Tuesday, April 9, 2024

RAF’s Atlas military aircraft carries out longest-ever flight for Pacific air exercise

The Royal Air Force (RAF) recently hit a milestone during a large-scale exercise in the Pacific region. During this exercise, a Royal Air Force Brize Norton A400M Atlas aircraft carried out the longest-ever flight by this type of aircraft to start the RAF deployment for Exercise Mobility Guardian 23.

The A400M Atlas took off from RAF Brize Norton and flew non-stop for 22 hours to Guam. This was possible due to air-to-air refueling, which has long been considered a vital asset for military forces.

The Atlas didn’t have to make any stops during the flight to Guam because it got refueled three times in mid-air, once over the Atlantic, once over Alaska, and finally over the Pacific Ocean. This particular Atlas also reached closer to the North Pole over the Arctic ice cap than any previous flight by this aircraft type – two major achievements during a single flight.

The first refueling was carried out by a Voyager from 10/101 Sqn flying from the UK, and the second and third refueling was carried out by a second Voyager that was operating from the United States Airforce Eielson Airbase in Alaska. On arrival in Guam, the Atlas, together with an RAF Voyager, elements from the Tactical Medical Wing, and other supporting personnel from across the RAF, will join the exercise.

“Exercise Mobility Guardian is an outstanding training opportunity for the Air Mobility Force; it allows us to demonstrate the speed, reach, and utility of the RAF, underpinned by the assets from the Air Mobility Force and reinforces our ability to rapidly conduct global Air Operations,” said Air Commodore Lyle, RAF’s Air Mobility Force Commander. “The non-stop flight of the A400M Atlas from RAF Brize Norton to Guam is a great example of our ability to project air power, allowing us to get aircraft, crews, and vital equipment to the other side of the world in a timely manner and for them to be able to operate immediately”.

In addition to the US aircraft taking part in Mobility Guardian, the RAF detachment will be joined by aircraft and personnel from the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and France, in one of the most important strategic regions. During this exercise, these military forces are sharpening their interoperability skills and understanding, covering a training area that goes all the way from Australia to Japan and across the Pacific to Hawaii.