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Afghan ABM changeover!

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Afghan ABM changeover!

Old 8th Dec 2009, 20:03
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Thumbs up Afghan ABM changeover!

No 1 Air Control Centre return from Afghanistan, 8 Sqn to go out.

Ministry of Defence | Defence News | People In Defence | RAF Air Control Centre returns from three-year Afghan deployment

Spy planes heading for Afghanistan
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Old 8th Dec 2009, 20:29
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Come home one and all, meanwhile give 'em one for me..

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Old 8th Dec 2009, 21:05
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8 Sqn to go out.
There must be spending cuts coming......
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Old 8th Dec 2009, 21:29
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8 Sqn to go out.

There must be spending cuts coming......
So far this year I've heard of a mid-air between a Black Hawk and a Scan Eagle UAV (no one hurt), a mid-air between a Cobra and a Huey (4 killed) and an airmiss between a FJ and a MQ-1.

Is there an air C2 role in Afghanistan? Well this is from the USMC's wikipedia page - "MAG-40 has been reactivated as a composite aircraft group which will serve as the headquarters for all Marine aviation units heading to Afghanistan in spring/summer of 2009. The group will be located at an airfield in southern Afghanistan and will be made up of 50 to 100 aircraft".

From Camp Bastion Airstrip in Afghanistan is As Busy As Stansted - HMForces.co.uk ? UK's #1 Community: Army, Navy, RAF

As busy as Stanstead with 5,000+ movements a month!

So in answer to the question for air C2 it has to be "yes".


Last edited by Lima Juliet; 8th Dec 2009 at 21:48. Reason: [email protected] spelling!
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Old 9th Dec 2009, 22:13
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Ever Alert

In view of the great job 1ACC has done on ops over the past three years in southern Afghanistan, and as the only operationally proven deployable ground-based air surveillance and control capability fielded by a European NATO nation, I sincerely hope that the rumours of next week's homecoming parade also being a farewell are false.

Congrats to all at 1ACC,

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Old 10th Dec 2009, 17:41
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Couldn't agree more - 1ACC have done a fab job in Afghanistan and I hope that this is not a farewell parade.

I hope that 8 Sqn has an equally successful time in Afghanistan and that their contribution is as significant if not more with their enhanced capability.

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Old 10th Dec 2009, 18:20
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It goes against the grain for me to use PPRuNe to say something nice, but I think they did a frankly fantastic job out there. Very different from the worse than useless service provided by the Yanks to the North east.
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Old 10th Dec 2009, 20:08
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It was always good to hear a friendly Brit voice on the RT - we'll miss them!
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Old 11th Dec 2009, 11:03
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I agree wholeheartedly! 1 ACC did an amazing job for me, including one time when I had a 'pan' they vectored air support overhead until I resolved it safely at a PB on the ground. Cheers fellas, great work and sad I won't be hearing you again.

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Old 11th Dec 2009, 11:23
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From the second link at Post 1:

"Nato has identified a need for improved air traffic control," Mr Ainsworth said in a written ministerial statement.

"I have therefore agreed a Nato request to commit two Boeing E3D Sentry aircraft and some 200 personnel from 8 Squadron, Royal Air Force, to fill this role as part of our standing contribution to the Nato Airborne Early "

So why did 1ACC consistently spurn the offers of attached area radar-qualified ATCOs to do the 'keeping aeroplanes apart' bit while they did the 'point fast jets at the bad guys' bit?

I don't dispute the fact that they did a great job, but there are specialists for each role for a reason. Deploying 8 Sqn (or any airborne solution) will cost way more than leaving 1ACC in place as an enduring capability. If the inclusion of some air traffickers into the team to do the routine stuff eases the ABMs back towards Harmony in their deployment turn-round time then everyone wins. Otherwise it just looks like an ABM land-grab.

Last edited by orgASMic; 11th Dec 2009 at 14:11.
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Old 11th Dec 2009, 13:09
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'Spurned ATCOs'


That's an intersting spin; as I recall it, the ATCOs could never be identified to get trained and ATC-licensed on the kit at Kirton (your rules not mine) to then allow them to operate in theatre. Any idea of training them on the kit at Bastion was a non-starter as that was a/ being used for ops and b/ would have required additional FCs to be deployed to conduct the training.

Amazing that 8 Sqn is being deployed with 2 aircraft and some 200 bods to do part-time what 1ACC was doing 24/7 with less than 40 pers. While the greater radar and radio coverage from an airborne rather than ground-based platform is a given, that's still a huge cost increase for how much operational gain.

