasts or displays in Bangladesh, Bahrain, India, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. Among the high-profile moments were fly-pasts over the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands, both on the same day. Engagements and performances across the whole Eastern Hawk tour are estimated to have been watched by as many as one billion people, either live or through media channels.

Aviation history was made when the Red Arrows performed a public display in China for the first time (PHOTO: © CROWN COPYRIGHT)

DOING BUSINESS In China, the Red Arrows’ visit paid dividends in promoting the UK’s aerospace expertise to target businesses, providing a platform for a number of major aerospace deals while strengthening public perceptions of the UK as an innovative and open partner. Air China finalised a civil-engines partnership with Rolls-Royce worth £1 billion, and China Eastern signed a £1.5 billion order for Trent 700 engines to power 15 of its Airbus 330 passenger airliners. In addition, China Southern also ordered Trent 700 engines to power 10 of its Airbus 330 airliners in a deal worth £700 million. During the stay at Zhuhai, the team had the opportunity to meet their Chinese counterparts – the



Team members give an interview during one of many stopovers (PHOTO: © CROWN COPYRIGHT)


A Hawk T1 jet of the Red Arrows, pictured in transit over the desert (PHOTO: © CROWN COPYRIGHT)

Ba Yi (August 1st) aerobatic demonstration team – and exchange knowledge of display flying and training. Just days later, during a visit to the Air Force Academy at Dundigal near Hyderabad, the Red Arrows flew members of the Indian display team, Surya Kiran, which also uses the Hawk fast-jet. Indian pilots flew in the back seats of the Red Arrows’ aircraft as passengers during a practice display at the airfield. The Red Arrows have now visited more than a quarter of the world, having performed in 57 countries since their first season in 1965. Secretary of State for

The Red Arrows made their Zhuhai Air Show debut, helping to promote exports and spread the word about UK technology (PHOTO: SAC ADAM FLETCHER/ © CROWN COPYRIGHT)

Defence Sir Michael Fallon commented: “This historic Red Arrows tour has highlighted Britain’s ability to project ‘soft power’ across the world. The RAF has flown the flag across Asia and the Middle East and shown how Britain is stepping up internationally. Along with our RAF Typhoons flying side by side with international partners, this tour has underlined not only Britain’s defensive strength, but also our export potential.” At the end of the 20,000-mile tour, Wing Commander Martin Higgins, Officer Commanding of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, said, “In addition to performing aerobatic displays at Zhuhai, members of the team visited mega cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou to carry out ground engagements. The events focused on the importance of science, technology, engineering and maths and saw the Red Arrows deliver talks, meet with students and deliver presentations to business leaders – many from the aerospace and engineering sectors. Aviation is a truly global language and it is our hope that we will have inspired the next generation of engineers, scientists and aviators through this high-profile deployment.” 21ST CENTURY PARTNERSHIPS AIR POWER 2017



Air Marshal Julian Young tells Simon Michell how Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) works with its partners to ensure that the Royal Air Force has the equipment it needs for the future




hen Air Marshal (AM) Julian Young was appointed Chief of Materiel (Air) at Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) in April 2016, he became the focal point for equipping the armed forces with fixed-wing aircraft and their subsequent through-life support. His primary customer is the Royal Air Force, but he also helps to address British Army, Joint Forces Command (JFC) and Royal Navy fixed-wing requirements. Prior to his current appointment, AM Young spent 15 months as DE&S’s Director Helicopters; before

then he was the organisation’s Technical Director for a period of two years. This relatively long tenure in the organisation means that he has witnessed at first hand the transformation of DE&S that has resulted from the radical reforms that Lord Levene proposed back in 2011. The Levene reforms, among other things, transferred responsibility for setting and paying for equipment requirements from the Whitehall offices in the Ministry of Defence (MOD) Main Building to the Front-Line Commands. AM Young is in a perfect position to comment on the Levene reforms

Project Centurion will enable the Typhoon (top) to seamlessly replace the Tornado (bottom) when it is withdrawn in March 2019 after 37 years in service (PHOTO: © CROWN COPYRIGHT)




and the extent to which they have changed the relationship between the individual Armed Services and the MOD. “These reforms, that rusticated the requirements staff out to the front-line commands, have happened and are working,” he confirms. However, it has been a challenging process. Moving from a single, centrally focused staff to multiple staffs means that there are numerous people in his customer base who have been given responsibilities that would not have been devolved to them in the past. Consequently, they have needed DE&S support, and so, as AM Young explains: “I have focused on helping Air Command enhance the ‘transactional relationship’ between us as customer and supplier, and yet, at the same time, remain all of one cloth with shared capability values.” The same can be said of his other customers in the Royal Navy and Army.

GLOBAL PARTNERSHIPS Relationships are absolutely key. They span many strata and organisation types. Beyond the armed services, DE&S is required to form partnerships with a variety of domestic and international industry sectors, as well as

The F-35B Lightning will achieve its Initial Operational Capability status on land operations in December 2018 62


The RAF’s first P-8A Poseidon is due to roll off the Boeing production line on 27 March 2019 (PHOTO: © THE BOEING COMPANY)

with foreign government offices and ministries. The best way to highlight how these partnerships vary and the extent to which they are enjoying success is to examine the procurement projects that the service requirements have realised most recently. It is sometimes overlooked that much of the cost of a procurement programme relates not solely to the acquisition, but is weighed more heavily on its through-life support. Suppressing such costs will go a long way towards balancing future defence budgets. This explains why DE&S and AM Young are very pleased with the TyTAN (Typhoon Total Availability eNterprise) contract that covers the 10-year maintenance requirements of the Typhoon multirole fast jet.

TYPHOON AND F-35B LIGHTNING The RAF has been pioneering contracting for availability since 2003. Under this type of arrangement, the MOD has migrated from buying spares from industry to effectively buying flying hours – contracting for availability and capability. Until recently, the 2005 Tornado ATTAC (Availability Transformation Tornado Aircraft Contract), which took out 43% of the support costs, was the high point. Now, the TyTAN contract has, in AM Young’s estimation, taken that to a new watershed – but it has been a hard slog. “The contract was let on 30 July 2016. Prior to that, BAE Systems, along with the other contractors and ourselves, worked for the best part of three years to get to that point,” he explains. As well as ensuring that Typhoon is maintained efficiently, DE&S is also supervising a weapons upgrade known as Project Centurion. Here, the added complication is the partnership complexity derived from Typhoon being a four-nation programme with Germany, Italy and Spain.


PERFECT INTEGRATION – A MARRIAGE OF EQUALS The Typhoon’s EJ200 power plant continues to evolve through a close triangular partnership between the engine manufacturer, the customer and the air framer. Clemens Linden, CEO of EUROJET TURBO GmbH, explains “We do not see ourselves as a mere supplier; we are a systems house in search of the perfect marriage.” This is the ambitious objective of Eurojet’s Chief Executive Officer, Clemens Linden. He continues, “The perfect marriage means that the product, in this case, the EJ200 turbofan engine, integrates perfectly into the platform – the Eurofighter Typhoon.” Equally as important is achieving a perfect marriage in terms of the relationship with his customers who operate the Typhoon – the most demanding of whom is, in his opinion, the Royal Air Force (RAF). However, he emphasises, having a demanding partner is a positive influence for driving change and, according to Eurojet’s leader, the company prefers it that way. “The RAF is demanding, but they are key for us. The RAF fleet flies the Typhoon the most and they are the front runner when it comes to defining what the future looks like and what they will need to operate successfully in that environment.” This close relationship helps to keep the momentum of a continual evolution of engine enhancement and growth. A prime example of this is Eurojet’s collaboration with the RAF and BAE Systems while they undertook the extremely complex Project Centurion weapons upgrade. This

The Royal Air Force is Clemens Linden’s most demanding partner

symbiotic relationship benefits everyone as Linden recognises that Eurojet has to keep improving what it offers its current engine users, not just to keep them happy, but also in order to attract future customers, such as the most recent member to join the Typhoon family – Kuwait. Project Centurion was particularly significant as the integration of more weapons on to an aircraft generates the question of thrust reserves and whether an enhancement would be required – in other words the need for increased engine thrust. This is becoming ever more important as Eurojet sees demand increasing in the future for the Typhoon to carry more load or receiving heavier equipment. Therefore, the company has

prepared itself to grow the engine for the integration, both for the Typhoon and for next-generation fighters/weapon systems. The company is working on improving the aerodynamics and strength of both the compressor and turbine blades, just as an example. This certainly helps the company promote the EJ200 for other platforms beyond Typhoon. For some time now, Linden has been focusing on activities and offering the EJ200 as an engine option for the fifth-generation fighters being indigenously developed in Turkey and India – TFX and AMCA. As part of these campaigns, he highlights the engine’s ability to grow the thrust by at least 25% in the future with the possibility to take an additional step to yet another level. In addition to enhanced capabilities, Linden and his engineers are constantly looking for new ways to reduce the through-life cost of engine ownership. And, just as others have realised the utility of big data, so has Eurojet. “We have started to look at what else we can do with the data we gather at the International Weapon Systems Support Centre in order to bring engine health monitoring and the relevant analyses to the next level. Better data analysis using big data will help us predict future problems and overcome them before they materialise,” Linden concludes.

The EJ200 is on a continual growth path with at least an additional 25% of power in the offing



Even though Project Centurion relates to an RAF plan to integrate the Meteor air-to-air missile, the Storm Shadow cruise missile and the Brimstone II highprecision, low collateral missile on to UK Typhoons before the Tornado is retired in March 2019, AM Young still needs to work through the NETMA (NATO Eurofighter and Typhoon Management Agency) office that acts as a single point of contact for all things Eurofighter/Typhoon. This is particularly critical as some of the other partners have expressed an interest in integrating at least some of the same missiles on to their Eurofighters in the future. As AM Young points out, “It is highly complicated – a ‘wicked problem’. It is all about clearance and certification of the new weapons. The Typhoon is a flying computer and there are millions of lines of code that need to be modified.” So far, against multiple challenges, the project is on track to deliver and Project Centurion should be finished in December 2018, ready for a January 2019 roll-out. December 2018 is also the date that the UK’s next multirole fighter, the F-35B Lightning, will achieve its Initial Operational Capability status on land-based operations. The RAF will form its first squadron (617 Squadron) in the United States in early 2018, before bringing it to the United Kingdom that summer. This again is a challenging programme as DE&S is working through the US Joint Programme Office as one of nine international partners, together with three FMS (foreign military sales) customers, so there is continual need for negotiating each other’s requirements.

P-8A POSEIDON AND PROTECTOR Since the 2016 announcement that the UK will be purchasing nine P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to replace the Nimrod, AM Young has been working closely with another critical partner, the US Navy (USN). In the next round of contract negotiations,



During a visit to Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth facility, Air Marshal Julian Young stands in front of a US Marine Corps F-35B Lightning (PHOTO: © LOCKHEED MARTIN CORPORATION)

The UK has partfunded the first military RPAS to be able to fly in unsegregated airspace to replace the existing Reaper (PHOTO: CORPORAL STEVE FOLLOWS/ © CROWN COPYRIGHT)

the USN is buying 37 P-8As, the RAF nine and the Norwegians three. This ad hoc partnership is using their economy of scale to get the best possible price from Boeing. “The USN is doing the deal with Boeing, but I have been supporting those negotiations to get as good a price as we can,” says AM Young. Replacing the RAF’s Reaper Remotely Piloted Air Systems has entailed another close relationship with General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI), the manufacturer of the Certifiable Predator B, known in UK parlance as Protector. As lead customer for Protector, the UK has pooled financial resources with the company to develop what AM Young considers not only to be a great aircraft, but one that will, in his words, “take the world by storm”. He is immensely proud of this project, saying, “Together we have created something that other nations will want as well.” This is good news for the RAF, as additional customers will lead to more affordable throughlife support, better interoperability and collective funding for future upgrades – just what DE&S hopes it can deliver to all its customers.


David Hayhurst asks Air Commodore Ian Gale about the versatility of the new Boeing P-8A Poseidon, which will mark a major shift in the Royal Air Force’s maritime capability when it enters service in 2020


M The P-8A Poseidon will transform the UK’s maritime patrol capabilities, delivering advanced technology and weapon systems (PHOTO: © THE BOEING COMPANY)

uch of RAF Lossiemouth’s massive revamp over the next few years will revolve around the arrival of the first Boeing P-8A Poseidons in early 2020. The Moray airfield’s transformation will soon include new hangars, expanded runways, new operational support and training facilities, as well as hundreds of additional personnel in support of the world’s most technically advanced and most multifaceted maritime patrol aircraft (MPA). The pressing need to meet the replacement demand for a fixed-wing, long-range MPA in the wake of Nimrod’s retirement will be answered – and more

– by Poseidon’s remarkable multi-mission versatility. The P-8A can conduct anti-submarine and anti-surface ship warfare; undertake shipping interdiction and search and rescue operations; and engage in highly advanced ELINT (electronic intelligence) surveillance. Modified from the Boeing 737-800 ERX, the P-8A can reach heights of 41,000 feet while flying at up to 490 knots, or cruise as low as 200 feet. It can also travel up to 4,500 nautical miles from base without refuelling, and can carry nearly a third more sonobuoys than any other MPA currently in service – capabilities that may prove vital in support of UK carrier operations when the new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers enter service 21ST CENTURY PARTNERSHIPS AIR POWER 2017



also cutting-edge. “What you try to do is create a calm, quiet, easy environment to do the work of listening, watching and communicating,” says Air Cdre Gale. “The aircraft is an excellent platform that has a magnificent reliability and serviceability rate, both as the Boeing 737 and in the US Navy as the P-8A. Also, the mission kit is significantly ahead of what is being used presently for MPA tasks. It has a wide-ranging set of sensors, including a very advanced surface-scanning radar able to detect very small objects on the surface at very long range.” Air Cdre Gale also considers the P-8’s synthetic aperture radar and MX-20 electrooptic sensor the best available on the market today. All of these features, when matched with Poseidon’s ability to deploy an unrivalled amount of both active and passive sonobuoys, along with the computing power to monitor large numbers of them simultaneously, make it an incredibly potent detection system. Enormous computing power and ergonomic workstations offer surveillance experts unparalleled capabilities (PHOTOS: US NAVY MASS COMMUNICATION SPECIALIST 3RD CLASS JASON KOFONOW)

later this decade. “The P-8 provides height, speed and reach,” says Wing Commander Rich Berry, a maritime surveillance and security expert. “It provides the height to do anti-submarine warfare in potentially new ways through new technologies, and it provides us with the speed to get to faraway places where we might be called upon to do any type of maritime operation. It’s a step forward, not just from the capability gap we’ve had over the past 10 years, but prior to that as well.” Air Commodore (Air Cdre) Ian Gale, Assistant Chief of Staff for Command and Control, Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C2ISR), and SRO (Senior Responsible Owner) for the P-8A Poseidon programme, has a very clear vision of what will be needed from the platform. “I want it to be flexible in its response option capacities and I want it to be lethal, because it will need to complete the kill chain where necessary.”

RANGE OF WEAPON SYSTEMS Regarding the latter, the P-8A can be equipped with a remarkable range of weaponry, from torpedoes, mines, depth charges and sonobuoys in its weapons bay to airto-surface and air-to-air missiles installed on underwing hardpoints. The on-board ELINT and other technology is



FUTURE INTEGRATION Other intelligence-gathering opportunities, such as integrating with Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS), await future decisions. The Poseidon was designed to operate in conjunction with the MQ-4C Triton RPAS, with both the American and Australian navies currently testing and developing their own Tritonbased tactics. However, the UK has no current plans to procure Triton, opting instead for the Protector RPAS which is due to replace the Reaper RPAS. If there does turn out to be a maritime role for Protector, it will be integrated with the P-8, “but it’s too early to put any detail on that just yet,” says Air Cdre Gale.

“The aircraft is an excellent platform that has a magnificent reliability and serviceability rate” As a recent Station Commander at RAF Lossiemouth, Air Cdre Gale feels its turnaround in fortunes has been quite remarkable, with his successor now also focusing on the upcoming arrival of additional Typhoons as well as the first P-8As. And while attention is naturally now concentrated on bringing the P-8A to Lossiemouth to perform its primary functions, he notes that, as the RAF transitions to become a next-generation air force, “all our capabilities and platforms need to be interoperable and work together for joint effect. The P-8, the F-35 and the Typhoon will all share a network, will all share tasking and will all be interoperable.”



VICE ADMIRAL PAUL A GROSKLAGS Commander Naval Air Systems Command Simon Michell asks the Commander of the United States Naval Air Systems Command, Vice Admiral Paul A Grosklags, about the enhanced capabilities that the P-8A Poseidon offers the United States Navy and the impact the RAF is having on the programme “The P-8A provides more combat capability and requires a smaller force with less infrastructure to operate than the P-3C Orion. It also delivers an extended global reach, greater payload capacity, higher operating altitude, open systems architecture and significant growth potential,” says Vice Admiral Paul A Grosklags, Commander of the United States Navy (USN) Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR). According to the Vice Admiral, the P-8A Poseidon sustains and improves the armed maritime and littoral intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities for United States Naval forces in traditional, joint and combined roles to counter changing and emerging threats. Moreover, it is equipped to complement unmanned assets, and may be integrated – while also providing fleet operators with the added benefit of interfacing – with unmanned aircraft systems when performing certain operations and missions.

ADDITIONAL CAPABILITY During 2016, the Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Aircraft Program Office (PMA-290) remained focused on P-8A aircraft production, deliveries and site

stand-up in support of fleet transition. That said, the current programme focus also includes procurement of depot and intermediate-level maintenance capabilities, full-scale fatigue testing, and continued integration and fleet delivery of preplanned incremental capability upgrades. Vice Admiral Grosklags elaborates: “The first upgrade under P-8A Increment 2 (Inc 2) added a broad-area, multistatic acoustic anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability to the aircraft. This capability, referred to as Multi-Static Active Coherent (MAC), significantly increases the P-8A’s ASW search rate in littoral environments. MAC completed Follow-on Test and Evaluation in April 2015 and has been delivered to the fleet.” Furthermore, the capability is scheduled to receive periodic future enhancements in order to keep pace with the ASW threat. The Vice Admiral also revealed that the USN is on track to field additional Inc 2 MAC and High Altitude ASW Sensor capability this year, followed by a High Altitude ASW Weapon capability as part of the P-8A’s ongoing incremental upgrade strategy.

