14 November 2013
RAF units deployed to Cyprus as part of the UK response to the recent crisis in the Middle East have returned home.
RAF Typhoon jets from 11 Squadron take off from RAF Akrotiri (library image)
Aircraft and personnel from 121 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW) were sent to the region earlier this year as a contingency measure to protect the 2 sovereign base areas on the island, which are home to more than 6,000 British service personnel and their families.
The unit comprised Typhoon jets and E-3D Sentry early warning aircraft supported by TriStar air-to-air refuelling tankers, RAF Regiment force protection personnel and fighter controllers.
RAF pilots of 11 Squadron pose for a group shot at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus (library image) [Picture: Senior Aircraftwoman Helen Rimmer, Crown copyright]
121 EAW Commanding Officer, Wing Commander Blythe Crawford, said:
This operation has clearly proven that the UK still possesses a very capable and deployable air defence capability.
While our primary objective was to deter aggression and protect UK assets in the eastern Mediterranean, I cannot emphasise enough the value of this deployment at an operational and strategic level.
Our integration as a cohesive joint force with our sister service, the Royal Navy, then together as a UK force with both our French and US allies, has been an outstanding example of how Britain can rapidly respond, deploying a credible force, and immediately engage with key allies...
More details - and pictures - HERE.