Royal Air Force ground support forces have come together to practise responding to major incidents in a conflict area that includes a near-peer adversary.
High-readiness teams from the RAF’s Global Enablement Organisation – made up of personnel from engineering, logistics, force protection, air security, air movements, communications and medical – took part in Exercise Auxilium Fort at RAF Wittering in Cambridgeshire.
The various specialists, known collectively as Force Elements, practised responding to varied threats including mortar attacks leading to a mass casualty incident, a multi-vehicle accident and multiple attacks to their base and convoys.
Commander Support Force, Group Captain Huntley, commanded many elements and directed the exercise. He said:
Exercise Auxilium Fort has been a fantastic opportunity for our people to develop both personally and professionally. Being prepared and ready is a fundamentally important part of our business and I am absolutely delighted with the quality and outcomes of this significant step forward in training.
Group Captain Huntley,
Commander Support Force
The exercise scenario had the Force Elements deploying overseas in support of enhanced Air Policing in a friendly country but with the potential threat of attack. Alongside preparing an airfield for aircraft operations, transporting and processing people and their equipment, and establishing medical and communication links, exercise personnel had to deal with local unrest, broken equipment, a fuel spill and attacks on their convoys and base.
The exercise culminated with a large-scale attack on the base, successfully defended by all the Force Elements before gunners from 1 Squadron RAF Regiment pushed the attack back and ultimately defeated the enemy action.
Learning how to do our job in an austere environment, with very little support from the outside world, and how to make the most of what you have in a situation was extremely rewarding.
Air Specialist (Class 1) McGregor,
Movements Specialist from 1 Air Mobility Wing
The exercise also provided the opportunity for personnel to train for warfighting as well as their specialisms, with a backdrop of combat operations involving a near-peer adversary in a ‘Contested and Degraded Operating Environment’ or CDOE – a difficult and austere area of conflict.