THE P-8 PARTNERSHIP The P-8A is designed (and has proven to be) interoperable with the maritime air and surface units of allied and friendly nations. The aircraft incorporates the most current common voice and tactical data communications links such as Link-16 and Common Data Link (CDL) to achieve operational connectivity among coalition forces. Additionally, it retains the legacy Link 11 tactical data link specifically for use with allied and friendly forces that are still in the process of transitioning to Link 16 and CDL. In terms of the combat systems, Vice Admiral Grosklags explains, “The P-8A’s

Vice Admiral Paul A Grosklags says the RAF is making a significant impact on the overall P-8 programme

primary maritime anti-ship weapon, the AGM-84 Harpoon missile, is used by many nations. The P-8A’s sonobuoys, used for submarine detection and tracking, are also used by many allied maritime patrol aircraft. And, in terms of maintenance, the P-8A also leverages common commercial interfaces for aircraft servicing and support.” When asked about the contribution that the United Kingdom is making to the programme, Vice Admiral Grosklags replies, “The Royal Air Force is making a significant impact on the overall P-8 programme. In the short term, the UK procurement helped achieve significant production economies of scale for both itself and other countries. In the longer term, the UK decision to procure and field the P-8A capability maximises interoperability via commonality, and cements a continued long-term relationship in maritime surveillance between the US and UK, both in acquisition and operations.”




The Commander of the US Navy’s Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, Rear Admiral Kyle Cozad, outlines the US Navy Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force Vision 2025 and shows how the Royal Air Force’s P-8A aircraft will enhance US-UK interoperability





he United States Navy (USN) adopted the Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority (hereafter Design) document in response to an ever-evolving strategic environment. The Design does not represent a change in USN strategy, which has remained relatively unchanged since the days of Mahan and Nelson. Rather, it serves as a guide that will refocus the USN’s efforts to address the re-emergence of great power competition. By making smart choices that optimise the return on existing resources, we can focus on the most dangerous threat. In short, as a navy, we must decide how and where to concentrate our energy and resources, what we intend to achieve and how best to maintain maritime superiority. This will not be accomplished by simply “buying new stuff”. The capacity of any single nation to meet all the threats, all the time, is limited. Therefore, the smart way forward is to leverage and, more specifically, optimise partner capabilities

to increase everyone’s capacity, giving truth to the age-old adage, “strength in numbers”. By actively pursuing increased interoperability with our strongest and most steadfast allies, we can realise the mutual benefit of a navy comprised not only of US ships and aircraft, but a navy multiplied many times over by the addition of allied partners. With the United Kingdom’s decision to reinvigorate the RAF’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) fleet with the recently approved procurement of nine P-8A Poseidon multi-mission aircraft, the UK joins the US Navy, Australia, Norway and potentially others in fielding the most modern maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft (MPRA) in the world today. As with the USN, the revitalisation of the RAF’s organic MPA capability is not accidental, but the result of a well-formulated strategy to modernise the force to cope with a formidable and growing submarine threat. As history has shown (and both the US and UK are aware), anti-submarine warfare (ASW) is a skill set that is difficult to acquire and also

The US Navy is pursuing increased interoperability with its strongest allies, which include the Royal Air Force (PHOTO: US NAVY MASS COMMUNICATION SPECIALIST 3RD CLASS JASON KOFONOW)




very perishable if not exercised. With keen foresight, the UK recognised this fact and established a nonreciprocal personnel exchange programme with the US Navy, whereby experienced aircrew were assigned to our MPRA test-and-training squadrons to ensure that their ASW skills remained sharp.

VALUABLE EXPERIENCE These 20-plus RAF Project Seedcorn personnel have been instrumental in testing the new USN P-8A Poseidon multi-mission aircraft and training US crews to fly it. Bringing years of experience flying a large, swept-wing jet aircraft, these airmen were uniquely qualified to help the US Navy transition from a 50-or-more-year-old turbo-prop in the case of the P-3C Orion to the state-of-the-art P-8A Poseidon. We have benefitted from the RAF’s contribution to our fleet-replacement squadron (FRS), both as instructors to our new and returning aviators and as experienced ASW, anti-surface warfare (ASUW) and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operators who bring a complementary perspective to our MPRA fleet personnel. The RAF’s ASW experience and perspective on interoperability helps ensure the USN recaptures the expertise in a maritime environment that eroded during the previous two decades where operational demand drove operations overland, providing ISR products to land component commanders. From our point of view, this relatively small initiative has paid enormous dividends to both the RAF and the USN that



will prove to be invaluable as we operate together in the future. I have no doubt that we were better prepared to introduce and employ this awesome platform as a result of the efforts and assistance of our UK brothers in arms. It is now time for the UK to reap the benefits of its very successful Seedcorn programme as it awaits the arrival of the first UK P-8A in 2019. The core competencies that fleet commanders expect and demand from our Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force (MPRF) are ASW, ASUW and ISR:

RAF crew track a submarine during Fleet Challenge 2014, an annual anti-submarine warfare competition (PHOTO: US NAVY MASS COMMUNICATION SPECIALIST 3RD CLASS JASON KOFONOW)

Anti-submarine warfare is a skill set that is difficult to acquire and very perishable if not exercised –– ASW provider. The Maritime Patrol Community (VP squadrons) will retire its last P-3C in the October 2019 timeframe, when the P-8A platform will shoulder the full burden of providing airborne maritime warfighting capability to the combatant commanders in forward theatres. The P-8A Poseidon brings increased processing capacity and capability to the table, including improved multi-static active coherent (MAC) sensors and improved passive acoustics, more robust electro-optics and electronic support hardware, and high-


A P-8A Poseidon flies over USS Zumwalt as the ship travels to its new home port of San Diego, California (PHOTO: US NAVY ERIK HILDEBRANDT)

altitude ASW capability and weapons delivery. –– Maritime ASUW provider. With long-range, long-endurance and large-payload capacity, the P-8A Poseidon will give combatant commanders a credible ASUW capability that is tactically agile, can self-designate targets at range, can reposition quickly and do so nearly anywhere in the maritime environment. –– Maritime ISR provider. The Navy’s first MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System squadron, VUP-19, is up and running in Jacksonville, Florida. The Triton will bring a persistent maritime ISR capability unmatched anywhere in the world. Flying at altitude with incredible endurance, the Triton completes our MPRF Family of Systems concept of operations by augmenting and extending the eyes and ears of the P-8A. The Triton’s persistent “long-stare” capability will enhance the operational picture of the battlespace for the afloat commander and allow the manned P-8A to prosecute targets more accurately and meet other priority tasking. VUP-19, or Big Red, will receive its first baseline Triton during its detachment at NAS Ventura County, California in summer 2017, and VUP-19 crews and maintainers have already begun fly-as-you-fight training alongside VX-1 testers at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. –– Command and control provider. Perhaps nowhere else in the realm of joint and combined maritime operations is the value

of interoperability at the platform and unit level more critical than in MPRF interfaces. The Tactical Operations Centre (TOC) and Mobile TOC (M-TOC) will support both P-8A and allied MPA platforms when global interests of bilateral and multilateral commitments press for joint operations. With six brick-and-mortar TOCs and 12 fully manned M-TOCs, we can cover all our training, homeland defence, and “hub-and-twospokes” deployed operations. Our M-TOCs will also be outfitted with the capability to dispatch self-contained media fly-away kits (FAKs) in support of short duration P-8A detachments. On a personal front, it has been an honour to lead the US Navy Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance community during a critical time in which we’ve invested in furthering our relationships with key MPRA partners around the globe. I remain confident that we will succeed in our efforts for greater interoperability – in line with the USN’s Chief of Naval Operations’ intent as expressed in a Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority. The MPRA community is at the forefront of “A Naval Force that produces leaders and teams who learn and adapt to achieve maximum possible performance, and who achieve and maintain high standards to be ready for decisive operations and combat.” One way we will achieve this combat effectiveness is through strong partnerships, enabled by greater interoperability with our closest allies, including the UK’s RAF. 21ST CENTURY PARTNERSHIPS AIR POWER 2017



Simon Michell underlines the reasons why the United Kingdom has selected the P-8A Poseidon and looks ahead to when the Royal Air Force can expect the first aircraft to roll off the production line




n the absence of a sovereign fixed-wing maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) capability, the UK has been relying on a mixture of maritime assets – ships and helicopters – as well as MPA support from partner nations, including Canada, France, Germany and the US, to keep an eye on its coastal waters. These NATO allies have deployed MPA to RAF Lossiemouth to help ensure that British waters are free from unwelcome intruders and that our legal responsibility under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention to undertake maritime search and rescue is maintained far out to sea. With the expected arrival of the nine Boeing P-8A Poseidon aircraft at RAF Lossiemouth at the end of the decade, the UK will once again become a powerhouse in the fixed-wing MPA world. Poseidon was selected for a number of reasons, most prominently because it ticked all of the boxes that the RAF required, including price, cost and speed of ownership and operational capability. There were other potential contenders, some of which may have required less investment, but none that was able to meet the full list of capabilities that the RAF needed. Over recent years, RAF teams considered options including turboprops (such as an

MPA variant of the C-130 Hercules and the Airbus C295), as well as the Japanese jet-powered Kawasaki P-1. A major contributory factor to the P-8A’s eventual selection was the fact that it is manufactured from the outset as a thoroughbred MPA, meaning there is no need to undertake time-consuming and costly modifications of a basic Boeing 737-800 (such as filling in window spaces and reconfiguring the cabin). Furthermore, the decision to take Poseidon in the same configuration as the US Navy, with the same surveillance and weapon systems, rather than asking for a ‘British’ version of the aircraft, also helps to speed up the delivery process and reduce costs. The RAF could have chosen to buy a bespoke version much like the Indian Navy P-8I, which has a raft of specific ‘fixtures and fittings’, but that would have raised the price and taken longer to deliver. There are, of course, additional training and tactical benefits to Anglo-American cooperation stemming from the fact that both the RAF and US Navy will operate identical types. Once in service, the RAF will operate two front-line squadrons from RAF Lossiemouth with an establishment of two crews per airframe. Each

A major contributory factor to the P-8A’s eventual selection was the fact that it is manufactured from the outset as a thoroughbred MPA 72



squadron will consist of a mixed team from the RAF and Royal Navy. Each crew will comprise eight personnel, including two pilots, two tactical coordinators and four acoustic and electronic system operators. Training has already begun, as UK crews have been operating on board US Navy P-8As since 2012. Other UK maritime patrol specialists have also been embedded with the P-8A’s forerunner, the P-3 Orion, in Australia, Canada and New Zealand to keep their skills current. Search and rescue training is due to be delivered in the UK from around 2021.

A TRAINING HUB Just as initial UK F-35B Lightning crews are being raised in the US, so will the P-8 crews. However, once they have transferred to the UK, the training will be provided locally. In a further effort to maximise tactical realism while constraining costs, a large amount of this training will be delivered synthetically via desktop computers and simulators. In fact, the UK expects to become a hub for fixed-wing MPA training,

and the RAF is working with the DE&S (Defence Equipment and Support) to get everything in place. The UK is also hoping to become a major support partner for the P-8 in much the same way as it has been selected to support the F-35. The signs for this are positive. Norway, which is due to acquire five P-8As, recently signed an agreement with the UK to work more closely on their respective MPA capabilities to bring down costs and increase operational effectiveness. Air Marshal Julian Young, the man in charge of the P-8 acquisition programme at DE&S, recently visited the Boeing 737 production line in Seattle, where he pressed the programme manager for a delivery date. He made a bet with him as to when the first UK P-8A will be complete and when he can come and take delivery. “We had a wager; £10 from me, $10 from him. The deal is I pay if the company is on time and they pay me if the aircraft is late. We signed a piece of paper saying our aircraft will fly between 10 o’clock and one o’clock on 27 March 2019. I said I would be there in person, and hoped to hand over the £10 note.”

The Boeing P-8A Poseidon will deliver the most advanced MPA capability available quickly and at an extremely competitive cost (PHOTO: NIALL FERGUSON/ALAMY)







Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) is the vital element that can determine whether or not combat forces are required. In some cases, it may even make combat unnecessary. Mike Gething asks Air Commodore Dean Andrew to explain


T The RAF’s Sentinel R1 provides critical intelligence and target tracking information (PHOTO: SERGEANT MIKE JONES/ © CROWN COPYRIGHT)

he capability to gather the required intelligence is what concerns the RAF’s ISTAR Force Commander, Air Commodore (Air Cdre) Dean Andrew, rather than the actual aircraft that carry the various sensors used. “Don’t look at a 1950s aeroplane and say ‘that’s old’ – the capability that is carried inside it is state-of-the-art,” he says. He is referring to the RC-135W Rivet Joint ‘Airseeker’, the RAF’s latest electronic intelligence (ELINT) and communications intelligence (COMINT) gathering platform.

In addition to the RC-135W, the RAF has several other aircraft configured to provide different, but complementary, elements of the ISTAR collect: –– the E-3D Sentry AEW1, with its AN/APY2 radar system, provides surveillance from the earth’s surface up into the stratosphere, over land or water; –– the Sentinel R1 has the Airborne Stand-off Radar (ASTOR) system with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) dualmode surveillance radar, which combines 21ST CENTURY PARTNERSHIPS AIR POWER 2017



ground moving target indication (GMTI) and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery for situational awareness; –– the Shadow R1 offers electro-optic/ infrared (EO/IR) imagery; and –– the MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted air system (RPAS) equipped with the AN/AAS-52 MultiSpectral Targeting System, which is an EO/ IR turret with an infrared sensor, colour/ monochrome daylight TV camera, imageintensified TV camera, laser rangefinder/ designator and laser illuminator. These various sensors enable a layered approach using different parts of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum to exploit and disseminate the analysis of the imagery taken or the signals recorded. “It’s not used as stand-alone intel,” Air Cdre Andrew explains. “it’s used by merging our collect into the other collects – the more strategic ‘Big Data’ collect – using intelligence drawn from the media and people walking on the street, to create one enormous intelligence.” This is done at RAF Wyton in the Pathfinder building, where “we synergise and fuse all RAFderived information together and we match it up with other intelligence information that is out there”, including open-source news. Air Cdre Andrew describes it as “a Fusion Hub... Elements



By the end of 2017, the RAF will have taken delivery of the third and final RC-135W Airseeker (PHOTO: SGT SI PUGSLEY/ © CROWN COPYRIGHT)

of our exploit capability are coming together now to make the fusion centre a one-stop shop and a world-leading centre of intelligence.” When asked how the RAF’s airborne ISTAR resources are being enhanced, the air commodore again emphasises that his task is about capability, and not platforms per se. “We’re increasing our fleet size in the areas we think can provide most

The E-3D Sentry’s roles include air and sea surveillance, airborne command and control, and weapons control (PHOTO: SAC HELEN RIMMER / © CROWN COPYRIGHT)


A CRUCIAL CONTRIBUTION TO UK AND COALITION AIRBORNE ISR REQUIREMENTS Raytheon UK is the principal supplier of manned airborne ISR solutions to the UK MOD, including five Sentinel R1 long-range wide area battlefield surveillance aircraft, and, ultimately, eight Shadow R1 tactical surveillance aircraft. Raytheon Company’s Space and Airborne Systems business will also provide the primary sensor on the UK’s P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, which are due to arrive in the UK in 2019/20 timeframe. Under the provisions of the October 2016 Integrated Sentinel Support Solution contract, the Sentinel R1 capability, which was scheduled to be withdrawn from service in 2015, will be extended to 2021; Shadow R1 withdrawal is timetabled for 2030.

30 days, it has never been out of deployed operations. It has also been drawn on by other nations – we saw the request from France in 2013 to support its operations in Mali. We operate as part of a coalition, and its capability will continue be in demand, I’m sure, across the coalition.” Daniel says that there is still significant growth potential in the Sentinel R1, but this will be optimised through reconsideration of the 2021 timescale. “I think it has a huge future ahead of it – its primary sensor still provides great capability, and that underpins the value of the platform. It can perform multi-mission tasking – we’ve already seen this with the synthetic aperture radar and ground

Richard Daniel Chief Executive Officer, Raytheon UK “As intelligence collection becomes an ever more critical element in the fight against all types of threat – whether non-state or state actors – the timely collection, dissemination and exploitation of that intelligence is crucial to the defence posture of both the United Kingdom (UK) and its coalition allies,” says Richard Daniel, Chief Executive of Raytheon UK. Daniel argues that manned airborne intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) is pivotal to this intelligence cycle – “whether tactical, in terms of identifying real-time targets, or more strategically – by being able to stand off and get a very broad intelligence picture of what is going on – as for example, delivered by the RAF’s Sentinel R1 during Operation Ellamy.”

“I’d like to see us really look at how we take Sentinel forward, well into the next decade” Daniel suggests that as the array of threat types continues to evolve and potentially escalate, the UK and its coalition allies will require a strategic airborne ISR capability beyond the current life-extension timeframe afforded for Sentinel. “I’d like to see us really look at how we take Sentinel forward, well into the next decade, because it’s a unique capability that we know the customer and our allies require, and which continues to prove its worth operationally. Since it went into service back in 2008, bar about CONTACT

moving target indicator capabilities in Operations in Afghanistan and Libya. We’ve already postulated the integration of additional sensors – communications, electronic intelligence – because while it is up in the air it may as well be collecting this data – and there are more complicated modifications which would allow us to also add long-range optics. We can then demonstrate how this platform could evolve into a true multi-mission capability, and how it can truly underpin the airborne ISR capability required by the RAF.” WEBSITE


advantage to the commander; we’re investing in capability. We look at what we expect the future characteristics of combat to be – we tie in with what our doctrine centre thinks the nature of the world will look like in the 2025-35 timeframe.”

