One Year of Exercise Swift Pirate
Heavy aircraft are a regular feature in the skies around RAF Wittering and Exercise Swift Pirate has completed its first successful year.
Memories of Mission Impossible first returned to the Station when
an RAF A400M Atlas aircraft
touched down last year, marking
the beginning of this important
No 1 Air Mobility Wing (1AMW) specialises in aircraft handling, passenger and cargo handling and the safe loading and unloading of military transport aircraft. 1AMW is based at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire but is part of the
RAF A4 Force, which has its headquarters at Wittering.
During Exercise Swift Pirate, RAF Wittering doubles as a primitive airfield in a foreign country so that 1AMW personnel can perfect the skills they need for deployed operations. The arrival of Royal Air Force C17 Globemasters and C130 Hercules aircraft give 1AMW the chance to work on strategic and tactical aircraft.
Wing Commander Stu Gregory commands 1AMW. He said: “We’ve been doing Swift Pirate at RAF Wittering for a year now and the
Station is an ideal place for this kind of fieldwork and live aircraft operations. It’s also only a short flying distance from RAF Brize Norton, which allows us to work through multiple training serials
in a short period.”
1AMW practiced aircraft handling (moving aircraft to the right position when landed) and loading and unloading. Between 60 and 70 men and women of varying ranks are involved in each deployment of Swift Pirate. Most
are training, with some directing
the exercise or adopting the roles
of enemy forces.
Wing Commander Nick Maxey, Officer Commanding Operations Wing, said: “This exercise has shown that Wittering’s airfield does offer more to Defence. It’s a concept we knew we could prove, and over the last year our team has most definitely made it work.”