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Spadeadam

 Exercise Wycombe Warrior

On the14th & 15th September.  Exercise Wycombe Warrior was to provide a realistic coalition training exercise for the RAF, RN and Army aircrews and air forces of other NATO nations, whilst testing the UKís defensive command and control chain. All the overland flying would be being conducted in the main throughout the Southern region of Scotland Northern England, a significant amount of the flying was centered on the Electronic Warfare Tactics Range at RAF Spadeadam in North Cumbria, where aircrew practiced such techniques as the suppression of enemy air defence systems, the simulated destruction of the assets and close air support. 

 

USAF MCH C130 Over flying the range at Spadeadam On the 14th the weather was excellent and aircraft interceptions took place over the North Sea with attacking aircraft ingressing onto the range at Spadeadam or to targets at Charter Hall. Sadeadamís part in the exercise began with the arrival of two GR4ís at 09:30 and was to continue throughout the day. Playing their part in the scenario and the biggest aircraft to be seen over the range so far were two C130J C5ís of 30 Sqn which flew in at low level from the border region, and passed through the range to land at Carlisle. Attacking aircraft simulated their attacks with variety of armament against various types of defence systems whilst coordinating their attacks with Apache AH64 Helicopters of 664 Army Air Corps who were also acting as FACís.

As the battle scenario unfolded the range controller constantly changed the threatening targets to both the aircraft and to the imaginary attacking forces on the ground.

The following day weather was in complete contrast to the previous day with a cloud base over Spadeadame of between 100-400meters and visibility of 1500meters in rain. Aircraft found it extremely difficult to operate in these conditions so the targets were switched to Charter Hall for the rest of the morning to give the weather a chance to improve over Spadeadam.

Around mid day with the weather showing signs of improvement the fist aircraft to come onto the Range at Spadeadam, was a USAF MCH130H (90282) call sign Tallon71 out of Mildenhall. The aircraft carried out close air support for the forces on the ground asking for a selection of different threats to be placed on him as he carried out his role. Fast jets were to follow along with Apache Helicopters once again working together along with Gazelle Helicopter acting as controller. This carried on until late afternoon and the ďEND EXĒ was called.

 

2Sqn GR4 Get's in under the very low cloud cover to deliver it's bomb

Aircraft and units involved over the two days were UK Tornados (from 11, 14, 25, 31, 43 and 111 Sqns), Jaguars (from 6 & 41 Sqns), Harriers (from the RAF Cottesmore Wing), E-3D Sentry (from RAF Waddington), Hercules (from 30 & 47 Sqns), Nimrods from RAF Kinloss and Air to Air Refuelling aircraft. Helicopters include Apache (664 Sqn) and Gazelle (9 Regt Army Air Corps), RN Seakings from RNAS Culdrose and Lynx helicopters (847 Sqn) from RNAS Yeovilton.

Non British aircraft involved in the Exercise are F15E Strike Eagles (493 & 494 Sqns) from the USAF, Dutch Air Force F16 aircraft (311, 312  & 322 Sqns) and Tornados (FBW 31) from the German Air Force.