An additional two Shadow R1 aircraft are due to join the existing fleet of six aircraft (PHOTO: © CROWN COPYRIGHT)

“The capabilities that we’re up against are often very short-lived… We have to stay flexible, stay dynamic ” These enhancements cover the arrival of the third and final RC-135 Airseeker aircraft before the year’s end; upgrades to the E-3D Sentry and Sentinel aircraft; acquisition of further Shadow aircraft; and procurement of 20 Protector RPAS (to replace Reaper). In addition, the Project Athena ISTAR force integration programme will bring all UK ISTAR assets into one integrated force. “These enhancements



will allow us to do what we’re doing today in tomorrow’s environment,” says Air Cdre Andrew. As for the future, Air Cdre Andrew considers one of his biggest challenges to be the rapid evolution of technology and the cheapness of ‘high-tech’ to potential adversaries, who have proved most adaptive. “The capabilities that we’re up against are often very short-lived,” he says. “Once we find a capability to match the adversary’s we find that they’ve moved on... so we have to stay flexible, stay dynamic, and we always have to be thinking ahead.” The rapid rate of technology enhancement required to stay relevant in the battlefield does not come cheaply, Air Cdre Andrew admits: “It is a very expensive place to operate and fight.” Nevertheless, he is adamant that he has a balanced fleet that allows ‘eyes and ears’ across the whole spectrum, alongside the ability to fuse the product with everything else that is out there. In his own words, “The RAF has a world-leading capability, because the people – the operators and analysts – that we have involved in our enterprise are the best in the world. This means that we provide our commanders and our coalition partners with the best product in the world.”



Ron Cook CBE Corporate Senior Vice President, London Operations, L3 Technologies According to Ron Cook, L3 Technologies’ Corporate Senior Vice President, the past year has been a particularly important one for the company. The business rebranded to its current L3 Technologies name in December 2016, to reflect its evolution into a leading global provider of a broad range of technology solutions. Meanwhile, in 2017 the company also celebrates its 20th anniversary, and it now employs 38,000 people globally (including approximately 1,500 in the UK). Cook is keen to highlight how L3 Technologies in the UK is developing its partnerships with customers and suppliers. He says a prime example is the company’s Commercial Training Solutions (CTS) business, which offers vertical, seamless and affordable solutions to support the global commercial aviationtraining marketplace. Working hand in hand with its customers (including many of the world’s leading airlines) and suppliers, the CTS offer spans the

complete spectrum of commercial aviation training, its services including selection, cadet (ab initio) training, resourcing and airline training, all supported by hightechnology simulation products, including the RealitySevenTM Full Flight Simulator. Cook also explains that L3 Technologies uses such partnerships in the development of new commercial solutions. He cites L3 Technologies’ ASA business, the systems solutions company (with core capabilities in complex information systems, data fusion solutions and mission configurable communications) as a good example. Here, this business is working in a variety of partnership models with customers and suppliers to identify best-of-breed components and services to create effective solutions, for example in the areas of manned intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) systems, counter-unmanned air systems (UAS) solutions, secure communications connectivity and command and control solutions, more broadly.

and strategic intelligence. In so doing, it performs a critical role in fulfilling defencewide decision-making requirements. Cook is also keen to emphasise L3 Technologies’ most exciting new products and services and focuses specifically in this regard on the Rapid Aircraft Payload Deployment System (RAPDS). This represents L3 Mission Integration’s (MI) commitment to continually improve its products through internal investment. RAPDS features MI’s next-generation aircraft design and architecture, enabling the execution of a wide range of missions from a single platform. The design is modular and flexible, thereby allowing a variety of current and future sensor payloads to be accommodated with minimal redesign while maintaining airworthiness certification. RAPDS is a key focus of L3 Technologies with regard to Small Manned Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (SMISR) requirements, both in the UK and internationally.

The Commercial Training Solutions offer spans the complete spectrum of commercial aviation training L3 Technologies’ partnership with the RAF remains a central focus of the UK business and, given Cook is a retired Air Commodore, it is very close to his heart. A principle feature of this relationship is the provision of the RC-135 manned electronic surveillance aircraft under the Airseeker Programme, which, equipped with a variety of sensors, gives the RAF a high level of situational awareness and both tactical

Finally, in terms of other new products and services, Cook points out CTS once again, this time regarding the added capability the business is now able to offer through the 2016 acquisition of Aerosim Technologies in the context of remote learning, iPad- and computer-based training, and lower-cost training devices (which compliment the vertical, seamless training solution suite detailed earlier). WEBSITE



Jim Maser Vice President, F135 Engine Programme, Pratt & Whitney

WITH MORE THAN 200 F-35S OPERATING AROUND THE WORLD, HOW IS THE F135 ENGINE PERFORMING? The F135, which powers all three variants of the F-35, is the most advanced fighter engine in the world, delivering more than 40,000lbs of thrust and unparalleled capability to the warfighter. The engine is performing exceptionally well with mission availability averaging more than 98%, and current production engines are already exceeding key 2020 reliability requirements. It has had near flawless performances during recent ship trials and Red Flag training exercises, as well as during the deployments of operational squadrons from the United States (US) Air Force and US Marine Corps to Europe and the Pacific.

We expect to deliver around 80 F135 engines this year, with more than 350 F135s delivered to date. We have cut production costs in half, and we remain focused on executing our customer commitments and maintaining world-class quality throughout the production phase. The number of fielded F-35s continues to grow rapidly, but we know what it takes to handle the sustainment of a global fleet. We already do that with F100s that power an international fleet of F-15s and F-16s. By 2020, Pratt & Whitney will sustain an operational fleet of F-35s projected to number over 650 aircraft in 10 countries. Our sustainment focus is on establishing F135 MRO centres and a global repair network to handle the increasing number of F-35 operating bases.

CAN YOU PROVIDE AN UPDATE ON THE UNITED KINGDOM’S F-35B FLEET AND ANY KEY MILESTONES ON THE HORIZON? The F-35B is powered by our F135 propulsion system and incorporates RollsRoyce short takeoff and vertical landing lift fan components, allowing the aircraft to operate from land bases as well as Queen Elizabeth-class carriers. Similar to the Harrier before it, the F-35B provides a unique short takeoff and landing capability to the Royal Air Force (RAF) and Royal Navy (RN), but the F135 engine is a game changer. For

“The F-35B provides a unique short takeoff and landing capability”

one, the F135 has rock-solid flight controls, which makes the aircraft much easier to fly than the Harrier. It also leverages unique fifth-generation thermal management and stealth capabilities, which makes the aircraft more survivable against increasingly sophisticated threats. Right now, we are working closely with the RAF and RN as they progress towards initial operational capability next year, and on to the 138 F-35s currently planned for the UK programme.

AS THE F-35 PROGRAMME DEVELOPS AIRFRAME AND CAPABILITY IMPROVEMENTS, HOW IS PRATT & WHITNEY GOING TO EVOLVE THE F135 ENGINE? We recently validated an upgrade configuration for the F135 that can provide a five to 6% fuel burn improvement and a six to 10% thrust increase across the F-35 flight envelope. It also enables up to a 5% increase in powered lift thrust for the F-35B variant with modifications to the lift fan. We’re calling this our Growth Option 1.0 package. We believe this option provides an affordable, low-risk path forward that can bring increased capability into the hands of all F-35 warfighters by the early 2020s. The variant-common upgrade limits changes to just the power module, allowing Growth Option 1.0 to be seamlessly integrated into the global fleet of F-35s – either retrofitted during routine overhauls or cut into production with no impact on the engine delivery schedule. The upgrade is also fully compatible with existing F135 sustainment infrastructure. The current production F135 engine is meeting all of today’s performance requirements, but we see a path forward that would make the world’s most advanced fighter engine even better. WEBSITE


In late May 2017, just before Group Captain Ian ‘Cab’ Townsend finished his tour as the Lightning Force Commander to become Station Commander at RAF Marham, he offered his thoughts on the partnerships that are bringing the Lightning Force from concept to reality in 2018. Jim Winchester reports



ommand of the Lightning Force is a Royal Air Force (RAF) tied appointment; the deputy is a Royal Navy (RN) captain and manning is directed at 58% RAF, 42% RN. A former Harrier pilot himself, Group Captain (Gp Capt) Ian ‘Cab’ Townsend explains how the Services’ previous command arrangements for that Force is

helping with the plans to form the Lightning Force: “I think we’ve invested a lot of time bringing the lessons from Joint Force Harrier into this force, and that might be as simple as the uniforms we wear to work and the fact that we will see the history of the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy reflected in squadron badges, but that is not to say that

The UK’s Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning will achieve initial operating capability in 2018 (PHOTO: SAC TIM LAURENCE/ © CROWN COPYRIGHT)




“The USAF’s experience of operating stealth over the past 30 years or so is something that we don’t have, and that is really enhancing our understanding” The RAF and Royal Navy are training with the US Marine Corps at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort (PHOTO: UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS/PFC SAMANTHA TORRES)


617 Squadron (Sqn) is a Royal Air Force squadron and 809 Sqn is a Royal Navy squadron; absolutely not – they are both Lightning Force squadrons. They are both trained the same way, they’re able to do the same things, they will all go to the Queen Elizabethclass aircraft carriers for the same amount of time and they will all be able to operate off a land base in the same way. When our pilots come through the


Operational Conversion Unit (OCU), they will all be trained to operate the aeroplane from land and sea.” In addition to the land-based operations that the Lightning Force is destined to conduct, the RN and RAF are developing their ship-based power projection role with a much greater focus on a Task Group approach than was previously the case during the Joint Force Harrier days. “It is not anymore just about aeroplanes flying off the ship,” says Gp Capt Townsend. “It is about the carrier strike group, and that is very significant capability for the UK and it needs joint planning. In my two-and-a-half years in the Lightning Force headquarters, we have had superb relationships with our opposite numbers in the Royal Navy and in Navy Command trying to pull together the way in which we train, the way in which we manage the force and the way in which we bring together the carrier strike group so that when we do sail for the first time in 2021, we have a really credible war-fighting force.” Relationships with United States (US) forces are just as important, particularly with the US Marine


COLLABORATION ACROSS THE SPECTRUM OF TECHNOLOGY by translating MADL messages to Link 16 format. This was the first time non-US fifthand fourth-generation aircraft had shared MADL-delivered data, and is an important demonstration of interoperability as the UK moves closer to initial operating capability of its F-35 Lightning Force in late 2018.


Andrew Tyler Chief Executive, Northrop Grumman Europe

IN WHAT WAY DOES NORTHROP GRUMMAN PARTNER WITH THE RAF? We spend a lot of time in partnership with the RAF thinking about their future missions, how they are going to change with the threat environment, and the sort of technologies and capabilities that might be relevant to help them fulfil their needs. An excellent example of this is the work that we have been doing with the RAF on F-35 interoperability. The concept of the F-35 was for a networked aircraft, and so we are working with the RAF to help think through what this actually means. We have already enjoyed some encouraging successes. Last year, for example, we completed the two-week Babel Fish III trial as part of Exercise High Rider in the United States. During the trial, a Northrop Grumman Airborne Communications Gateway connected the fifth-generation F-35B, which communicates using the stealthy Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL), and the fourth-generation Typhoon,

Our role covers two main areas. The first area is the airframe where we provide the centre fuselage, and the second is the provision of what I call the F-35’s “eyes, ears and mouth”. The “eyes” are provided via the AN/AAQ-37 Distributed Aperture System (DAS). The “ears” are the AN/APG-81 radar. And then there is the “mouth” – the Communications, Navigation and Identification (CNI) system, which uses the MADL. In terms of maximising every ounce of value from

As a principal partner for F-35, Northrop Grumman not only provides the central fuselage, but also much of the aircraft’s situational awareness, and communications and battlespace networking capability

the aircraft, and making the F-35 that networked ‘node’ in the battlespace, the communications are absolutely critical.

HOW SIGNIFICANT IS THE SELECTION OF THE UK AS THE F-35 COMPONENT MAINTENANCE, REPAIR, OVERHAUL & UPGRADE (MRO&U) HUB FOR EUROPE? The F-35 support solution is now becoming the dominant focus of attention. There are more than 200 F-35 Lightnings flying, the US Marine Corps has already declared an Initial Operating Capability, and F-35 squadrons will start deploying onto the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, next year. There is momentum building now, and the ramp up of operational F-35s is going to be significant in the next few years. Making sure that we can adequately support them has become a major focus.

WHAT IS NORTHROP GRUMMAN’S ROLE IN THIS MRO&U HUB? As an original equipment manufacturer, we have got a lot of kit on the aircraft and we will be very heavily involved in maintaining it, but the most exciting thing about this particular opportunity is that Northrop Grumman is one of the three management partners for the MRO&U hub (with BAE Systems and the Defence Electronics and Components Agency), and so we will be getting involved right across the spectrum of components, rather than just Northrop Grummanproduced systems. In the initial tier 1 phase, the work will involve sustainment of F-35 systems, including electronic and electrical components, as well as fuel, mechanical and hydraulic systems. WEBSITE



Andrea Thompson F-35 Lightning II Senior Vice-President, BAE Systems

HOW SIGNIFICANT IS BAE SYSTEMS’ CONTRIBUTION TO THE OVERALL F-35 DESIGN AND MANUFACTURING PROGRAMME? I believe our contribution is hugely significant. Taking just our Military Air & Information business based here in the UK, you can trace our pedigree and heritage right to the heart of the F-35. Whether that’s through the short take-off and vertical landing capability Harrier brought to the world, the advanced manufacturing technologies we brought to the F-35 team or our proven experience in systems engineering which has seen us have design responsibility in areas such as fuel, crew escape and life support systems. If you add to that the world-leading electronics provided to the programme by our US business, which includes vital elements such as the electronic warfare suite, active inceptor system flight controls and vehicle management computers, the importance of BAE Systems to the F-35 and vice versa is extremely apparent. And we can’t forget BAE Systems Australia, which also has a key role in the programme – they supply both ourselves and Northrop Grumman.

BAE Systems is playing an integral role in ensuring RAF Marham is ready for the arrival of the UK’s F-35 fleet, which starts in late 2018. We are well on the way with constructing three facilities to support the operation of the F-35 fleet; a maintenance and finish facility, a logistics operations centre and an integrated training centre, with all three scheduled to be completed early next year. In addition to our construction responsibilities and working with our teammate, Lockheed Martin, we will form a team of more than 100 skilled technicians at RAF Marham, which will provide engineering and technical expertise, deliver air crew and ground crew training, facilitate routine maintenance and help to manage the jets’ global supply chain. BAE Systems will take the lead sustainment role for F-35 Lightning in the UK, with Lockheed Martin continuing as prime contractor for global operations. The team is 100% focused on delivering world-leading facilities at RAF Marham and ensuring we do all we can to ensure the F-35 achieves initial operational capability (IOC) in the UK on schedule.

WHAT ROLE WILL BAE SYSTEMS PLAY IN THE F-35 MRO&U HUB AT SEALAND? BAE Systems’ world-leading capabilities in developing and delivering sustainment solutions, combined with our experience of working with international customers, suppliers and partners are undoubtedly key assets of the F-35 Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul & Upgrade hub at Sealand. We are now working with our partners at DECA and Northrop Grumman to ensure we have the right structures and operating model in place to deliver the capabilities required from the hub when we open for business.

HOW WILL ALL THIS ACTIVITY ENHANCE BAE SYSTEMS’ PARTNERSHIP WITH THE RAF? The F-35 is providing a fantastic platform to strengthen our already great relationship with the RAF. Our relationship has shifted over the past 15 or 20 years from one of supplier and customer to one that sees us work side-by-side; not only ensuring the UK gets world-leading aircraft off our production lines, but also that together we deliver support solutions that help deliver the mission – whether that’s a training or an operational one. Working together with the UK on aircraft such as Hawk, Tornado and Typhoon, we have set the standard in availability-based support solutions, and now, together with our partners at Lockheed Martin, we are looking to take our skills and expertise to ensure the UK gets a support solution for F-35 that matches the world-leading performance you get from the aircraft. Furthermore, we are working very closely with the UK customer in ensuring the F-35 and Queen Elizabethclass aircraft carriers are integrated. This includes having UK pilots flying our bespoke simulator at Warton, which tests the pilots’ skills to the limits as they practice landing on the deck of the carrier in a range of difficult sea and weather conditions provided by the simulator. The data produced will show us exactly what will happen when F-35 pilots fly to and from the carriers. This will be invaluable as we get ready for flight trials from the QE carrier in 2018. We must also highlight the work BAE Systems is undertaking in terms of UK weapons clearance on the F-35 – a hugely important programme for ensuring the UK jets have the capabilities they require for IOC in 2018. WEBSITE


A UK F-35B Lightning first flew in home airspace in 2016, appearing at Farnborough and the Royal International Air Tattoo (PHOTO: TIM FELCE)

Corps (USMC). The Lightning Force has a pooling implementation agreement with the Marines at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina, as Gp Capt Townsend explains: “Because the number of our aeroplanes is low in the early years, we have elected to pool our resources with the Marine Corps at Beaufort. We already have a relationship with the USMC and, of course, like us, they are operating F-35Bs. We share our aeroplanes. “We have six UK aeroplanes at Beaufort at the moment. The USMC has 18. US pilots can fly

The F-35B Lightning will place the UK at the forefront of fighter technology, providing a true multi-role capability (PHOTO: SAC TIM LAURENCE/ © CROWN COPYRIGHT)

UK jets and we can fly American jets. Likewise, UK maintenance crews maintain American jets and there is absolute synergy on the squadron, commanded by the head of the USMC VMFAT-501 Squadron.

VALUABLE EXPERIENCE “What Beaufort gives us is mass,” continues Gp Capt Townsend. “There are 24 aeroplanes there, and that gives my maintenance people a lot of aeroplanes to fix, as well as access to plenty of low observability materials and use of the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS). The amount of experience it has allowed us to build is quite staggering. “The beauty of what we are currently doing in America is [that], while we are in a Marine Corps construct on the East Coast at Beaufort, on the West Coast at Edwards Air Force Base, 17 Sqn is entirely a UK squadron. It is set up as a UK squadron and operates under UK regulatory procedures. So, we’re learning the UK way of business on 17 Sqn so that when we come back to RAF Marham in the middle part of 2018, the 40 617 Sqn maintainers at Edwards will meet up with their Beaufort colleagues and the synergy of their experience and the Edwards experience will hopefully de-risk the stand up of 617 Sqn from a maintenance perspective.” There is also a strategic relationship with the US Air Force (USAF). “Their experience of operating 21ST CENTURY PARTNERSHIPS AIR POWER 2017



An F-35B flies over RAF Marham, the future home of the UK’s Lightning Force (PHOTO: CPL PAUL OLDFIELD/ © CROWN COPYRIGHT)

stealth over the past 30 years or so is something that we don’t have, and that is really enhancing our understanding of how to operate a stealth aeroplane. We have an irreducible requirement to go to the US to train. It is baked into our concept of operations,” says Gp Capt Townsend. “We will routinely go to America to train, but we still need to train in the UK, so another nod to the relationship with America is the fact that, for the past 18 months, we have had a working group relationship with the USAF Europe (USAFE), recognising that the USAF intends to bring its F-35A aircraft to RAF Lakenheath [in Suffolk] in 2020.” The Lightning Force is in communication with the USAFE to understand how they can brief and debrief effectively at the right security levels. “We are

“I can guarantee you one thing... the first jet to touch down on the HMS Queen Elizabeth will be a British jet” 86


also talking about whether we can cross-service each other’s F-35s. At the moment, I’m working alongside my Marine Corps colleagues and we can fix each other’s aeroplanes. That works because we are based on the same squadron, but maybe there are some simple things we can do with the USAF. For example, we could refuel each other’s aeroplanes at RAF Marham, and maybe if an F-35 main wheel blows at RAF Lakenheath then we could share each other’s spares.”

