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Royal Air Force overcome the challenges of operating from Saudi Arabia for large scale multinational air exercise

The RAF Coningsby based Engineers currently taking part in this year’s Spears of Victory exercise that is being held at the King Abdulaziz Air Base in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have been successfully ensuring the deployed Typhoons are ready to fly.

RAF serviceperson speaking to people from other nations

The Engineers are mainly from XI (Fighter) Squadron and have set up a forward deployed facility at the Saudi Air Warfare Centre. Key to the Engineers' work is the small Ground Support System support team. This system captures data from the jet during the flight, and once the sortie is over the GSS team download the data to transfer it to a closed computer network. 

Engineers at work, with aircraft in the background

This network allows the Engineers to access the data and informs them of any issues that have occurred during the flight.

“The GSS system is critical for our work here, it is a bit like when you take your car to a garage and the mechanic plugs a computer into your car to find the fault, but that is a simplification it does so much more. 

The data from the GSS system gives us a detailed understanding of the jet and how it is performing.  This is the big difference between a modern jet such as the Typhoon and a legacy jet such as the Tornado that I first worked on. We are still the hands on engineers who have to carry out the maintenance and fix the jets, but it is the system that points us towards the issue”.

Sergeant Shaw
Rectification Controller

Servicepeople working in an office

During the exercise the RAF Engineers, have also been working with their colleagues from the other nations deployed. The Saudis and the Omanis are also flying Typhoons and are able to help each other solve problems. On the flight line the RAF Engineers have also been able to see how the other nations operate and work on their aircraft.

“A key element of Spears of Victory 24 is it gives all of the detachment personnel the chance to meet, and understand how other nations tackle similar problems.  Our expert engineers and specialist technicians are committed to continuous professional development and rehearsing practices in unfamiliar environments."

Squadron Leader Hodgkinson
UK Detachment Commander

Serviceperson sitting in cockpit with another chatting to him.

The exercise is designed to increase the tactical proficiency of all participating nations. Working together, the exercise develops participating nation’s ability to plan and execute complex missions together, in a contested air environment.

Service person working on aircraft wing