Air Forces Take to the Skies
- British and French jets have been practising their flying skills in the skies above northern England as part of Exercise Capable Eagle.
State-of-the-art RAF Typhoons and French Air Force Mirages were involved in the air component of Exercise Joint Warrior, a twice-yearly, multinational, tri-service military exercise, one of the biggest of its kind in Europe.
This year is the first time it has been commanded by a joint team of French and British air commanders, a move that paves the way for continued co-operation and training at a high strategic level.
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RAF commander Group Captain Johnny Stringer said:
“This is where we put into practice, and are tested on, all our core skills, and it allows us to test everything that we have integrated between the Royal Air Force and the French Air Force at Leeming over the past 8 days.”
Around 700 military personnel are deployed at RAF Leeming, exercising in conditions they could face in future real-life operations.
The exercise scenario replicated the challenges faced by an Anglo-French Expeditionary Air Wing as it helps an overseas power cope with rising political and military instability.
Tackling terrorism, maritime piracy and cross-border insurgency were a few of the challenges faced by the air wing.
Most of the ‘deployed’ personnel work in engineering, catering, transport, logistics and force protection, without whom the jets and other aircraft could not fly.
The RAF is fully committed to working with the French Air Force following the signing of the Lancaster House treaty in 2010 in which the Prime Minister David Cameron agreed a new era of military co-operation with the then French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
This rekindled Anglo-French partnership, initially forged in the skies over the Western Front in the First World War, was quickly put to the test a year later when the RAF and the French Air Force led a coalition to intervene in the Libyan civil conflict.
This success led to the RAF supporting the French military campaign against Islamist rebels in Mali.
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Source : Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)