FLIGHT TRIALS First-of-class flight trials (fixed wing) on HMS Queen Elizabeth will take place between September and October 2018 off the US East Coast because, as a developmental test evolution, they need to be instrumented and tracked in the same way as other tests. Detailed planning for the trials is under way and contracts are being scoped and let. Even though HMS Queen Elizabeth’s first operational deployment will include both UK and US F-35B jets, Gp Capt Townsend is sure of one detail: “I can guarantee you one thing, and that is that the first jet to touch down on the HMS Queen Elizabeth will be a British jet.”


A KEY ROLE IN DELIVERING AND MAINTAINING CAPABILITY HOW WILL THE F-35B ENHANCE RAF CAPABILITY? The F-35 provides unrivalled capability. Its advanced stealth, sensor fusion, exceptional manoeuvrability, unmatched interoperability and intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance capabilities mean that the UK will have a tactical air power advantage for decades to come. The versatility of the F-35B to operate not only from land bases and remote locations, but also from the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers will revolutionise the UK’s expeditionary combat power and have a transformative effect on the UK’s ability to defend itself.

Peter Ruddock Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin UK

HOW IMPORTANT IS THE ROYAL AIR FORCE AS A CUSTOMER TO LOCKHEED MARTIN (LM)? We have had a long, strategic relationship with the Royal Air Force (RAF) for over 50 years; from the C-130s to the F-35s, Lockheed Martin has a key role to play in delivering and maintaining capability for front-line squadrons. The United Kingdom (UK) has been a key part of the F-35 programme from the very beginning. As the only Tier One partner outside the United States (US), the UK is a valued member of the Joint Strike Fighter team. Last year, the United States Marine Corps (USMC) chose the UK as the first place outside the US to deploy their F-35Bs when they participated in the Royal International Air Tattoo, and that demonstrates the importance of the UK’s role in this programme.

“The versatility of the F-35B will revolutionise the UK’s expeditionary combat power” WHAT IS THE CURRENT STATE OF THE UK F-35 DELIVERY PROGRAMME AND HOW DOES IT SCOPE OUT INTO THE FUTURE? Currently, the UK is taking delivery of an aircraft every couple of months. The UK now has 11 aircraft, three of which are currently stationed at Edwards Air Force Base in California and are being operated by 17(R) Sqn. A further eight are based at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in

South Carolina, where they are being put through their paces by members of 617 Sqn who are working alongside the USMC as part of a combined unit.

HOW WILL THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE RAF AND LM EVOLVE IN TERMS OF F-35 UPGRADE AND MRO? Lockheed Martin’s involvement in the F-35 does not end when we hand over the aircraft to the customer; it’s an enduring relationship with our customer. Here in the UK, we are working with our partners BAE Systems and Balfour Beatty to build specially designed facilities at RAF Marham to support the fleet when it arrives in the UK next year. As well as logistics and maintenance facilities, we are also creating an integrated training centre containing Lockheed Martin simulator technology to provide not only pilots but also ground crew with F-35 training.

WHAT FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES DOES LM SEE TO FURTHER YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE RAF? Our relationship with the RAF extends beyond aircraft. We already supply radar systems that form the backbone of the UK’s air defence system, ensuring the safety and surveillance of our skies. We play a key role in the UK’s Military Flying Training System through our involvement in Ascent, which is responsible for the provision of both fixed- and rotary-wing training to the UK Armed Forces. And in the future, given Lockheed Martin’s experience in both military and civil space – from satellites to systems on the ground – we see further opportunities to support the RAF’s and the wider UK’s requirements in this crucial domain. WEBSITE


F-35 PROGRAM OFFICE UPDATE Autonomic Logistics Information System, and working at reprogramming laboratories to develop mission support software – our UK partnership is resolute and their commitment to execution excellence is unmatched allowing the F-35 Enterprise to deliver this phenomenal fifth-generation strike fighter capability to our warfighters.”


Vice Admiral Mat Winter, F-35 Program Executive Officer, highlights the contributions that the UK and the RAF continue to make to the design, build and deployment of the aircraft. Also, his UK National Deputy, Group Captain Willy Hackett, provides some background to UK’s involvement in the F-35 story to date “The United Kingdom has played an integral role in the F-35 program since its earliest days. Even before a final aircraft concept was chosen, British engineers and test pilots were fully integrated into the program and making their mark on what has become a revolutionary capability. For more than 16 years, the UK has provided unwavering support for the F-35 Program, assigning their best and brightest personnel to the Joint Program Office. Today, we have a UK General Officer leading our efforts to deliver the F-35 Global Support Solution along with top-rated UK pilots, engineers and maintainers conducting integrated test activities, fielding the aircraft’s


The UK is deeply embedded within the F-35 programme, both in an industrial and military sense. The UK is the only Level 1 partner in the programme for the development of F-35, alongside the US. The UK gained this enviable position by using its knowledge from building highly capable fourth-generation aircraft, experience gleaned from research and development aircraft, and the talent inherent in the UK’s aviation industry and Ministry of Defence. From the outset, the UK has understood and influenced the design of the aircraft and its systems to meet UK Defence needs, with a particular eye on how to integrate the capability with other RAF, Joint and Allied capabilities. Interoperability testing has been under way in test facilities in the UK for some years; this will ensure effective integration of the F-35 with Typhoon, Airseeker, AWACS and Naval assets such as Crowsnest, the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers and Type 45 destroyers. The RAF provides fullspectrum air and space power in support of the UK’s national interests and its treaty obligations, especially to NATO. The F-35 will be an integral part of this capability, operating as a system within systems. The UK has operated its own aircraft in the USA since July 2012, training and operating alongside USAF and US Marine Corps (USMC) units, mainly at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Beaufort in South Carolina. Testing and training so closely with the broader F-35 community allows each partner nation to speak the same language. The RAF has never been so closely integrated


before and each partner has something to bring to the party in the development of tactics, training and procedures. Throughout the partnership we share a common aircraft, training regime, global support solution, knowledge, and documentation to maintain and operate the aircraft in a standard way. We train as we intend to fight – an F-35 coalition that has been closely integrated and interoperable from the very start. As coalition F-35 pilots and engineers assemble at a deployed operating base in the future, it is unlikely to be the first time they have met; and if it is, they will have all been trained to the same standard way of doing business.

“For more than 16 years, the UK has provided unwavering support” Within the last 20 years, the experience the RAF has gained in working with UK industry in enhancing the efficiency of the sustainment regimes of front-line aircraft like the Typhoon has produced a paradigm shift for both industry and the RAF. This learning is being shared with the wider JSF Programme Office and more particularly the Hybrid Product Support Integrator (HPSI), to help drive down through life support costs for the entire F-35 fleet. The RAF has been in constant high operational demand in recent years, giving the F-35 team a great insight into contemporary operations. This highly talented workforce has been stationed at many Joint Strike Fighter units within the USA. This allows the RAF to share its experiences and help operationalise the F-35, to ensure they are ready to declare UK Initial Operating Capability (IOC) with the famous 617 Dambusters Squadron toward the end of 2018.


F-35 Lightning IIs have flown thousands of sorties powered by the F135 propulsion system, developed from the highly successful fifth-generation engine for the F-22 Raptor. Pratt & Whitney partners with customers around the world to provide sustainment solutions that keep the F-35 Lightning II dependable and affordable. We are proud to power today’s most advanced fighter aircraft. Now, we are advancing engine technology to provide the next generation of fighter engines for tomorrow’s defence needs. Learn more at



Air Commodore Ian Gale explains how the RAF’s Protector programme will revolutionise the way in which remotely piloted air systems are operated around the world in the future




he General Atomics Protector Remotely Piloted Air System (RPAS) will replace the in-service MQ-9 Reaper from the start of the next decade. But what’s so different about Protector, and why does Reaper need to be replaced? The General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper was bought for the RAF as a response to an urgent operational need in 2007 and, from the outset, was used extensively in the skies over Afghanistan. It has provided excellent service, but it is approaching the end of its design life. With no cost-effective option to upgrade it, a replacement is necessary. This is where Protector comes in, with the ability to meet the full range of requirements. Protector is being procured in partnership with the United States Air Force (USAF) through a ‘government-to-government arrangement’ and, as the most up-to-date development of the General Atomics ‘Predator B’ family, draws enormous benefits from the technology and operational experience gained from the Reaper programme. Protector shares many attributes with the latestgeneration Reaper (referred to as the Block 5), which the USAF has chosen to meet its own requirements, so it is reasonable to ask why the UK has opted for a bespoke development. In essence, the issue comes down to global employability. From the outset, Protector has been designed and built with operations in all types of airspace in mind. Reaper is optimised to meet a very specific combat need, and the UK now needs to be able to use its RPAS in a very wide range of situations, including at home or in complex civilian-



General Atomics’ RAF Protector preproduction aircraft, SkyGuardian, photographed in November 2016 at the company’s test facility in California (PHOTO: GA-ASI)

controlled airspace. For instance, Protector may be used in response to natural disasters or other cases where there is a need for enduring surveillance. The ability for the air vehicle to operate in complex airspace alongside other military and civilian air traffic is a key requirement for the UK’s programme. Protector will be able to respond quickly and over vast distances – its ability to meet such a wide range of potential tasks shows the strength of the partnership between the military and civilian agencies in the UK.

A NEW ERA OF AVIATION In order to enable Protector to operate in the same airspace as civilian air traffic, it has been manufactured to the same standards as an airliner or other manned aircraft; it will achieve full Military Type Certification just like any military aircraft and will be able to operate,


subject to the rules of the air, in UK and European airspace. Developments are under way to provide Protector with both cooperative and non-cooperative sense-and-avoid technology, allowing it to eventually operate in controlled and uncontrolled airspace, employing sensors and logic to maintain safety. It is likely that this technology will quickly prove to be safer and more comprehensive than solely human lookout, so will directly improve safety for manned aircraft. This really marks the beginning of the next age in aviation. The Protector has in-built lightning protection and anti-icing capability, so it can fly in many more circumstances than Reaper, and has significantly greater payload and endurance, with twice the design life of its predecessor. It features an automatic take-off and landing system that has been combat-proven by the US Forces in almost 80,000 trouble-free missions.

Protector will be equipped with the Brimstone air-to-surface missile and the Paveway IV guided munition, as this mock-up illustrates (IMAGE: GA-ASI)

This allows us to maximise automation and focus our crew training on the complex in-mission activities. As well as a whole host of next-generation sensors for reconnaissance and surveillance (which will be the aircraft’s main roles), the Protector will carry the British-made MBDA Brimstone missile and Raytheon Paveway IV laser and GPS-guided munition, giving the aircraft a punch to match its eyes and ears.

SEAMLESS INTEGRATION In-mission tactical interoperability with partner nations is key to this aircraft’s performance and, from the start, it has been designed to link seamlessly to other NATO capabilities and to fit into the existing and future intelligence networks. In the same way, where a supported commander can today witness a seamless transition during a mission from, for example, 21ST CENTURY PARTNERSHIPS AIR POWER 2017



The Protector development aircraft carried out a series of successful flights in November 2016 (PHOTO: GA-ASI)

a Typhoon to an F-16, in the future the Protector will be similarly able to fit into the chain with other RPAS. Outside the mission, Protector adds further flexibility to the commander, as it will shorten the time between deployment and employment and increase overall areas of operation by using a different satellite control ‘frequency’ than that currently used by Reaper.

40 hours. Flying the aircraft from anywhere in the world comes as standard and, as occurs now with Reaper, it is likely that mission crews will pass the aircraft from operator to operator mid-mission. This means a single sortie may be controlled by multiple crews and squadrons during the course of its operation.


In-mission tactical interoperability with partner nations is key to this aircraft’s performance Those wanting to fly the Protector are in for an exciting time. The Ground Control Stations are all new. Bigger screens, clearer displays, synthetics, simulation and improved ergonomics accompany this cutting-edge new aircraft that can fly for up to



Future developments of the aircraft are still speculative, but additional aircraft, upgraded and multi-mission radars and the sense-and-avoid technology are all options. General Atomics is developing a maritime mission for Protector which, among other capabilities, will enable it to deploy sonobuoys. For now, the Protector development aircraft has made numerous successful flights since November 2016 and is on schedule thanks to the proactive approach taken by General Atomics. The two pre-production aircraft will continue to expand the flight envelope using the revolutionary new wing and new flight control software, providing the necessary data to inform the subsequent production of the UK’s Protector fleet.


PROTECTOR: LEADING FROM THE FRONT Dr Jonny King highlights the groundbreaking capabilities that the Protector Remotely Piloted Air System will bring to its lead customer As the Royal Air Force (RAF) prepares to replace its Reaper Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS) with Protector, the latest variant of the Predator family of unmanned air systems, the manufacturer of both platforms, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI), is immensely proud of the partnership it has forged with the RAF and keen to build further on this. However, Jonny King, GA-ASI’s UK Director, knows that the resulting changeover will have to be seamless. “It is highly likely that the RAF will still be operating at a very high tempo during the transition to Protector so we want to ensure that as Reaper phases out, Protector phases in. We are therefore providing an extremely agile support solution, wherever and however the RAF requires it. This support could even extend to initial training at our new facility in Grand Forks, North Dakota” he says. Dr King is confident of success and highlights the very high levels of availability the RAF enjoys with Protector’s predecessor. Reaper’s excellent serviceability is due in part to the way the aircraft is designed and manufactured. King explains, “We have a very strong emphasis on quality at all stages, from design through production, global supply chain and support. We are also operators of our own products so have an intimate knowledge of our customers’ needs. With these broad capabilities

The Protector RPAS has the potential to transform UK RPAS operations

and experience we can support our customers at every level of operations.”

CLOSE PARTNERSHIP This close partnership with the RAF will hopefully pay dividends with the introduction and support of Protector, which will enjoy the groundbreaking capability of being able to operate outside military airspace in and among civil air traffic. According to King, Protector’s pedigree is such that it will also have excellent potential as a maritime patrol platform. “The US Department of Homeland Security operates a variant of the Reaper they call Guardian, which has a 360˚ maritime surveillance radar and EO/IR sensors along with maritime radios and AIS (automatic identification system),” he reveals. With this suite of avionics, Guardian can use its radar to search for surface vessels and then task AIS to interrogate and identify them. If a vessel

seems suspicious, Guardian can slew its imaging equipment to take a closer look. GA-ASI is taking this one step further in collaboration with Ultra Electronics through the development of a sonobuoy control, monitoring and release capability for the RPAS. “With future introduction of sonobuoys, in addition to the surface picture you can tell what is going on under the water as well. And by datalinking to a maritime patrol aircraft such as the P-8A that the RAF is bringing into service, you can extend the range and endurance of the whole integrated system with the only limit being the actual number of aircraft available.” As lead customer for Protector, the RAF will be in a position to lend their experience to other partner nations who decide to purchase the aircraft. This level of cooperation could cover help with certification, training and doctrine as well as logistics and maintenance support. WEBSITE



Jackson Schneider, President and CEO of Embraer, explains why the Phenom 100 was selected for the United Kingdom Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS) and the benefits that the aircraft will deliver HOW IS EMBRAER DEVELOPING PARTNERSHIPS WITH ITS MILITARY CUSTOMERS? Embraer is always working to develop relevant solutions that meet the needs of our customers and this is exactly what we were able to achieve in this contract with Affinity for the United Kingdom’s Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS) programme. As you know, Affinity, a partnership between KBR and Elbit, was selected by Ascent Flight Training to provide and operate the aircraft selected for the UKMFTS programme.

We are very proud to have been selected for such an important programme by the United Kingdom´s Ministry of Defence and the Royal Air Force (RAF), especially as the RAF is recognised worldwide as a very respected air force with a reputation for extremely high standards. The acquisition of five Phenom 100 aircraft helps to confirm that the aircraft is a very reliable, costeffective and easy to operate platform. It should not be forgotten that this aircraft has also been selected to provide flight training services to major international commercial airlines around the world.

WHAT MAKES THE PHENOM 100 A SUITABLE AIRCRAFT FOR UKMFTS? Delivering a sound combination of top performance, reliability, low operating costs and high rate of availability, the

Phenom 100 has the lowest operating cost in its category even when compared to turboprops. We have a growing customer base, and currently, over 300 Phenom 100s are flying in more than 25 countries.

