IX(B) Squadron News Exercise Deliberate Distress

After six weeks of hard work, IX(B) Sqn are back after Exercise Red Flag, in Las Vegas. With that sadly behind us our focus is shifting back once again towards Afghanistan.

With the squadron due to deploy in May, all of the standard preparations are underway. This includes ground alert training for our engineers and work up flights for the aircrew to practise working with forward air  controllers again. Alongside these has come Exercise Deliberate Distress, a survival and evasion exercise to refresh the aircrew in the skills they would need in the unlikely event of having to eject in hostile territory.

The exercise comprised of various lectures in survival and covert movement in the afternoon, before a night exercise into the small hours of the morning. The lectures and practical demonstrations kicked off with the safety equipment team demonstrating the usage of the many items of kit they manage to stash into the base of our ejection seats. This was followed by camouflage, concealment and covert movement, with Flt Lt Brown-Ahern showing off his tactical prowess. Finally a practical demonstration of the survival radios we carry in Afghanistan by Flt Lt Swift.

The night exercise arrived, the moment that certain engineers have been waiting weeks, if not months for! It gave them the chance to act as a “hunter force” and try to track down the aircrew as they made their way covertly through Thetford Forest for 7km in the pitch blackness. This met with varying degrees of success; the Boss and Exec team led from the front, and Flt Lt Woody Woodsford led the charge for the Qualified Weapons Instructors!

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