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Joint Warrior 16-2 / Noble Arrow(Leeming)

RAF Leeming became a hive of activity from the beginning of October with the arrival of two Swedish Armed Forces UH60 Blackhawks for there deployment for Helicopter Electronic Weapons Training the helicopters were based at Leeming and at least one would fly each day to Spadeadam spending all day on the range before RTB to Leeming of an evening.

Five days later Leeming welcomed the arrival of 13 JAS39 Gripens of 2 Sqn of F17 based at Ronneby & 1 Sqn of F21 based at Lulea. The Gripens were here to take part in exercises. The first being the UK lead NATO JW16-2 and although Sweden isn't a member of the NATO organisation they do take part in a number of NATO exercises on land air & sea. The other exercise running in parallel was Noble Arrow deigned to provide the UK with a Joint Force Air Component and in taking part gain certification as the air component for the NATO Response Force in 2017 with there performance being monitored by NATO command.

As part of their obligation to JW the Gripens performed in a variety of roles as aggressors (RED) and defending (BLUE), with taskings from Air Defence, reconnoitre / surveillance and ground attack, this taken place at Cape Wrath and Donner Nook.

The Swedish crews expressed pleasure at operating out of RAF Leeming as operating in UK airspace is quite different to Sweden, so flying within international airspace offered the younger pilots quite a challenge, as many hadnít flown abroad before. Also being so close to the execise areas has meant the can spend more time on task rather than in transit. They have been captivated by the landscape of the UK conducting a number of low level sorties predominantly in LFA17.

RAF Leemings role within the both exercises was to plan real time activities associated with the Swedish visit, making notes on the similarities and differences in the way they approach their daily operations. The bases 100 Squadron were also working in conjunction with the Swedish and the exercise in much the same way that they do on a daily basis, by operating in a mixed target facilities role, providing simulated ĎRed Airí services to the front-line as well as exercise support both domestically and to European allies. It also provides dedicated aircraft to support the Joint Forward Air Controllers Training and Standards Unit (JFACTSU), tasked with the training of all UK Forward Air Controllers.    

JAS39 Gripens  Stationed at Leeming for Joint Warrior 16-2 / Noble Arrow


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