RAF Tornado Pilots Go Straight Into Action In Afghanistan | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

** Airborne 08.01.14/Oshkosh Day 5! ** HD iPad-Friendly Version--Airborne 08.01.14/Oshkosh Day 5 **
** Airborne 07.31.14/Oshkosh Day 4! ** HD iPad-Friendly Version--Airborne 07.31.14/Oshkosh Day 4 **
** Airborne 07.30.14/Oshkosh Day 3! ** HD iPad-Friendly Version--Airborne 07.30.14/Oshkosh Day 3 **
** Airborne 07.29.14/Oshkosh Day 2! ** HD iPad-Friendly Version--Airborne 07.29.14/Oshkosh Day 2 **
** Airborne 07.28.14/Oshkosh Day 1! ** HD iPad-Friendly Version--Airborne 07.28.14/Oshkosh Day 1 **

Mon, Jun 21, 2010

RAF Tornado Pilots Go Straight Into Action In Afghanistan

The Tornado GR4 Provides Crucial Reconnaissance

RAF Tornado pilots newly arrived to Afghanistan have already seen action over Helmand Province, providing support to coalition ground operations. Flying out of Kandahar Airfield the Tornado GR4 provides crucial reconnaissance of the country and is one of many coalition fast jets in Afghanistan that can be 'scrambled' at short notice to assist ground 'troops in contact', a term used when forces are under enemy fire.

Flight Lieutenant Ben Mark, part of II (Army Co-operation) Squadron, normally based at RAF Marham in Norfolk, arrived in Afghanistan at the beginning of June. He says his role in Afghanistan and the missions he has already undertaken is primarily in support of ground forces. "Today's task was just over three hours in the air, providing over watch for some British troops setting up a forward operating base," he said. "My job was to observe what was going on around them, to keep an eye on them and offer help if they needed it. From our height we are able to see the bigger picture of what is happening on the ground."

However, Mark said the previous day's mission was a much different situation. "A Forward Air Controller (FAC) out on patrol with United States troops asked for fast air support," Flt Lt Mark said. "We were tasked as the nearest available jet, so he talked us to his position, giving us his location and telling us what was going on around him. We could hear the bullets being fired and the nerves in his voice as he asked for our help."

As in this incident, almost all of the communication a Tornado crew will have is with a Forward Air Controller. They could be any of nationality, and are usually Army personnel who will have a good understanding of what air support can offer.

Getting the jet to where it needs to be is the job of navigator Martin Cutting. "Although we are armed when we fly, deploying bombs from the aircraft is always a last resort - we often carry out what is called a 'show of force'. Flying low and fast lets potential enemy forces know we are there, it's the noise we create that makes the difference. We can often deter the enemy from taking further action against our troops on the ground."

Flying alongside experienced personnel like Flt Lt Mark are crews on their first operational detachment such as Flight Lieutenants Chris Jenkins and Jamie Newton who have been on II (AC) Squadron for just a few months. Flt Lt Newton is a navigator. After his first Close Air Support mission in Afghanistan. "You overcome your nerves and use the adrenalin to stay focused," he said. "We were called to help check an area was clear of suspected enemy forces - we then had feedback from the guys on the ground that what we did was of great help - that gives me a real sense of achievement."

Pilot Flt Lt Jenkins added "It's been a real eye opener coming out here, there is so much more to what we do than you see in the news. We've been too busy to feel nervous, and it's great to be able to work with the coalition forces."

FMI: www.raf.mod.uk

Advertisement

More News

Innovative OSH14 Sponsor, iFlightPlanner, Provides Expert Guidance

What is iFlightPlanner? iFlightPlanner is general aviation’s most comprehensive suite of easy-to-use flight planning tools for private and corporate pilots. Featuring iFlight>[...]

Futuristic OSH2014 Sponsor: 'Beyond The Blue' - The Inside Story Of The XPRIZE

Meet Jim Campbell--Wednesday/Thursday/Friday, At Sportys Pilot Shop--Display Area #260A, At 1300 Each Day And Get Your Signed Copy of Beyond The Blue!!! To Aviation Journalist and >[...]

Airborne 07.29.14, OSH14 Day 2: Mooney Delivers, AEA ADS-B Bucks, Perlan Project

Also: Hartzell Accessorizes, Lycoming's 85th, New Continental Diesel, Pelton Intvw-Part 2, DeltaHawk Diesel Update Mooney CEO Dr. Jerry Chen handed the keys for the first new Accla>[...]

IMC CLubs Leads The Way To OSH14 Special Event Coverage

IMC Clubs: Building Instrument Proficiency Through Community When it comes to flying, there is no substitute for proficiency and training. And maybe nowhere is that more important >[...]

Electrifying OSH2014 Sponsor: Concorde Batteries

Concorde Charges Up Our Oshkosh 2014 Coverage! Concorde Battery Corporation has been in the battery manufacturing business for over 30 years and is the world leader in Valve Regula>[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus



Advertisement

Advertisement

Podcasts

Advertisement

© 2007 - 2014 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC