Soldiers Train With RAF On Exercise Swift Pirate

Gurkhas and soldiers from 16 Air Assault Brigade took part in the exercise at RAF Wittering.

Soldiers from the British Army have been training at RAF Wittering as part of Exercise Swift Pirate.

The exercise has seen Gurkhas and 16 Air Assault Brigade, specially trained to deploy by parachute, helicopter, and air landing, train with the RAF near Peterborough.

The Air Force's No. 1 Air Mobility Wing (1AMW), which specialises in aircraft, passenger, and cargo handling, as well as the loading and unloading of military aircraft, also took part in the exercise.

During Swift Pirate, RAF Wittering doubled as a primitive airfield in a foreign country and 1AMW personnel lived as though they were on operation.

It saw personnel practise core military skills, live in basic conditions and face simulated threats from hostile forces.

Group Captain Jo Lincoln, the Station Commander at RAF Wittering and Commander of the A4 Elements, said the training is all about "making sure that we are ready to deploy anywhere in the world".

An A400M at RAF Wittering during Exercise Swift Pirate (Picture: RAF).

"Working together, 1AMW and 16 Air Assault Brigade produce a powerful military effect and we’re very happy to have them both here," she added.

Swift Pirate was the first exercise for Senior Aircraftman Joseph Tuitoga, from 1AMW. He said he "didn’t really know what to expect".

"It's been quite challenging at times, but it’s designed to stretch you so that in a real-life situation you know how to handle it," he said.

Exercise Swift Pirate is a regular feature at the station, with the heavy aircraft of the RAF Mobility Force – such as A400M Atlas, C17 Globemaster and C130 Hercules aircraft – a familiar sight around RAF Wittering.

Group Captain Lincoln said the exercise is a "real test for the station" but was a "complete success". 

Cover image: Gurkha troops during Exercise Swift Pirate at RAF Wittering (Picture: RAF).