HOW IS EMBRAER HOPING TO BE ABLE TO HELP THE RAF AND THE MFTS PROGRAMME IN THE FUTURE? The Phenom 100 is intended to replace the elementary, multi-engine and basic flying training that is currently being delivered on aging platforms with a new fully integrated solution that provides state-of-the-art training aircraft, groundbased training devices and courseware. There is no doubt that this will increase operational efficiency for the UK´s Armed Forces, as well as reduce costs whilst ensuring the proficiency of flight crews. Embraer is a global aerospace company with almost 50 years of experience in designing, developing,

“We are very proud to be selected in such an important programme for the UK’s Ministry of Defence and the Royal Air Force” Phenom 100 is an entry-level jet that is designed according to the single-pilot workload philosophy. Equipped with state-of-the-art avionics and powered by two turbofan engines, the Phenom 100 can fly at up to 41,000 feet and as fast as Mach 0.70. Built to withstand up to 1,500 hours of average annual use, which equates to five times the industry average, the

manufacturing and supporting aircraft and systems worldwide. The company offers a broad portfolio of products to commercial airlines, the business aviation community and the defence/security sector with a high level of customer satisfaction. This means that we are able to offer a range of solutions to meet requirements that the RAF might have in the future. WEBSITE


Air Vice-Marshal Andy Turner Air Officer Commanding (AOC) 22 Gp reviews the United Kingdom’s Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS) and reveals how it is destined to transform pilot and aircrew training for all three of the country’s armed forces

PILOT PROGRAMME: THE UK MILITARY FLYING TRAINING SYSTEM Lessons have been learnt with the introduction of the Hawk T2 into 4 FTS (4 Flying Training School) (PHOTO: CPL PAUL OLDFIELD/© CROWN COPYRIGHT)


efence is in the middle of a fundamental reset of military flying training – the UK Military Flying Training System (MFTS) is now reaching maturity and will prepare the next generation of UK air warriors. A sophisticated private finance initiative (PFI) will off-board much of the performance and financial risks and allow the Services to focus on what they have led the world in for 100 years – airborne instruction. The MFTS will: deliver an all-glass cockpit array of modern

aircraft; furnish simulators and synthetic emulators at every level; harness the latest in training technology and techniques; confront the next generation head-on with challenging and testing syllabi; renew and reduce our demand for bases; and remove layers of cost. Challenges will manifest themselves that will necessitate careful navigation around inherent PFI system weaknesses to evolve training to match the modern expression of air combat and warfare, meet up-and-down fluctuations in the national demand for 21ST CENTURY PARTNERSHIPS AIR POWER 2017



A STRONG CULTURE OF PARTNERSHIP Ascent has also adopted a partnering approach to its relationships with its key suppliers – namely our Aircraft Service Providers (ASPs) Affinity, Airbus and Cobham as well as our 1B subcontractors: Babcock and Lockheed Martin who work closely with Ascent to align their deliverables with the wider programme objectives in support of training provision. The UKMFTS programme owes its success at this point to the collaborative approach adopted by all parties invested in the programme.


Dave Boden Managing Director, Ascent Flight Training

HOW IS ASCENT DEVELOPING ITS PARTNERSHIPS WITH ITS CUSTOMERS AND SUPPLIERS? Since its inception at the start of the United Kingdom Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS) contract in 2008, Ascent has worked closely and collaboratively with the MOD in a unique partnering context to deliver the complex and multifaceted UKMFTS programme. Ascent and MOD have a common objective to deliver highly trained students to the Operational Conversion Units and the students passing through our world-class training system are central to all the decisions we make.

The UKMFTS programme is extremely complex and a true example of the merits of stepping away from the traditional customer/supplier relationship to adopt a more collaborative approach. Within the partnership, each party has clearly defined roles and responsibilities; this amalgamation of experience and specialist knowledge from each party allows Ascent to deliver a world-class military flying training system. The strong partnering culture allows Ascent to operate in an agile way and develop, test and refine potential solutions and enact improvement initiatives more efficiently than in a traditional customer/supplier arrangement.

Ascent Flight Training will deliver rotary-wing training using H135 (background) and H145 helicopters


WHAT CRITICAL MILESTONES ARE IN THE OFFING FOR ASCENT? The next two years are especially exciting as Ascent brings both the Fixed-Wing and Rotary-Wing Programmes online to supplement the existing Fast Jet and Rear Crew Programmes already in operation. We are delivering new aircraft, infrastructure, ground-based training equipment and courseware to support our training system, ensuring that students benefit from state-of-the-art facilities and training equipment. This December, the Elementary Flying Training pipeline will achieve Initial Course Capability (ICC). In April next year (2018), the RotaryWing Training Pipeline will achieve ICC, and June will see the Multi-Engine Training pipeline achieve ICC. January 2019 will see Basic Flying Training achieve ICC, the final one of the contracted UKMFTS training pipelines to be delivered.

WHAT DOES THE LONGER-TERM FUTURE HOLD FOR ASCENT? Ascent is going through a period of transition where the focus adjusts from equipment and infrastructure procurement and delivery to operation. At the training locations, the Ascent site staff and qualified instructor presence will grow considerably as we focus on delivering the UKMFTS world-class training system in partnership with military instructors and our supply chain out until 2033. In parallel, and in response to the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review, Ascent has already started working with MOD on an outline Training System Design for several new crew positions and the best value-for-money route to increase capacity of some of the already contracted programmes. WEBSITE


Nothing about this transition will be easy, but a close partnership – built on co-terminus objectives and a shared sense of success – will be the critical strength of the system aircrew and enable the continued use of training as a soft-power tool to know the world better through training the next generation. Nothing about this transition will be easy, but a close partnership – built on co-terminus objectives and a shared sense of success – will be the critical strength of the system into the future.

ACCOUNTING FOR SHORTFALLS The RAF’s Central Flying School remains a model for air force training organisations worldwide (PHOTO: SGT JACK PRITCHARD/© CROWN COPYRIGHT)

Shortfalls in the existing flying training system led to RAF Project 08, ‘A strategic study into the conduct of flying training from 2008 and beyond’, and the intent to outsource delivery of a new system of training to a service provider. In December 2002, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) approved £39 million for an assessment study to investigate a PFI solution,

and four consortia entered a competition to deliver a 25-year programme from 2004. The £6 billion MFTS PFI contract was awarded in 2006 to the Babcock (formerly VT Group) and Lockheed Martin joint venture Ascent Flight Training to deliver military aircrew until 2033. Central to this award was the need to optimise time in training, close the gap between the skills of aircrew finishing training and those used on the front line, reduce the overall cost, transfer risk, increase flexibility to respond to changes, promote continuous improvement and innovation and integrate better the different stages of core training. However, analysis, scrutiny, changes to the needs of defence, and negotiation reduced the original 2011 £6.8 billion forecast to £3.2 billion, with a five-year slip




to 2019. When complete, the MOD and Ascent will have delivered 23 Grob 120TP basic training aircraft, 10 T-6C Texan II basic trainers, 28 Hawk T2 advanced jet trainers, 29 Juno basic helicopter trainers, three Jupiter advanced mountain and maritime training helicopters, five Phenom 100 multi-crew training aircraft and an array of supporting synthetics (simulators, emulators – in the air and on the ground – and world-class debriefing tools). The Royal Navy’s observer training unit, 750 NAS, will continue to operate from Royal Navy Air Station Culdrose, with MFTS operating from RAF Cranwell and RAF Barkston Heath, Valley and Shawbury. MFTS will enable a substantial reduction in aeroplanes, infrastructure, people and running costs and will free up more personnel to the front line. Systemic changes, glass cockpits, reliability of aircraft and the ‘Phase 0’ flight training have already allowed the syllabi to fastforward past obsolete objectives to earlier streaming.

SKILL-SET EVOLUTION In addition, the graduating standard at Valley already outstrips what was expected of second tourists in the 1980s. Basic techniques at Shawbury (such as night vision goggles) were elite skills in the 1990s, and we have primed the US Air Force Reaper training system with some of their highest-performing students



since the 2000s. But much more ‘down-load’ from more expensive front-line aircraft, ‘cross-load’ to synthetic devices and ‘off-load’ to contractor delivery will be possible as we begin to exploit the potential of the new system. Forecast benefits thus far point towards a reduction from 189 aircraft to 98; a 35% increase in synthetic training across the enterprise; a net reduction of some 7,500-flying hours; some 53 fewer military instructors in the training system (three front-line combat squadrons worth); the reduction of at least one operating base; plus compression from 36 to 28 months for fast-jet pilot training and 19 to 14 months for those in the multi-engine streams.

LESSONS BEING LEARNT However, the experience of introducing the Hawk T2 into 4 FTS (Flying Training School) was challenging and led to many lessons learnt, all of which have been assimilated. The introduction of five new aircraft types in the next 24 months, a range of new simulators, comprehensively changed syllabi, new training buildings, refurbished runways, the maintenance of the legacy system and transitioning instructors will bring many challenges – some foreseen and many others still under cover. This sits alongside turbulence outside our control in the civil and commercial

MFTS will introduce three new fixed-wing trainer aircraft: the Grob 120TP, the T-6C Texan (pictured) and the Embraer Phenom 100 (PHOTO: BEECHCRAFT)

Multi-Mission Platform

Phenom 100 MEPT (Multi-Engine Pilot Training) The Phenom 100 MEPT is a capable platform to support all multi-engine pilot training tasks with the following enhanced capabilities: single-pilot workload philosophy, low operating costs, designed for high utilization and availability, observer seat, military communication and Quick Access Recorder to retrieve flight data.

Phenom 100 MEPT has been the chosen multi-engine training tool of respected training institutes on the civilian and defense sectors, such as the United Kingdom Military Flying Training System.


The MFTS model is at a critical juncture, mid-point in being fielded, where arguably the greatest challenges lie ahead

Airbus Helicopters has been selected to supply the H135 and H145 (pictured) helicopters (PHOTO: © AIRBUS SAS 2017 – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)


sector, an increasing demand for fast-jet instructors elsewhere and an internal tension over growing the front line and the training system at the same time. Perhaps the most urgent challenge is that MFTS is currently scaled against the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), which had precipitated a significant reduction in the aircrew training requirement. Reversed in the 2015 SDSR with the additional Typhoon, Lightning, Protector and Poseidon squadrons, the demand for trained aircrew has risen dramatically and outstrips our planned MFTS capacity. Hence, now is the time for innovation, a little experimentation and for the partnership that we have based our future upon to deliver. Although much remains uncertain and subject to commercial negotiation and contract amendment,


we have already launched a number of initiatives that will begin to address the various challenges. Firstly, and part of the RAF’s training transformation programme, Socrates, there is a renewed drive to identify, accredit and offset in-service training where individuals have accrued prior knowledge, skills and experience. While there is still a need to assure ourselves that ‘Phase 0’ training can reduce time, 22 Group’s approach is to shift to a competency-based and not course-completion philosophy. This should lead to more tests on arrival, accreditation where possible and training packages to make good the ‘delta’ which, while not in conflict with Defence’s approach to training, will lean more heavily on instructors, managers and leaders to our organisation’s considerable benefit. The ability to fast-forward a pilot trainee with 100 flying hours will cut months off their time to productivity. This is perhaps most obvious in 2 FTS – RAF Air Cadet gliding – and 6 FTS – the UAS (Unmanned Air System) – where both deliver formal flying training to an accredited and auditable standard with Central Flying School’s endorsement and oversight. In the true spirit of transformation, we have already raked through our syllabi in all areas. We have exported some elementary flying training to 6 FTS and the Tutor aircraft which, despite the challenges


A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO DEVELOPING TRAINING SYSTEMS or one of our industry partners. What is critical to CAE is that we are accountable for the training outcomes and our role in supporting the safety, efficiency and readiness of our military customers.


Marc-Olivier Sabourin Vice President and General Manager, Europe/Africa, CAE

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE A ‘21ST-CENTURY PARTNERSHIP’ BETWEEN CAE, ITS SUPPLIERS AND ITS CUSTOMERS? A 21st-century partnership is defined by enduring characteristics, such as being trusted, valued, effective, efficient and, of course, safe. As we celebrate our 70-year anniversary, these haven’t changed since CAE was founded in 1947. What does change, though, are the innovations we bring to market to provide better training solutions. CAE focuses our strategy on being a training systems integrator (TSI). When we say that, we are really talking about developing a higher-level partnership with governments and militaries to look at their training enterprise holistically. It also means that we will put together training solutions that meet the customer needs using the ‘best of breed’ components that are available to us – irrespective of whether they are from CAE

The benefits primarily are to the MOD’s ability to force generate using the most efficient and cost-effective training solutions. For example, at RAF Benson, CAE’s Medium Support Helicopter Aircrew Training Facility (MSHATF) has been constantly updated ever since this private finance initiative (PFI) contract was let in 1997. Our training technologies and that of our partners has been refreshed throughout to improve constantly the training delivery and ultimately the preparation of the aircrews. And alongside technology, things have changed commercially and our innovation continues into our contractual arrangements. CAE is a company willing to invest and take a financial approach that relies on longterm partnership with our customers. So, the MOD gains all the benefits of a service contract but retains the agility to adjust to a changing front-line need and a partner that is very much incentivised on their performance.

AS A WORLDWIDE OPERATING DEFENCE-TRAINING ENTERPRISE, HOW CAN CAE HELP ITS CUSTOMERS TO ENHANCE PARTNERSHIPS BETWEEN COUNTRIES? Collaborating on training has long been a pillar of international defence relations, but it is sometimes difficult to achieve. CAE is a strong proponent of helping our

defence customers train as a joint and coalition force, and we have numerous examples of this. For instance, at the NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) programme as well as our MSHATF at RAF Benson, different nations often train in a collaborative enterprise that shares training assets and addresses the immediate training need in a cost-effective way. But, they also bring the intangible benefits through the relationships they are built upon – a classic ‘win-win’ situation. In the live-flying environment, for nations with small numbers of trainees, it also makes complete sense simply because of affordability. And in the future, this model can be as relevant for remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) as it is for manned platforms, and distributed virtual training will become more commonplace among coalition partners. CAE’s role as a TSI positions us perfectly to be the training partner of choice to our government customers.

HOW DO THESE RELATIONSHIPS HELP CAE TO IMPROVE ITS PRODUCTS AND SERVICES? As a major global company involved in training more than 120,000 crew members annually across the civil and defence sectors, we are in a great position to exploit our data and information to enhance our training solutions. The training environment has embraced digital media for some years, but we are now truly entering the era of digitisation where we can use ‘big data’ to provide objective and adaptive training solutions. This is exactly what we are doing at CAE’s new Dothan Training Centre for the United States Army, where we will graduate more than 600 fixed-wing ‘Generation Z’ aviators every year. WEBSITE


The Beech King Air B200 aircraft of 45(R) Squadron, based at RAF Cranwell (PHOTO: GORDON ELIAS/ © CROWN COPYRIGHT)


of standards assurance, has paid dividends with early acceleration of the pilot throughput to meet primarily Poseidon and Protector. Great work at 3 FTS has curtailed and accelerated training on the Tutor to allow streaming to fast-jets, multi-engines, helicopters or RPAS (Remotely Piloted Air Systems) earlier – this will reap dividends. Close 1 FTS scrutiny of Tucano, particularly as it edges closer to its out-of-service date, has removed historic and now obsolete training from the course and released some 15% of flying hours. The same too, at 45 Sqn on King Air, where ideas have centred on streaming to airlift or surveillance to offset even more of the conversion unit task and acceleration of rear-crew surveillance, acoustic, warfare and loadmaster training ahead of MFTS ramp-up. Excellent advances at 4 FTS continue to tune the fast jet syllabus on Hawk to better meet the Typhoon and, soon, the Lightning needs. And at DHFS (Defence Helicopter Flying School), the Snowdonia Griffin crash last year has forced a different training model on advanced helicopter training, but this has led to insights into contingencies that we may need to apply elsewhere in the next few years. In sum, innovation is everywhere, but we must leak this approach across to the new system as soon as we can. In facing our SDSR15 growth challenge, the Deputy Commander, Capability and the Managing Director of Ascent are examining a range of other approaches which could reduce any net uplift to the MFTS contracts – aircraft, bases, flying hours, personnel – to the


minimum. We already carefully scrutinise our approach against close Allies, notably the USAF at Randolph AFB, the Euro & NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training programme at Sheppard AFB, the NATO Flying Training Centre in Canada and the French AF training programme at Cognac AB. There is much to learn from all of these, all are at a similar point of reinvention and we are ahead of each of them, certainly in time, but also in philosophy and creativity... for now. We also very carefully track how commercial aircrew are developed – in time and cost – and continue to learn valuable lessons.

CHALLENGES AHEAD So, the MFTS model is at a critical juncture, midpoint in being fielded, where arguably the greatest challenges lie ahead. MFTS will deliver for Defence through our critical partnership with Ascent, whose innovative approaches, energy and pace to generate ideas, rapid experimentation and implementation will be real force multipliers. The nation has increasingly turned to UK military air power to protect and project its interests and this will be powered by worldleading military flying training – still at the heart of Defence after 100 years and with 100 years or more ahead. In sum, MFTS will set the foundation for the continued operational success of the RAF. These are the opinions of AVM Andrew Turner and do not necessarily represent the policy position, intent or plans of HMG, MOD, the RAF and Air Command


PARTNERS IN TRAINING THE NEXT GENERATION OF PILOTS that better replicates the aircraft used by the RAF’s front-line commands.


Tom Hammoor President, Textron Aviation Defense

WHAT SORT OF PARTNERSHIP DOES TEXTRON AVIATION DEFENSE ENJOY WITH THE RAF AND AFFINITY? Textron Aviation Defense has a longstanding relationship with the United Kingdom’s (UK’s) Ministry of Defence (MOD) and Royal Air Force (RAF), and has developed a strong partnership with Affinity Flying Training Services – a joint venture between Elbit Systems and KBR (Kellogg, Brown and Root). The partnership will deliver services in support of the UK MOD’s Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS) programme. As the RAF takes delivery of the Textron T-6C Texan II in 2018, they will also receive a broad array of engineering services, parts support and maintenance training. In addition, on-site Field Service Representatives will equip maintenance personnel with technical expertise. The UKMFTS contract further solidifies the relationship between the MOD, RAF and Textron Aviation Defense, ensuring the next generation of military pilots is trained on a proven, reliable and highly capable solution

The UKMFTS contract enables Textron Aviation Defense to further its commitment to the UK’s defence capabilities and worldclass military flight training. The T-6C Texan II is an affordable, highly reliable military flight trainer that replicates today’s high-tech front-line aircraft with its integrated glass cockpit, Head-Up Display (HUD), UpFront Control Panel (UFCP), three colour Multi-Function Displays (MFD), Hands-On Throttle and Stick (HOTAS), state-of-theart avionics suite and advanced synthetic air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons. As such, it delivers training capabilities ideally suited for meeting the full spectrum of requirements from basic introductory flight training to advanced mission training. The UKMFTS contract strengthens our support for the regeneration of the UK carrier strike capability and its cadre of aircrew and maintainers as the F-35B Lightning II works towards achieving initial operational capability in 2018.

WHAT BENEFITS DOES THE T-6C TEXAN II BRING TO THE UKMFTS PROGRAMME? The Textron Aviation Defense heritage of producing exceptional aircraft at extremely competitive prices, delivering proven reliability and achieving unparalleled support and readiness metrics is acknowledged worldwide. Currently, nearly 1,000 T-6 trainer aircraft are in service providing more than three million flight hours of initial training for all fixedwing pilots, navigators and weapons systems operators in the US military and

for more than 20 nations around the globe. Textron Aviation Defense’s ability to equip the UK and other nations with this proven and highly capable solution will ensure the success of the UKMFTS programme as it meets current and future RAF training needs and ensures future international security and integrated coalition operations through its front-line commands.

