Royal Air Force personnel from 903 Expeditionary Air Wing are working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to keep the aircraft flying in support of counter-Daesh operations. With the RAF currently operating at its highest tempo in 25 years, it is the skill and dedication of its personnel that keep its jets in the air. The Tornado Detachment work around the clock maintaining and preparing the Tornados for their missions over Iraq and Syria.
The Squadron’s Junior Engineering Officer said: “Our airmen are working 12 hour shifts week in, week out to make sure the jets are prepared for their next flight. It’s hard work but we all know how important our contribution is to the overall achievement of the mission.”
“Working on an older jet, like Tornado, can be tough but it’s a rewarding challenge,” said one Aircraft Technician. “I have worked with Tornados for five years and it's a great platform - really capable in what it can do”.
With RAF Tornados providing the Coalition with some of the most advanced weaponry and air surveillance, the Squadron’s tempo is showing no signs of slowing up. The RAF has carried out over 1,000 airstrikes as part of the Coalition fight against Daesh in Iraq and Syria and the personnel working behind the scenes make it all possible.
“It usually takes up to 16 people to get one wave of jets airborne,” said one Aircraft Technician. The team consists of Survival Equipment Specialists, Aircraft Technicians (Mechanic), Aircraft Technicians (Avionics), Weapons Technicians, Line Supervisors and Aircraft Maintenance Mechanics. The team works under the direction and supervision of the Junior Engineering Officer who has the final say on engineering decisions on the jets preparing for take-off. The team is on standby to provide quick reactive engineering support to the jets as the crews fire them up ready for take-off.
“Pre-flight checks can identify if there are any issues with a jet. All our technicians work hard to fix these as quickly as possible to keep the mission on track,” said the Squadron’s Flight Sergeant. The squadron’s technicians work tirelessly to prepare the aircraft for each mission, and nothing demonstrates their hard work more than watching a Tornado soar off in to the night skyline.
Editor: Flt Lt Laura McDonald
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