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Old 11th Dec 2009, 13:35
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not going to say too much on here however, the E3D is not being deployed to replace 1ACC.

WRT to ATCOs 'keeping the aeroplanes apart' whilst FCs 'pointed the fast jets at the bad guys', I think that would have slowed the process down with the effects of that being felt on the ground.

Some humbling comments about the unit (worth mentioning that most of the FCs were ERS from E3, Scampton or Boulmer) on here however, from a personal point of view, I was always in awe of the wokka crews who are doing an amazing job out there.

The only part of the tour that I hated was having to watch/listen to the MIRT wokka coming into the medevac pad. We were located far too close to that. Bloody good motivation to do the job right though!

The Harrier mates were pretty sharp too but, don't tell them that!
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Old 11th Dec 2009, 14:09
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ATCOs were identified (I was one of them) but no trg opportunities were forthcoming. At a visit to Kirton I made with Air Cmd ATC, it seemed that it was all a bit difficult to get us in the seat to familiarise on the kit amongst the ABMs' trg. There did not seem to be much of a will to make it happen.
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Old 11th Dec 2009, 14:18
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Other that transiting the AT guys, I don't think having ATCOs would have helped out there at all. Having another cog in the gears would slowed things down and there is obviously no benefit in that when dealing with a TIC. Remember that FCs hold all the flight safety tickets needed to keep a/c safely seperated. You would however, have been worth your wait in gold over at the Aussie CRC.

Had Helmand been airmiss central then, I think they would have drafted you in. As it stands, I don't think there were too many (although I did witness one corker that required me to drop my pen on the floor and spend 20 seconds looking for it...)
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Old 16th Dec 2009, 14:52
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What a waste of money!
Over 200 people to do part time what just over 30 were doing 24/7! (and doing well)
Lucky we're not facing massive cuts in the RAF...oh no wait

Surely the E-3D fleet should be the one facing cuts in PR-10, not other operational aircraft.
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Old 16th Dec 2009, 18:31
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According to the link in the first post (dated 8 Dec 09) 8 Sqn will be back by the end of Feb 10, so it is barely a 3 month deployment. So who takes over after that, other NATO E-3 assets - or is this a one off "surge" (to use the in vogue word)?
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Old 16th Dec 2009, 19:22
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Romeo Alfa,

I say again, the E3D is not going out to replace 1ACC infact, 1ACC would not be able to do what the E3s are/will be doing.

There is no connection with 1ACC coming home and 8 Sqn heading out.

If you don't know the set up out there, you don't need to know it.
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Old 16th Dec 2009, 21:09
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'infact, 1ACC would not be able to do what the E3s are/will be doing.'

I concur however, neither could 2 x E3D and 200 staff (if they were being used to replace 1ACC, which we both know they're not) do the same task that 1ACC (with augmentation, thanks again PP) performed 24/7 for 3 years.

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Old 16th Dec 2009, 21:30
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agreed. I would suggest that they would have been bloody handy during big surges though!

I raised the point in order to clarify that the E3D (not my cup of tea BTW) is not replacing 1ACC in theatre.

In terms of cutting the E3 force further, I can't see it happening. 1ACC are very likely to go IMHO despite doing a great job in theatre. Quite a large unit that was days away from being axed prior to Herrick.

I hope I'm wrong however...

P.S. Hope the homecoming, sorry freedom parade went well!

Last edited by Pure Pursuit; 17th Dec 2009 at 07:37.
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Old 16th Dec 2009, 21:44
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I wouldn't be too sure - nothing is sacred in this game at the moment! Also, don't forget that "No 7" was originally an "attrition spare", although, that was nearly lost a couple of years back during some high winds. Who said the "attrition" couldn't or wouldn't be financial??!!

From the rumours I am hearing about PR10 I believe 10% of all assets/manpower not on direct support to UK Afghan ops are "up-for-the-chop". Hence, we have heard about 1x GR7 sqn, 1x GR4 sqn, the MR2 and a bunch (2,500-3,000?) of "non essential" personnel to be let go under "natural wastage".

If you want security for the next 5 years then consider the following careers in the RAF:

1. RAF Regt - especially with EOD trg.
2. Chinook aircrew.
3. Reaper aircrew.
4. Image Analyst.

Otherwise, sadly, I believe you're in the "melting pot of doom" with the rest of us!

The B Word
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