HOW IMPORTANT IS THE RECENT EASA CERTIFICATION OF THE T-6C? Achieving EASA certification for the T-6C supports the progression of our contract with UKMFTS and expands opportunities to deliver a proven military training platform to the European market. The T-6C’s

“Nearly 1,000 T-6 trainer aircraft are in service” highly capable training platform – further enhanced by Textron Aviation Defense’s exceptional product support – equips our customers with a superior solution for a wide range of mission needs.

HOW WILL TEXTRON AVIATION DEFENSE NURTURE ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH THE RAF IN THE FUTURE? As RAF training needs evolve in support of its front-line commands and the regeneration of the UK carrier strike capability, Textron Aviation Defense will deliver aircraft platforms and capabilities that ensure optimum affordability, readiness and reliability. WEBSITE


BAE Systems explains how industry works alongside the Royal Air Force and the Ministry of Defence to ensure that fast jets are always available when they are needed


W BAE Systems was recently awarded a five-year contract for the continued support of the Hawk T1 and T2 fast jets (PHOTO: BAE SYSTEMS)


ith a history that can be traced back almost a century, the partnership between BAE Systems and the Royal Air Force (RAF) is the product of almost constant evolution. Over the past decade or so, this partnership has deepened further, with industry and the RAF working together to ensure aircraft are available to secure our skies whenever they are called upon. This is evident today at RAF Coningsby and RAF Lossiemouth, where the blue-and-grey overalls worn by BAE Systems personnel are visible alongside those of the green-clad RAF crew supporting the Typhoon fleet; and is replicated in support of the UK fleet of Hawk training aircraft at RAF Valley and RAF Marham, where our fast jet support on Tornado continues. Martin Blaze, Aircraft Maintenance and Support Director, explains, “BAE Systems has gone from being a company which simply provides aircraft to one that goes beyond the production line to deliver a


solution that increases the availability of the aircraft. All this enables the RAF to focus on what matters most, whether that is a Typhoon responding on Quick Reaction Alert or a Hawk taking off on a training sortie to prepare a pilot for life in a fast jet cockpit. Support is part of our DNA today and we are now building on this experience with the UK’s current fleet to deliver the next chapter of this partnership, providing support for the F-35 Lightning aircraft which will arrive in 2018.”

TYPHOON AND TyTAN The past 12 months have seen the latest evolution of this support partnership with the award of contracts to continue our support on Typhoon, Hawk and the F-35 Lightning. Last year, BAE Systems launched the next generation of our support for Typhoon, the TyTANTyphoon Total Availability eNterprise (TyTan) service, a 10-year partnership with the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to transform support for the UK’s fleet. According to Richard Hamilton, UK Typhoon Delivery Director, “Our aim to drive out around 40% cost savings in support will enable the MOD to reinvest £500 million of those savings into Typhoon future capability, and ensure that Typhoon remains relevant, credible and potent into the future. Beyond that, we are setting the benchmark for fast jet availability contracting, as well as making our export offerings more competitive and compelling. Furthermore, the work we have done, and the work we are doing, is helping to inform the way the UK’s F-35 Lightnings could be supported in the future.” Hamilton continues, “TyTAN is an innovative contract that shows the benefits of enterprise collaboration between BAE Systems, Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) and the MOD in providing the taxpayer with value for money. Alongside this, we were also awarded a five-year contract extension to continue to provide in-service support for the UK’s Hawk fleet. This sees our maintenance teams working as part of the Hawk UK team alongside Babcock International to ensure sufficient T1


The Typhoon fleet at RAF Coningsby is kept ready for action thanks to BAE Systems’ engineers working alongside the RAF (PHOTO: BAE SYSTEMS)





Neal Misell Managing Director of UK Military Air, Babcock International

WHAT ARE BABCOCK’S CORE CAPABILITIES IN THE AIR DOMAIN? Babcock’s Aviation Sector is an aviation company that supports both our own and our customers’ aircraft fleets and airbases; we are not a support services company that happens to find itself in aviation. At a revenue of £0.9 billion, we are the biggest aviation engineering support business in the UK. We have just completed a strategic realignment based around our four core sectors – Marine, Land, Nuclear and Aviation – to make us more focused on our core offers and customers. We deliver a wide array of critical engineering and training services to defence and civil customers, ranging from technical training of advanced fixed- and rotary-wing pilots through our UK joint venture, Ascent, to air ambulance, oil and gas support, fire and rescue and police aviation. We support our own fleet of more than 500 aircraft, plus over 200 customer-owned platforms flying over 238,000 flying hours per year. For the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD), we support

over 70% of all RAF flying training hours. In total, we employ over 2,000 pilots in both civil and military roles.

partnership not only with the oil and gas majors, but with the passengers carried across the most inhospitable oceans.



Our partnerships within military aviation stretch back to 1915, when we were one of the early sponsors of the Flying Services Fund for the Royal Naval Air Service and the Royal Flying Corps. We are committed to the Whole-Force approach and we have embraced the opportunities to challenge and be challenged by our customers.

We have been delivering flying training, aircraft engineering and airfield services for more than 70 years and we support over 25% of all MOD rotary- and fixedwing aircraft. Babcock is a 50/50 partner in the Ascent joint venture with Lockheed Martin, which is responsible for delivering the UK Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS) through to 2033. Our key activities include the delivery of pilot training, flight simulator maintenance, asset management, multi-activity support services and equipment support to ensure that aircraft and their aircrew are always mission-ready. We employ around 1,800 highly trained and skilled people at over 30 aviation sites across the UK.

“We support over 25% of all MOD rotaryand fixedwing aircraft” We also have strong partnerships with OEMs, such as Dassault in France, Lockheed Martin within Ascent, BAE Systems for the Hawk, Rolls-Royce for the Adour engine maintenance programme and as a partner for the Voyager tanker aircraft. These are all testament to our ability to collaborate and partner, which is vital in the aviation sector. Our relationships with the diverse communities involved in emergency services aviation, especially air ambulances, further show how very high-readiness aviation can only succeed within a partnership. Moreover, the challenges of operating an air service to remote offshore oil platforms requires a


HOW DOES THE FRENCH FLYING TRAINING CONTRACT COMPARE WITH MFTS? We are absolutely delighted to have been chosen by the French Ministère de la Défense for FOMEDEC (Formation modernisée et entraînement différencié des équipages de chasse) which is a 10-year outsourced programme to deliver Basic Flying Training in the Pilatus PC-21 to the l’Armée de l’Air. Like UKMFTS, the French contract authorities have purchased a fixed amount of flying hours with a maintenance, infrastructure and a synthetic training solution to deliver a pilot training capability. We are excited to be starting this new contract and see further international opportunity for our compelling range of capabilities. WEBSITE


BAE Systems is leading a team to build the new facilities for the RAF’s F-35 Lightning fast jet fleet at RAF Marham (PHOTO: BAE SYSTEMS)

and T2 aircraft from the fleet of 74 aircraft are available every day to meet the RAF’s flying demands. This is done through our maintenance service at RAF Valley and RAF Leeming – the home of the UK’s Hawk fleet – as well as providing spares and technical support.” Mark Turner, Support and Training Director, reinforces this by adding, “Across our business, we are working alongside the RAF and our industry partners to help deliver a whole force approach to ensure not only Hawk availability but that the aircraft can deliver the required mission. It is about ensuring we are continually building on the strength and experience of each partner to deliver a safe and sustainable service delivery.”

ONGOING SUPPORT The final piece of the support jigsaw came with the award of two new contracts to support the F-35 Lightning, the next addition to the UK’s front-line air power. BAE Systems will lead a team of more than 100 skilled technicians, including their partners at Lockheed Martin, to provide engineering and

BAE Systems will lead a team of more than 100 skilled technicians to provide engineering expertise

technical expertise, deliver air-crew and groundcrew training, facilitate routine maintenance and help to manage the jets’ global supply chain. Based in purpose-built facilities that have been created over the past two years at RAF Marham by a team led by BAE Systems, these experts will ensure 617 Squadron – the Dambusters – has everything it requires from day one of the aircraft’s entry into service. This initial two-year contract to support the stand-up of facilities at Marham not only builds on our pedigree of supporting the Tornado fleet from the station, it also deepens our involvement in the F-35 programme. F-35 Support Director Steve Worsnip explains, “Our advanced manufacturing and engineering expertise has helped to develop the aircraft’s capabilities and this will continue as we ensure the UK is ready and able to use these capabilities to their full potential.” BAE Systems is also partnered with Northrop Grumman and the UK’s Defence Electronics and Components Agency (DECA) to create a repair hub. From 2018, this will see the partnership providing Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul & Upgrade (MRO&U) services on avionics and aircraft components for the European fleet of F-35 aircraft. Worsnip is excited about the future of this support package: “The award of this contract is further recognition of our advanced military aircraft support skills and capabilities, and we look forward to continuing to support the F-35 fleet both at home and abroad as it develops over the coming decades.” 21ST CENTURY PARTNERSHIPS AIR POWER 2017



Patrick Allen talks to Group Captain Phil Robinson OBE DFC** RAF, Station Commander RAF Odiham and UK Chinook Force Commander, about keeping the RAF’s Chinook fleet ready for operations worldwide


I The RAF’s fleet of 60 Boeing Chinook helicopters delivers tactical lift for all three UK armed services (PHOTO: SERGEANT DAVE ROSE / © CROWN COPYRIGHT)


n 2006, Boeing partnered with the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) to begin a Through Life Customer Support (TLCS) contract to maintain the Royal Air Force (RAF) fleet of Boeing Chinook helicopters that continues to this day. This successful partnership is anticipated to continue beyond 2050 as the Chinook is set to remain the mainstay of the UK’s heavy-lift capability for the foreseeable future. As Group Captain Phil Robinson, the RAF Odiham Station Commander and UK Chinook Force Commander, explains, “The Chinook has been in service with the RAF for over 35 years, and our partnership with Boeing has always been


there. It became really close from 2006 onwards, when we were heavily involved in Afghanistan and we needed to get as much capability as we could out of the aircraft in the shortest possible time. “There are around 1,000 Chinooks operational throughout the world and Boeing can reach into that global support network and access a wider pool of manpower. With the TLCS, we went from flying around 9,000 hours a year in 2006 to over 18,000 hours by 2012. We could not have achieved that without our close partnership with Boeing and the fantastic work undertaken by the Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) Agency at Abbey Wood UK. Without this partnership, we could not


support the diverse numbers of deployed locations that we currently undertake, as we now routinely deploy and support aircraft in at least six locations.”

INCREASED FLEET AVAILABILITY The TLCS programme provides depth maintenance, engineering technical support, supply chain management (including forecasting and procurement), aircraft and component repairs, modification services and publications management for the UK’s fleet of 60 Mk4/5/6 Chinook helicopters. In cooperation with the MOD, this has helped to increase the availability of the fleet, while simultaneously incorporating numerous fleet-wide capability upgrades and aircraft repairs. This close industrial partnership was expanded as the result of the MOD’s recent Whole Force Approach (WFA) concept, which now encompasses a wider engagement with industry across the board, with the Chinook TLCS programme being one part of a larger industrial partnership to deliver operational capability to the front line. “The Whole Force Approach for us encompasses not just contractors, but also our personnel, including Reservists and civil servants, as well as our regular service personnel,” says Group Captain Robinson. “It’s not a new concept for the RAF. If you look back at what we were doing in World War II, we

“There are very few lift tasks we can’t undertake” had a very close relationship between the RAF and British industry, and we are embracing that now. We are always looking for best practice, and we can learn from Boeing and Boeing can learn from us, so we can both continue to drive forward and achieve more capability, but also more efficiency as well.” Over the past decade, the RAF Chinook Force has been modernised with new avionics and cockpits for their existing fleet of 46 Chinook Mk4/Mk5s, plus 14 new-build Chinook Mk6s. This included a fleetwide upgrade to introduce a Digital Automatic Flight Control System (DAFCS), together with a Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), which has helped increase operational capabilities and reduce crew workload. “Modifications will continue so that our current fleet of Chinook Mk4s will be upgraded to become Chinook Mk6As,” explains Group Captain Robinson. “All this has been done in close partnership with Boeing. These aircraft upgrades will deliver to UK Defence 60 state-ofthe-art digital aircraft by the end of next year. This will allow us to deliver more operational capability in almost

all conditions. We can operate the aircraft better from ships or in very low light levels or areas of degraded visual environments, like heavy sand or heavy snow.”

The RAF Boeing Chinook Mk4s will all be upgraded into the Mk6 configuration within two years



As UK Armed Forces continue to transition and reorganise from counter-insurgency (COIN) to rapidreaction global contingency operations, the RAF Chinook Force is pivotal in providing the lift to support these multirole operations on land and at sea, as part of the UK’s Joint Force 2025 concept. This will be particularly significant for the UK’s Carrier Enabled Power Projection vision when the new warships enter service later this decade. “We provide the lift for UK defence, both ashore and embarked, including future operations from the Royal Navy’s new Queen Elizabethclass (QEC) aircraft carriers – HM Ships Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales. There are very few lift tasks we can’t undertake, and we train regularly alongside the British Army and Royal Marines to operate globally in a wide range of operational environments.”

A Chinook Helicopter of 18 Squadron prepares to embark troops for a move across the Hohenfels training area in Germany (PHOTO: CORPORAL ANDY REDDY RLC/ © CROWN COPYRIGHT)




MBDA offers an insight into two key RAF air-to-surface precision munitions – the Brimstone spiral upgrade and the SPEAR development programme


M Although designed specifically for the F-35, SPEAR can be deployed by Typhoon alongside the Brimstone airto-ground missile (PHOTO: MBDA)


BDA has a long history providing cutting-edge capability to the Royal Air Force (RAF). The high tempo of recent operations has demanded rapid advances in the air-to-ground domain, with MBDA meeting the challenge through the spiral upgrade of weapons such as Brimstone – work that is providing the foundations for the RAF’s next generation of high-precision strike capability with SPEAR (Select Precision Effects at Range). Originally designed as an all-weather fireand-forget weapon to counter massed armoured formations, Brimstone has evolved into the one of, if not the most, versatile weapons in the RAF’s arsenal. Today, Brimstone is a unique precision attack weapon, robust enough to be carried from fast jets and able to be used under very tight rules of engagement due to its high accuracy and very low collateral damage, while also able to strike the most challenging fast-moving and manoeuvrable targets.


Since entering service with the RAF in 2005, Brimstone has undergone a spiral upgrade programme that has radically broadened its capabilities. Soon after the millimetric wave (mmW) radar-guided version entered RAF service, MBDA completely overhauled Brimstone as an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) for use in Afghanistan and Iraq. With Brimstone’s target set now significantly more varied than simply armour, the addition of man-in-the-loop control and semiactive laser (SAL) seeker guidance became imperative. Rapidly developed by MBDA and put into service in fewer than three years, the new dual-mode seeker was – and remains – the most advanced combined mmW and SAL seeker anywhere in the world. The new dual-mode Brimstones rapidly proved their worth in UK operations, giving the RAF an unprecedented ability to hit challenging targets in urban environments. After widespread use of Brimstone in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) placed a second UOR order for the conversion


of further Brimstones with the dual-mode seeker, as well as an upgrade for the seeker itself. Having proven its value on operations, the MOD decided to bring the dual-mode capability into its core equipment programme and convert single-mode Brimstones to the new dual-mode seeker. At the same time, the RAF opted to increase Brimstone’s performance envelope and replace the existing warhead and rocket motor with insensitive munition (IM)-compliant versions. This latest version of Brimstone entered service in May 2016.

For F-35, the weapon will be mounted on a launcher that will enable four munitions to be carried in each bay alongside another weapon such as Meteor. SPEAR is equipped with a multi-spectral seeker, linked with a multiple-effects warhead. Where SPEAR differs from glide weapons is that MBDA has equipped SPEAR with a small turbojet motor, along with its sophisticated guidance system, wing kit and actuators. The turbojet is a key benefit, providing the warfighter with significant advantages when deploying the weapon.

Brimstone’s spiral upgrade history has seen the missile continually evolve in response to operational needs Brimstone’s spiral upgrade history has seen the missile continually evolve in response to operational needs. A Capability Sustainment Programme is planned for Brimstone that will see the production of new-build Brimstones to replenish RAF stocks and support export needs. The new-build missiles will include all of the enhancements introduced under the Brimstone spiral upgrade programme. In addition, these new Brimstones will see the areas as yet untouched by the spiral upgrade, such as the missile’s Central Processing Unit (CPU), updated. These updates will provide some natural performance enhancements and will future-proof the missile so it is ready for the next round of capability upgrade programmes. The future spiral upgrade programme sees Brimstone set to remain in service until beyond 2040, and will support the missile’s use from platforms such as Apache, Protector and Typhoon. The need for greater range and capability in the air-to-ground mission has been recognised for a number of years. Most direct-fire weapons have relatively short range and the array of glide bomb weapons are not providing adequate time to target, time on target and end-game performance capabilities – let alone the range – needed to defeat existing and emerging ground-based air defence systems. For this reason, there is significant focus on developing systems that can defeat the increasing threats. MBDA’s SPEAR air-to-ground precision strike weapon will meet this growing operational demand. Utilising and building on the best key technologies from the combat-proven Brimstone weapon, SPEAR is being developed to meet the requirements for a multiple load-out missile system for operation from fixed-wing aircraft. Initially, the weapon will be deployed on the RAF and Royal Navy F-35 fleet.

SPEAR will achieve greater range and speed compared to existing glide munitions, thanks to its turbojet (IMAGE: MBDA)

EXTERNAL FACTORS The weaknesses of glide weapons are that they tend to be operated in near line of sight and any deviation/ off-boresight launch reduces their range. Additionally, as glide bombs are unpowered, any adverse wind or weather conditions also dramatically reduce their range. Their lower speed, agility and range rapidly reduces the realistic engagement options for the pilot. Time-critical targets also become a challenge for glide weapons – they are often simply too slow to meet the needs of the modern battlefield. SPEAR’s range capability in any weather conditions is unmatched, as is its seeker accuracy and performance against moving targets. In the spring of 2016, a SPEAR missile was launched from a Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft. The aircraft was flown to the QinetiQ range at Aberporth, where SPEAR was successfully deployed. SPEAR is carried upside down, so at launch the missile must turn over, then deploy its wings, start the jet engine and then navigate a course to target. All these operations were successfully demonstrated during the trial. SPEAR will be available for integration on to fast jets in the early part of the 2020s.




