Shiny Two! Advanced Tactical Leadership Course
Earlier this year Shiny Two, received the news of a short notice deployment, the Squadron had only returned from Afghanistan in November, so the news of a last minute deployment meant that feelings were mixed both at work and at home.
These were eased somewhat for those leaving when the location was revealed…we were going to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to take part in the Advanced Tactical Leadership Course (ATLC). World class training in a high intensity environment, and we were not staying in tents as was previously rumoured!
The task quickly began of preparing aircraft, spares, tools and equipment for the upcoming trail. With support from across the Tornado Force this formidable task was completed in good time. Having waved goodbye to the advance party, all that remained was to launch the Tornado GR4’s leaving the cold UK weather to the milder, sunnier weather of the UAE. In true II (AC) Squadron style, all jets trailed arrived successfully; securing the SEngO a 100% trail record!
Newly arrived on the Squadron, Cpl Dunne, the Squadron’s latest admin asset had a full on introduction to the Squadron by having to organise accommodation and travel arrangements for in excess of 100 personnel deploying to the UAE in her first week! Along with the rest of the Squadron admin team and Flt Lt Richter (the Duty Admin Officer) they pulled it out of the bag and the Squadron arrived at Al Dhafra Air Base, on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi just two weeks after receiving notice of the course.
The ATLC is designed to challenge the Aircrew with leading a multinational package consisting of up to 50 combat and support aircraft. Four crews were selected to be students on the course with the rest of the Squadron’s aircrew flying continuation training (CT) missions. The training for all the crews was excellent, and offered opportunities to learn and develop tactics from other nations, with support aircraft and airspace that we just can’t get back in the UK. As well as our Tornado aircraft there were aircraft from other nations, including France and USA, as well as intelligence support from Germany.
The students were given mission commands and plans were devised to destroy the enemy aircraft and air defences in order to prosecute the mission critical targets. The missions were short and intense but would test the crews to the max. The Aircrew on the CT wave received equally good training, often pitching themselves against the Americans or the French.
With a demanding flying programme and some arduous temperatures, the engineers worked hard through the nights and weekends to deliver serviceable aircraft each day. They enjoyed an excellent level of service from the Detachment Support Group, commanded by Flt Lt Smith, whose team ensured the maintenance of spares, serviceable ground equipment and provision of vehicles to sustain the detachment.
However, it wasn’t all work. During rest times personnel tried to make the most of their spare time and took part in paintballing as Adventurous Training. Others went go-karting, jet skiing and some of the more athletic amongst us went running around the Formula 1 Course at Yas Island, not easy with temperatures reaching 40°C! Some people took the opportunity to visit Dubai and watch the famous fountain display from the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world and a quick pit stop at Ferrari World was also worthwhile which sports the world’s fastest roller coaster, reaching 150mph in a jaw dropping 4.9s!
Overall, the Emiratis were outstanding hosts, offering a great location with unrivalled training opportunities focusing on scenarios that may arise in future conflicts. It was an excellent course offering fantastic training that enabled many of the Squadron’s crews to enhance their skills and importantly gain new qualifications.
Written By: Flt Lt Curtis & Flt Lt Christy