RAF News

RAF Atlas A400M aircraft support military exercise programme

Royal Air Force Atlas A400M transport aircraft are increasingly supporting the wider military exercise programme.


A 30 Squadron crew from the RAF Brize Norton based Atlas Force has supported a recent deployment to Norway by delivering the ground enabling elements for future exercises to Orland Air base in Central Norway.

The exercise, was designed to promote interoperability and understanding of procedures used to operate within the Joint Expeditionary Force framework. The exercise will see the ground elements other supporting personnel conducting tests and meetings with their Norwegian counterparts ready to operate fast jets from the Norwegian Air Station.

This is the sort of task that is now very much a standard task for the Atlas Force, but the novel part of this sortie was flying to Norway in the summer to support an exercise rather than the winter exercise cycle. Orland is also a new Air Station to fly to for me.

Flight Lieutenant Gillett
Captain of the aircraft

The sortie saw the Atlas configured for passengers, with extra seating being added to provide four banks of seats down the length of the aircraft while still allowing freight pallets to also be loaded at the rear of the aircraft.

The Atlas Force are delivering on operations around the world daily.  Whether sustaining our forces and allies on operations in Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, or supporting wider Defence overseas activity, we are proud of the part we play. Missions such as this one to Orland ably demonstrate how the significant reach and payload of Atlas enables Defence to rapidly project war winning capabilities wherever and whenever they are required.

Wing Commander  Patton
Officer Commanding number 30 Squadron


This is a very important collaboration for us, this type of training enables us to operate together should the need arise, and that is exactly what this force should be able to do. Together we become stronger.

Lieutenant Colonel Mjelde
Head of the Operations Staff, Orland Air Station

The Royal Norwegian Air Force Wing based at Orland Air Station that flies the F-35A jet is the 132 Wing. This unit has its origins during World War Two and was formed in the UK when two Royal Air Force Squadrons, numbers 331 and 332, were formed from Norwegian personnel who had escaped the occupation of Norway and were then joined by two other RAF Squadrons.

After wartime service the wing was reformed in Norway in 1954 and began the process of converting to F-35 operations in 2017. Today the Wing consists of 332 Squadron together with a Testing Tactics and Training Squadron, but 331 Squadron will soon be reformed to fly F-35A jets after the retirement of F-16 aircraft from Norwegian service.