On 25 April 22, XXIV Squadron successfully trained the first frontline Atlas crews in unpaved runway operations, operating from Geronimo Temporary Landing Zone in Louisiana, USA.
Pilots from Nos. 30 and LXX Squadron, were able to capitalise on the excellent training facilities at the Fort Polk Joint Readiness Training Centre as part of Exercise Tenax Puma, allowing pilots and crewman to hone a vital operational skillset. This success forms part of a wider Air Mobility Force exercise that will see A400M Atlas crews operate alongside C-17 Globemaster crews of No. 99 Squadron in a week focused towards shared learning and capability development.
Amongst the first to qualify was Flight Lieutenant Steve Reilly, who said:
This has been a fantastic opportunity for Atlas and a very exciting day for me personally. Having taken part in the 2017 Caribbean disaster relief mission, Operation RUMAN, I can see clearly how important it is to be able to operate from degraded or unprepared surfaces. I am looking forward to putting these new skills into practice as our operational and Exercise comments expand later this year.
Flight Lieutenant Steve Reilly
Wing Commander Stu Patton, Officer Commanding No. 30 Squadron, said:
This is a very exciting period for the Atlas Force. I am hugely grateful to XXIV Squadron, who have worked at pace to prepare our crews for this Exercise, and to train our team today. The ability to operate from unpaved surfaces is a vital component of Tactical air mobility, allowing us far greater freedom to deliver joint effects across the battlespace at the time and place of our choosing.
Wing Commander Stu Patton
Officer Commanding No. 30 Squadron
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