The Royal Air Force has one of the most modern and technologically advanced air transport fleets in the world, with which it is able to maintain a strategic global reach. Simon Michell talks to Wing Commander Simon Boyle, who led the team that flew the A400M to New Zealand to demonstrate the aircraft’s long-range capability






aking any aircraft from its main operating base (MOB) and then flying it at considerable range over an extended period, is always going to be a challenge,” says Wing Commander (Wg Cdr) Simon Boyle. “That challenge is intensified when the aircraft is still in its entry into service stage.” The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating, and the need to demonstrate that the Royal Air Force’s (RAF’s) newest strategic and tactical transport aircraft, the Airbus A400M Atlas, is fit for purpose was one of the main reasons why Wg Cdr Si Boyle and his team flew one to New Zealand and Australia in the spring of 2017. To make best use of the transit, the crew was tasked with a series of important jobs to do along the way. These additional tasks determined the route and the cargo on the outbound leg. With everything planned and ready to go, the Wg Cdr

and his crew departed on Thursday 16 February for their 30,000-mile, 25-day global mission. For such a long-range trip, the Atlas crew consisted of five pilots from 70 Squadron, including a recently qualified ab initio pilot. In fact, he was the first pilot on the Atlas Force to arrive straight from flying training. In addition to the pilots, two crewmen supervised cargo hold operations, ably supported by an Air Movements team and four members of the RAF Police, responsible for the security of the aircraft and its payload during the task. And, in order to ensure that the aircraft remained serviceable, there was a five-man engineering team, comprising four RAF engineers from 70 Sqn and one Airbus Defence and Space engineer. “The UK engineering solution for the Airbus A400M is a collaboration between the RAF and Airbus Defence and Space,” explains Wg Cdr Boyle. “In line with the Whole Force nature of our working practices, it is particularly important that we operate together on tasks

One of the highlights of the trip to the Antipodes was attending the celebrations for the 80th anniversary of the Royal New Zealand Air Force (PHOTO: SAC ROB BOURNE/ © CROWN COPYRIGHT)




SUPPORTING OUR PARTNERS IN THE UK AND WORLDWIDE importing/exporting economy serving customers all over the world. We are making a big investment to be able to support British companies and customers globally, and we have found customers are keen to talk to us and work with us, especially as we grow and increase our operating network. Currently, we are operating charter flights for customers to markets all over the world and we shortly plan to open a schedule network. In addition, we work closely with partners that enable us to provide specialist delivery services for outsize and heavyweight cargoes or shipments that are highly sensitive or complex due to their size,

Dmitry Grishin CEO, CargoLogicAir

HOW IS CARGOLOGICAIR DEVELOPING ITS PARTNERSHIPS WITH ITS CUSTOMERS? It is now 18 months since CargoLogicAir was awarded its Air Operator Certificate (AOC) by the United Kingdom (UK) Civil Aviation Authority and the creation of our headquarters at London Stansted Airport. For customers in the UK, this means they now have a choice of working with a British all-cargo airline. Although we are still a relatively new airline we have very experienced commercial and operations teams who have previously worked for other leading airlines so we have been able to leverage our combined customer contacts and relationships to very good effect. We also believe there is a strong will among many customers to support a British cargo airline as long as it is able to deliver the service quality and cost efficiency they require. The UK has not had a British-registered all-cargo airline for some time, which is surprising for such a major

“There is a strong will to support a British cargo airline” design or the conditions they need to maintain during transportation. This means we have many opportunities to develop partnerships with our customers because we can offer a range of transportation solutions.

WHAT ARE THE KEY HIGHLIGHTS OF THE CARGOLOGICAIR FLEET AND WHAT ENHANCEMENTS TO THE FLEET OR SERVICE DELIVERY ARE PLANNED? We now operate a fleet of three Boeing 747 freighters and are on course to fulfil our plan to have at least five 747Fs within our first five years of operations. Two of these aircraft are 747-400 versions, and at

the Farnborough International Airshow last year we also took delivery of our first 747-8F, a brand-new aircraft from the Boeing production line in Seattle. The Boeing 747 is a superb cargo aircraft and the perfect choice for us. It combines side- and nose-loading doors, which increase the scope of what we can carry, and we have the capacity to carry up to 135 tonnes of cargo on a single flight. The 747-8F is the latest generation aircraft of this type, with greater payload capacity over its predecessors and very advanced onboard temperature-control technology. This enables us to offer different temperate zones in the cargo hold – this is especially important for the movement of shipments such as pharmaceuticals, which need to be maintained within a strict temperature environment in order to protect their integrity for when they reach patients. Through our partnerships with other airlines, we can also source other types of cargo aircraft if a customer asks us to do so.

HOW DOES (OR COULD) CARGOLOGICAIR PARTICIPATE IN MILITARY AND/OR HUMANITARIAN RELIEF OPERATIONS? Our team have many years’ experience and expertise of supporting peacekeeping and humanitarian operations all over the world, so we have a great level of knowledge to call upon. This is a key focus area for us, especially with the advantage of being a British cargo airline with a modern fleet. We can offer a fast response in emergency situations, as well as support for longerterm projects. We are working to increase awareness of CargoLogicAir within the military sector and among NGOs to highlight the ready-made solution that is now available on the UK’s doorstep. WEBSITE


such as this. It was, therefore, great to have a valued member of the Airbus Defence and Space engineering team alongside us, and a New Zealander at that.”

SETTING OFF The journey began at the RAF’s air transport hub, RAF Brize Norton, with a relatively short leg to Keflavik in Iceland. The next stage was across the Atlantic to the east coast of the United States, landing at Washington Dulles International Airport. From there they flew the Atlas to Hill Air Force Base in Utah, before another hop down to Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, California. This was followed by a trip halfway across the Pacific Ocean to Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu, Hawaii, where the crew took the opportunity to showcase the A400M to a number of their American colleagues. The head of the Pacific Air Forces, General Terrence J O’Shaughnessy, also took time out to come and chat to the crew and examine the aircraft. On leaving the US, they headed south to Nadi International Airport in Fiji, and then further down to Wellington in New Zealand – the furthest south an A400M has been.

The New Zealand leg of the tour was very important in terms of maintaining close partnerships with a key ally, especially as the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) was celebrating its 80th anniversary. “We undertook a substantial number of TV and radio interviews to explain why we had come to support our RNZAF colleagues during their 80th anniversary

Wg Cdr Simon Boyle at the controls of the A400M Atlas (PHOTO: © CROWN COPYRIGHT)

The New Zealand leg of the tour was very important in terms of maintaining close partnerships with a key ally celebrations. We were also able to fly several members of the RNZAF on board Atlas and meet many members of the general public,” recalls Wg Cdr Boyle. “Our final night was spent at RNZAF Base Auckland, where we were very well looked after by the team 21st CENTURY PARTNERSHIPS AIR POWER 2017



from the RNZAF’s 40 Squadron, who operate their aircraft in a similar air mobility role. The following morning, via a training approach at Hobart, Tasmania, we flew the aircraft into Avalon, near Melbourne.” The Atlas transport aircraft left RAF Brize Norton with a payload of about 16 tonnes of assorted military equipment and stores, just under five tonnes of which were delivered to UK armed forces enduring rigorous training exercises near Hill Air Force Base in Utah. Another eight tonnes were offloaded in San Diego at North Island, in support of elements of the British Army’s training programme. Having dropped off the stores, the Atlas was later loaded up with about two tonnes of freight from another exercise that had been taking place in Australia.

TESTING PROCEDURES Apart from supporting the UK Defence Exercise programme, the deployment helped to further validate RAF procedures for operating the A400M Atlas globally; not just in terms of the aircrew – pilots and crewmen – but also RAF movements staff responsible for organising freight carriage. In addition, it helped the RAF stress-test their engineering procedures, both in maintaining the aircraft at considerable range from the MOB and in terms of the support structure back in the UK, which helped ensure that they successfully completed all their tasks. But that was not all the trip achieved, as Wg Cdr Boyle explains: “In addition to building valuable experience supporting defence tasking, it was a fantastic opportunity to visit Australia and New Zealand to reinforce our long-standing friendship

Wg Cdr Simon Boyle and his crew gave interviews to local media during the course of their trip (PHOTO: WG CDR ROGER FLYNN/ © CROWN COPYRIGHT)

The deployment helped to further validate RAF procedures for operating the A400M Atlas globally and partnership with both air forces. We were also delighted to be able to support the head of the RAF, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, while he was visiting Australia and New Zealand.” The stopovers in the United States, New Zealand, Australia and Indonesia were ideal opportunities to showcase the A400M. These locations gave Wg Cdr Roger Flynn, who accompanied the crew on the task, a chance to promote the aircraft on behalf of the DIT DSO (Department for International Trade Defence and Security Organisation) by briefing their senior political and military staff on the roles and capabilities of the aircraft.



“The A400M, as an Airbus aircraft, has a significant UK aerospace industry contribution, and any overseas sales will benefit the UK’s economy,” says Wg Cdr Flynn. “Media facilities were arranged at each location and the aircraft was on display at both the Ohakea Air Tattoo in New Zealand and the Avalon Airshow in Australia, to be viewed by more than 9,000 members of the public and many visiting air forces from all over the world.” He adds, “Elements of the technologically advanced composite materials used in A400M manufacture are made in the UK, as are the wings. Additionally, Rolls-Royce is one of the major collaborative partners in the manufacture of the A400M TP400-D6 engines, as part of Europrop International. We recognise that we also have a responsibility to support our industry partners, as per the 2015 National Security Strategy objective three – promoting UK prosperity.”

FINAL STOPOVERS Having attended the Avalon Airshow, the crew made their way back home via a further potential A400M customer country – Indonesia – which generated significant interest from the country’s media. Malaysia followed, including a valuable opportunity to share A400M operating experiences with the crew’s Malaysian A400M Squadron colleagues. Finally, they set off over the Indian Ocean to the Middle East and across Europe, before touching back down in the UK on Sunday 12 March.



Colon Miller Global Director, Government, Humanitarian, Peacekeeping & Defense, Volga-Dnepr Group

HOW DOES THE VOLGADNEPR GROUP PARTICIPATE IN MILITARY AND/OR HUMANITARIAN RELIEF OPERATIONS? As Volga-Dnepr has been a CARB (Commercial Aviation Review Board) and DOD Certified Carrier since 2000 we are able to support the airlift requirements of US Military, NATO and NATO Partner nations on a global scale. We also provide services to the US Department of State to complement its services supporting military operations all over the world, and the airline employs experts with both governmental and military backgrounds to ensure we fully understand what our customers need.

range of cargo delivery solutions we can offer. Working together as early as possible in the planning process is also very important for both parties because it gives us more time to explore how we can reduce costs for our customers using our full fleet and service capabilities. Most recently, we have established operating bases around the world to improve aircraft availability when a fast response is required and to reduce aircraft repositioning costs. This also increases the opportunities for customers to come and see our aircraft and learn more about their capabilities. We also regularly consult with customers in one-to-one meetings or tailored conferences and workshops to discuss and solve their supply chain challenges, including the provision of complete project management solutions.

HOW DOES THIS HELP THE VOLGA-DNEPR GROUP DEVELOP ITS CARGOHANDLING ACTIVITIES? By identifying the customer’s needs and concerns we build solutions to address them. We have numerous examples of bespoke solutions that were created to solve challenging issues in projects that required out-of-the-box thinking and a unique approach. Such solutions have been subsequently re-applied for other

projects. This can cover anything from new methods of loading and offloading to the creation of bespoke loading equipment or using a combination of charter and schedule operations to deliver the most cost-efficient service.

WHAT ARE THE KEY HIGHLIGHTS OF THE VOLGADNEPR GROUP FLEET? We have a unique cargo fleet, including the world’s biggest fleet of 12 An-124100 ramp-loading freighters. We also have five modernised ramp-loading IL-76TD-90VD freighters, which like the An-124-100 have on-board cranes and winches to facilitate cargo loading. This makes the aircraft highly self-sufficient on the ground as there is less need for additional ground handling equipment. Our total Group fleet also includes 17 Boeing 747 freighters – including 10 of the latest 747-8Fs – and three smaller Boeing 737-400Fs. This gives us a payload range of between 20 and 135 tonnes and the ability to offer unique solutions for the most complex, outsize and heavyweight cargoes as well for general cargo shipments that require scheduled or charter services. Having such a diverse aircraft fleet also enables us to mix aircraft types for projects, which can be highly cost-efficient for our customers.

HOW IS THE VOLGA-DNEPR GROUP DEVELOPING ITS PARTNERSHIPS WITH ITS CUSTOMERS? The real key for us is to consistently engage with our customers to gain the best understanding of their logistical and airlift requirements and challenges, and to ensure they are aware of the full

A Volga-Dnepr Airlines An-124-100 rushes US firefighting helicopters to Chile



Each summer, the most evocative shapes seen in the skies over Britain are the aircraft of the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year



AF Coningsby in Lincolnshire is home to the RAF’s most modern operational combat aircraft, the Eurofighter Typhoon, but it is also the proud home of the service’s oldest combat aircraft, which belong to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. Occupying full-time appointments are Squadron Leader Andrew Millikin, the BBMF’s commanding officer, and Flight Lieutenant Antony Parkinson, the operations officer, both of whom fly Spitfires and Hurricanes. All other aircrew are volunteers, including about nine more pilots, as well as a team of navigators, flight engineers and air loadmasters. At work in the BBMF hangar at Coningsby is a dedicated full-time ground crew of 30 engineers,

The Avro Lancaster of the BBMF undergoing heavy maintenance by the Aircraft Restoration Company at Duxford (PHOTO: AIRCRAFT RESTORATION COMPANY)



including five full-time reservists supervised by a senior engineering officer in the rank of warrant officer. These tradesmen are drawn from the mechanical and avionics specialisations and handle the intricacies of 12-cylinder Rolls-Royce engines, old-generation aircraft hydraulic and electrical systems, and fabriccovered control surfaces. The HQ staff consists of a flight operations officer and flight operations assistant, as well as a team of three people handling administration and publicity. The Visitor Centre is run by Lincolnshire Council, and tours can be arranged into the hangar to see the aircraft close-up. Throughout 2017, more than 1,000 aircraft appearances are scheduled at places as far apart as the Channel Islands and Northern Ireland. The BBMF flies displays at air shows, commemorative events and state occasions, where they are seen by an estimated 10 million people each year, together with thousands more who see them during carefully planned aircraft transits across Britain. The busy schedule usually includes appearances at 100 air shows and displays and more than 300 fly-pasts. Occasionally, the Lancaster bomber is accompanied by a Spitfire and Hurricane; sometimes a solo fighter is deployed or the Dakota transport aircraft is sent out on display. Earlier this year, Squadron Leader Millikin announced a new style of formation: the Lancaster being accompanied by four fighters displaying at three venues. “This will feature a four-ship tail chase and [synchronized] display. It will be a unique spectacle and one well worth catching,” he says.


The BBMF can be traced back to 11 July 1957, after the last of the RAF’s operational piston-engine fighters and bombers had almost succumbed to scrap. As extinction loomed, a single remaining Hurricane (LF363) and three Rolls-Royce Griffon-powered Spitfires were collected together at Biggin Hill, for possible ceremonial purposes, to become what was known as the Historic Aircraft Flight. Not all these fighters could be retained and lean years followed, with sometimes only two aircraft being on strength as the flight was moved from station to station. The first Merlin-engine Spitfire, an Mk V serial (AB910), came from industry in 1965. Another early Spitfire was donated, a true 1940 Battle of Britain veteran in the form of a Mk IIA (P7350), which joined in 1968. The following year, the collection of aircraft had officially become the BBMF. A second Hurricane (PZ865) was presented by industry to the RAF in 1972, and in 1973 an Avro Lancaster (PA474), a rare survivor once destined for a museum, joined the BBMF after being restored to flight. A Douglas Dakota (ZA947) came as a support, training and display aircraft in 1993. There are also two de Havilland Chipmunk trainers that are deployed to give pilots familiarity with the tailwheel configuration of the BBMF’s aircraft. The Flight’s commemorative purpose is not only to mark the victory at the Battle of Britain, but also wider RAF operations. For this reason, the markings and squadron code letters of the aircraft are frequently changed to represent different aircrew and squadrons. At various times, the colours of

aircraft of South East Asia Command, the Desert Air Force, and markings for D-Day operations have been carried. Markings have represented aircraft flown by wartime pilots from Canada, Czechoslovakia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States. When the Flight’s Avro Lancaster emerged this year from major maintenance work by the Aircraft Restoration Company at Duxford, it was carrying two different sets of markings. On the starboard side, it had markings for 50 Squadron, representing the crew of

Perhaps the most well known of all British fighter aircraft, the Supermarine Spitfire has been in the BBMF since its inception (PHOTO: SAC GRAHAM TAYLOR / © CROWN COPYRIGHT )

The busy schedule includes appearances at 100 air shows and more than 300 fly-pasts Flying Officer Dougy Millikin, grandfather of the current boss. On the port side it had the codes of a 460 (Royal Australian Air Force) Squadron aircraft, with nose art picturing a kangaroo playing bagpipes, reflecting the nationalities of the crew in July 1943. The Flight’s Mk XVI Spitfire (TE311) is now painted to represent the personal aircraft of the commanding officer of No 131 (Polish) Wing, Group Captain Aleksander Gabszewicz, during 1945. In contrast, the Mk XIX Spitfire (PS915) has been finished in silver, with the codes of a Hong Kong-based photo reconnaissance aircraft that achieved a record-breaking altitude for a Spitfire. 21ST CENTURY PARTNERSHIPS AIR POWER 2017



The Royal Air Force is adapting to protect its systems against growing cyber threats, as Air Commodore John Wariner, air officer commanding RAF A6 (Air Computers and Information Systems), tells Simon Michell


T The RAF has taken a new approach to cyber defence, bringing together the skills and expertise of all its people (PHOTO: © CROWN COPYRIGHT)


he relative ease and anonymity afforded to those who wish to do harm to UK military operations make cybersecurity an evergrowing, dual-pronged problem. On the one hand, there are state-sponsored cyberattack capabilities and, on the other, the equally significant threat from disaffected employees, lone wolves and bedroom hackers. Added to that, there are well-meaning professionals who lack the skills or discipline to ensure systems remain secure. Whether it be clicking a link in a phishing email or plugging an infected device into a system, the consequences can range from inconvenience, through to unnecessary resource drain, to full system compromise. Beyond direct attacks on military personnel and infrastructure, the defence industrial supply chain is also a lucrative target. This serves to demonstrate the importance of Defence Standard 05-138 – Cyber Security for Defence Suppliers – issued on 21 August 2015, which provides guidance for the levels of cyber


protection required by defence suppliers. Attacks on the supply chain may be as simple as criminal activity for financial gain, or as sophisticated as long-term espionage designed to gain an understanding of, and acquire information about, defence equipment and systems that threatens to expose or nullify military capability advantage before platforms even enter service. The recent study by PwC and BAE Systems on Advanced Persistent Threat 10 (APT10) – Operation Cloud Hopper – offered a valuable insight into the potentially strategic significance of cyberattacks. And if further proof of the potential strategic effects of a cyberattack is needed, the May 2017 ransomware attack that caused global havoc (including to the UK’s National Health Service) provides a salutary example.

