RAF Leeming News

Operational Training Centre Prepares Aviators for Anything

A New Year with a new Officer Commanding has got off to a flying start at the Operational Training Centre, where aviators from 140 Expeditionary Air Wing have been trained and prepared for their forthcoming deployment to Estonia. 

Personnel are briefed at the Operational Training Centre

Over the course of just a few days, personnel from across the Royal Air Force came together to form the team that will join of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission, in which jets patrol the skies, protecting allies and reacting to any incursions or incidents. 

Chefs from 3 Mobile Catering Squadron preparing for exercise meals

The Operational Training Centre (OTC) is responsible for ensuring they are prepared for whatever challenges may await overseas. Wing Commander Si Reade, who has served with the Centre before, is delighted to be back as OC. He said: “We're one of the few organisations in the RAF that build a team to go on operations. But we also teach leadership – we teach personnel how to work within environments such as NATO, we teach them how the different headquarters functions run so that when they're deployed away from home, they can run an expeditionary wing that might be reasonably small unit, or it might be an immense unit that's operating in a coalition setting. 

Combining multiple scenarios and roles, the OTC’s relatively small team of nine permanent staff relies on the expertise of the whole force to make exercises effective. Wing Cdr Reade said: “Exercise control provides the running of the exercise and the mentoring of the personnel. The Reservists have hundreds of years of experience. They may have finished in a regular force, but they joined the reserve force because they still want to be part of the RAF. They still want to give something back and their training and experience is, so valuable to the young men and women who are deploy on operations.” 

Media Training is part of pre deployment training

Pre-deployment training is designed to be as realistic as possible in a North Yorkshire setting – from the potential for emergency callouts to eating meals supplied by the always-inventive 3 Mobile Catering Squadron. Even after taking running many events, there are always lessons which can be taken into future scenarios. Wg Cdr Reade said: “You always have something different because you’re dealing with human beings, and everybody will deal with a situation differently. Even this week we've encountered things we hadn't necessarily thought of and we might go on to use that in a future scenario. The OTC hast a unique and exciting role and it's a joy to work here.” 

Connect with RAF Leeming