ALARMING SPEED AND SCALE It is not just that cyberspace is a relatively new domain, rather it is the speed and size of impact that is so challenging. During the Cold War, sometimes enormous efforts were needed to acquire very small nuggets of information. Nowadays, masses of information can be exfiltrated in an instant, without the cost (both resource and human) associated with Cold War espionage. Moreover, the alarming speed and scale removes the time and space in which to mitigate any potential impact. “We recognise the ever-increasing use of, and dependency upon, cyberspace, not only within the military, but nationally. Therefore, cyber operations are an essential part of integrated operations planning,” says Air Commodore (Air Cdre) John Wariner, A6 Force Commander, the man who safeguards the RAF’s air computers and information systems. He continues, “The cyber defence challenge is not new to the RAF. However, due to its ubiquity we have taken a new approach that amalgamates the skills and knowledge of a number of specialisations to address the numerous attack vectors open to any potential adversary. In doing so, it is our hope that the sum is much greater than its parts.”


Air Cdre Wariner also explains how the RAF has adopted a Cyber Protect Team construct across all of its aircraft platforms and bases. These teams are truly multidisciplinary, made up of users, administrators, and technical and security staffs across the range of different systems used. “The need is to understand our critical information flows in order to identify our vulnerabilities and to bolster our defences in the right areas,” he says. “Equally, it is not just technical means that assure our capabilities, but the importance of robust and practised business resilience and disaster recovery plans.”

On operations, the RAF protects itself through the deployment of expeditionary Cyber Protect Teams and a specialist Centralised Cyber Protect Team at 591 Signals Unit. The depth of Cyber Protect’s capability is tuned to be able to assure operations across the various steps of prepare, protect, detect, react, recover. “But,” says Air Cdre Wariner, “it is not only the RAF aircraft platforms and systems that we protect; individuals (regular, reserve, civilian and contractors) use personal electronic devices that increase the cyberattack surface through social media and other vulnerabilities.”

Identifying recruits with the potential to play a part in cyber defence operations is essential to enhancing the RAF’s rich talent pool (PHOTO: SAC LAUREN GALLOWAY/© CROWN COPYRIGHT)




AIR CADETS AND THE CYBER CHALLENGE Air Commodore John Wariner Air Officer Commanding A6 (Air Computers and Information Systems) explains the importance of Air Cadets to the evolving cybersecurity landscape We do not expect every Air Cadet to join the RAF, but it is our hope that by exposing them to our ethos and some of the challenges we face in the modern world that when they eventually go out in to the workforce, wherever and with whomever that may be, they will be a little bit wiser in what they do in cyberspace and the potential impacts of their actions on National Security. We also hope that their experience with the Air Cadet Organisation will have been positive and, as such, they will act as our ambassadors for the RAF within their future industries. With the RAF priding itself in being a highly technological Service, it is hoped that every Air Cadet will be inspired to pursue rigorous education, including further education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects. The youth generation has always pioneered the exploitation of new technologies and demonstrating new ways of working. These young people can adapt to the latest technologies in a heartbeat without needing extensive training. They learn quickly how to exploit the best apps, and will become the demanding customer that Defence must find ways of satisfying. Furthermore, they may force the generations before them into thinking differently and, to some extent, may ‘shame’ us into doing things in a more agile fashion. Good ideas are good ideas. It doesn’t matter where they come from. That includes Air Cadets; what is important is that each and every opportunity is seized so that we can gain maximum advantage in cyberspace.

RAF Air Cadets undergoing Cyber Training at No.1 Radio School, RAF Cosford (PHOTO: © CROWN COPYRIGHT)

Measures are therefore taken to ensure RAF personnel understand their vulnerabilities and are able to protect themselves, their families and their work responsibilities. Essentially, this means that the RAF has mainstreamed cybersecurity into normal operations, with everyone having a role to play. “The RAF takes a comprehensive, coherent and focused approach,” says Air Cdre Wariner. This is not something that has evolved recently without thorough thought and preparation. The RAF has always regarded information security as a key component of air power and has invested continuously in regular service signals/ cybersecurity specialists for more than 65 years. For example, 591 Signals Unit, founded in 1952, is the oldest continuously operational Signals Unit in the RAF. Furthermore, when the Joint Cyber Unit was first formed in its original guise as a Computer Emergency Response Team in 1999, the RAF embedded its specialists owing to the value they would give to wider joint operations. The RAF has continued to evolve and

The RAF has mainstreamed cybersecurity into normal operations, with everyone having a role to play 124


invest in this key capability area, resulting in a highcalibre and coherent contribution to joint operations. Warfare in the information age requires the RAF to recruit and train people to operate in and through contested cyberspace, regardless of their primary role. This is not easy, but the RAF has found that embracing the widest breadth of diversity and inclusivity reaps real dividends in cyber, according to Air Cdre Wariner. The mix of raw talent and different life perspectives – beyond what was traditionally an engineering discipline – into computer science gives the RAF a huge advantage.

IDENTIFYING POTENTIAL However, it is not just about the way the RAF recruits people; it is also about how it employs them. On the one hand, there are the millennials joining the workforce with their always-connected, social mediahungry approach to life, presenting both opportunities to adjust ways of working for greater benefit and a potential security liability. On the other hand, some of the RAF’s more mature network specialists are more cyber-savvy. Accordingly, defence is employing a cyber aptitude test to help identify those with latent potential, rather than solely relying upon those already qualified. In Air Cdre Wariner’s own words, “The RAF truly values a diverse and rich talent pool of personnel across its regular, reserve and whole-force workforce – not just in cyber, but right across the board.”


Air Commodore Frank Clifford, the Royal Air Force’s Force Protection Force Commander, and Justin Bronk from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) reveal how threats to aircraft on the ground are becoming ever more relevant to those tasked with Air Power force protection



s technology advances at an everincreasing rate, and with defence inflation seeming to keep pace, most modern air forces have become reliant on a smaller number of air systems, each of which possesses exquisite capabilities. How the Royal Air Force (RAF) employs the next generation of manned and remotely operated platforms in a constantly evolving threat environment will create a significant number of

challenges to all the supporting force enablers, including the RAF’s Force Protection (FP) Force. There is one constant that is, perhaps, even more pertinent today than it has been for previous generations. In 1921, the Italian air power prophet, General Giulio Douhet, observed, “It is easier and more effective to destroy the enemy’s aerial power by destroying his nests and eggs on the ground than to hunt his flying birds in the air.” With the advent of stealth technology, beyond visual range engagement systems,

The RAF Regiment was formed in 1942 to protect RAF aircraft and airfields (PHOTO: SAC PHIL DYE/ © CROWN COPYRIGHT)




becoming increasingly sophisticated and will operate in fundamentally different ways from their predecessors. Ignoring the capital value of the new capabilities, simply the number available means that each one has a significant value to the defence of our country, and their loss would be correspondingly damaging. Hence, to continue to generate world-leading air power, the RAF’s assets must be adequately protected on the ground.


The protection of aircraft on the ground is just as important as providing them with the systems that protect them in the air (PHOTO: SAC MARK DIXON / © CROWN COPYRIGHT)


decoys and countermeasures, aircraft are becoming harder to target and destroy when operating in the air. Both traditional and non-traditional adversaries have long realised that, when overmatched in the air, the best way to challenge for control of the air is on the ground.

LESSONS LEARNT With hindsight, we have all realised that the peace dividend heralded by the end of the Cold War never fully materialised, as the UK’s armed forces have since been consistently committed to operations around the globe. However, many of the lessons learnt during the Cold War in defending airfields, capabilities and people were put in abeyance as the RAF became more and more focused on expeditionary operations. With the relatively low-tech ground-based threats that the RAF faced in Iraq and Afghanistan, the need to guard against complacency in the emerging era is of the highest importance. The RAF’s capabilities, including upgraded current airborne platforms, are


The days of operating from ‘inside the wire’ and just dominating the ground outside is becoming an increasingly anachronistic model for protecting the force. Force protection is now a whole-force business; everyone in the RAF has a role to play. At the simplest level, it means: keeping our secrets secret, both physically and virtually; becoming more aware of our operating environment; and challenging individuals who don’t belong. This will go a long way to reducing the threat posed by those who seek to gather intelligence against us. Redeveloping an understanding of how to fight and recover an air base – rather than just operate from airfields both at home and away – is a key building block in enabling the delivery of air power in a contested ground environment. Truly understanding the environment, including the platforms, the people, the capabilities, the critical enablers and the threats posed to them, both in the virtual and physical worlds, is fundamental to the defence of the RAF. Understanding and countering the threat – be it posed by near-peer enemies or low-technology adversaries who may use modern technology in innovative, offensive ways – is key to the RAF’s force protection. Having agile, welltrained and equipped forces who fully understand the air operating environment is the main building block upon which the RAF can rely in meeting the Service’s force protection requirements. The RAF’s FP Force, made up of the RAF Regiment, RAF Police and the Military Provost Guard Service, has been constantly adapting through the years, always working in harmony with the RAF’s way of fighting from an air power perspective and identifying and addressing the present and emerging threats to its operational success. The FP Force, ably supported by other elements of the RAF – including fire and rescue, bomb disposal and cyber specialists – creates the backbone of both active and passive defence required on operations, both at home and abroad. The FP Force may have a simple mission that dates to meeting the threat enshrined in Douhet’s lasting principle about nests and eggs, but as the threats become more sophisticated and the operating environment grows more complex, the mission requires a next-generation force aligned to next-generation aircraft.


Group Captain John Lawlor, Chief of Staff of the Air Cadets, explains how being an RAF Air Cadet can open up opportunities, and how the Air Training Corps and Combined Cadet Force are acting as engines of social mobility throughout the United Kingdom



he term ‘social mobility’ may be a relatively new buzzword, but it succinctly encapsulates a basic human right, whereby an individual can find his or her place in society determined by ability and application, rather than the lottery or luck of birthright. The RAF has always prided itself on being a meritocracy in which ability and hard work enable progress, and the RAF Air Cadets proudly follow this noble tradition. Social mobility is defined by the government as “a measure of how free people are to improve their position in society”. The drivers of social mobility

encompass improvements in income, employment and educational attainment. It is acknowledged that higher levels of educational attainment or skills open up access to more education and training and to higher-level occupations and wages, which in turn contribute to social mobility. Restriction on social mobility for young people from socially excluded backgrounds is a key barrier to a more inclusive society. The Condition of Britain: Interim report by the Institute for Public Policy Research suggests that many young people do not have access to resources that could help develop their non-cognitive abilities (many of these

Experience of the disciplined aviation environment develops cadets’ confidence, respect and citizenship skills (PHOTO: PAUL GAPPER/ALAMY )




Air Cadet Flight Sergeant Iva Magpantay (right) was chosen as RAF Waddington’s Station Commander’s Cadet for 2017. Her predecessor is Air Cadet Flight Sergeant Ellie Sisson (left) (PHOTO: SGT MIKE JONES/ © CROWN COPYRIGHT)


young people will come from less advantaged backgrounds); their parents may be less engaged; their environments may be less structured and secure; and they are increasingly susceptible to fail at the same time as some of their more privileged peers are more likely to succeed.

BROADENING HORIZONS There are 950 RAF Air Cadet units in the community and 210 in schools across the UK, with 41,000 cadets supported by 16,000 CFAV (Cadet Force Adult Volunteers). Membership of the RAF Air Cadets provides opportunities for young people to develop personal, social and life skills, to broaden their horizons and to recognise their own potential. In addition, cadets and CFAVs can gain nationally recognised qualifications, such as BTEC, Institute of Leadership and Management and City & Guilds up to master’s degree-level, all of which enhance their employability and increases the opportunities for social mobility. The Cadet Vocational Qualifications Organisation (CVQO) had 3,500 cadets and adults from the RAF Air Cadets undertaking qualifications in 2015/16; this will increase to nearly 5,000 per year over the next three years, thanks to additional funding sourced from the fines levied as a result of the


Libor scandal. RAF Air Cadet units are open to all young people regardless of their social or economic background and all have access to the full range of cadet activity, subject to any medical considerations that may limit participation on safety grounds. The 950 Air Training Corps (ATC) cadet units are spread across the UK and are largely representative of the communities they serve. Many are located in urban locations mapped to areas of high deprivation, and these tend to be coincident with areas of high Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) populations – areas where social mobility has traditionally been more difficult to achieve.

AIR CADETS IN SCHOOLS The RAF Air Cadets in schools form the RAF sections of the Combined Cadet Force (CCF (RAF)) and currently parade in 210 schools throughout the UK. The Cadet Expansion Programme (CEP) will increase the number of CCFs in schools across the UK to 500 and RAF Air Cadet Sections to 230 by 2020. Most people associate CCF with public schools in leafy suburbs. The reality is – when the second phase of CEP completes in 2020 – 60% of CCFs will be in state schools and, with priority given to applications from state schools in cities and areas of deprivation


where the potential benefit is greatest, many will be in areas of high deprivation and BAME populations. Of those schools actively engaged in the approvals pipeline, 51 of 67 are in areas of high/moderate deprivation. Research conducted by the University of Northampton Research, Impact and Enterprise Department into the value of cadets to society shows that structured extracurricular activities, such as cadets, can help young people learn to control their behaviour and build their confidence and respect for others. A 2006 research report from the IPPR persuaded a former head teacher of a tough inner-city academy to set up a CCF in her school. In an interview with the University of Northampton research team, she reported the impact of the CCF contingent: “Those highly structured uniformed extracurricular activities, like… cadets can reinforce the feeling of family and team in a school… improve attainment by two to three per cent… these youngsters who left 10 years ago are writing about the impact it [cadets] still has on them; to me that’s the test of any school improvement initiative, not GCSE outcomes… some youngsters will slip down and then come back, it’s what’s in the core of them… the values and the behaviours, it’s partly resilience, it’s character, it’s determination, it’s all of those softer skills.” Also, from staff at a recent CEP school with a CCF (RAF) Section: “They love it when we get to fly, we might get 10 trips up a year, and during school hours, it’s brilliant… and [the] Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, all for £200 a year including their kit, of course they respond to that… and parents are very supportive, Pupil Premium kids, Free School Meal kids, kids with special needs, girls, boys, they all get a chance with cadets.”

INNER-CITY SQUADRON An example from community cadets that has had a demonstrable impact on social mobility is Number 31 (Tower Hamlets) Squadron. Born out of the London riots six years ago, it has grown into a thriving unit with more than 100 cadets supported by 12 dedicated staff. The squadron is located in a challenging, deprived high BAME area and has a high proportion of BAME cadets, reflecting the local community. The squadron is excelling; it was awarded the Prime Minister’s Big Society Award in March 2015 and, in July 2016, the squadron received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. They also received the Tower Hamlets Civic Award for Outstanding Civic Service, awarded in recognition of attracting cadets from all areas of the borough regardless of background, bringing social cohesion to the unit. In 2016, the squadron was awarded the Lees Trophy as the best of the 950 ATC squadrons in the UK. The squadron is closely integrated into the local community, from which it draws its cadets and

HEANOR GATE SCIENCE COLLEGE RAF CADET UNIT “Opening a Combined Cadet Force (CCF) unit offers great opportunities for students and staff to develop in confidence, gain new qualifications and take part in a wide range of activities and experiences that allow everyone to grow,” explains Miriam Watson, Director of Vocational Learning at Heanor Gate Science College (HGSC). The Derbyshire-based school set up an RAF contingent in September 2013 as part of the Cadet Expansion Programme (CEP100) – a governmentsponsored scheme to help 100 English state schools set up their own CCF units. Following rapid uptake, the programme has now expanded into CEP500 with a £50 million funding stream across the United Kingdom.

Cadets learn transferable skills that prepare them for employment (PHOTO: EAST MIDLANDS RESERVE FORCES AND CADETS ASSOCIATION)

“By being a member of the CCF, students have been able to take part in activities they would not normally have been able to do such as flying and shooting. They have also been able to develop new skills,” says Watson. “The HGSC cadets have also been shown a wider career path than they might have anticipated. The opportunities afforded by the CCF to visit RAF stations and to have visiting speakers has allowed the students to learn more about the careers available in the armed forces.” However, the CCF is far from a recruiting sergeant. As Watson explains, “The majority of our students have not chosen a career in the armed forces, but, thanks to the CCF, they are better prepared to compete in the jobs market due to the transferrable skills that they have developed.” A great example of this is the HGSC RAF cadet who has recently secured an apprenticeship at Rolls-Royce as one of 30 successful candidates in a field of thousands. Watson is thrilled by the progress of her cadets and encourages other schools to take part in the scheme. “The gains made by the students academically and pastorally means that this is an opportunity not to be missed.”

its volunteers. It has very close ties with local industry and business and receive significant financial support as a result. It provides a haven of order and a focus for development in an area of high deprivation, where teenage gang membership and all that goes with it is can be seen as the norm unless alternatives are available.

EVOLUTION OF THE ORGANISATION The RAF Air Cadets was not formed to be an engine of social mobility throughout the UK but, due to the experience it provides, that is exactly what it has become. Some would argue that this reflects the very genesis of the Corps back in 1941, when young men from every background were invited to train with the ATC as a precursor for service with the RAF in defence of the nation. That opportunity provided thousands of young men with the chance to enhance their life experiences, and the RAF Air Cadets is proud to enable the current and next generation to achieve similar life enhancements, be that within the armed forces or any walk of life that a cadet may choose. 21ST CENTURY PARTNERSHIPS AIR POWER 2017


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RAF Air Power 2017 – 21st Century Partnerships  

An official publication of the Royal Air Force

RAF Air Power 2017 – 21st Century Partnerships  

An official publication of the Royal Air Force