Featured 2005 Print
HMS Exeter is shown in the foreground with HMS Illustrious, taking part in Exercise Neptune Warrior
HMS Exeter is shown in the foreground with HMS Illustrious, taking part in Exercise Neptune Warrior.
Having spent two years embarking periodically in HMS Invincible as the High-Readiness Aircraft Carrier, 801 NAS had just returned from 6 weeks training with HMS Illustrious, in order to assist in her preparations for the role. Embarking for the second and third phases of her Operational Sea Training (OST) package, together with 849 Squadron A Flight Sea King Mk 7s and a Sea King Mk 6 of 771 Squadron, 801's Sea Harrier FA2s tailored their flying to provide progressive training for all of HMS Illustrious' newly formed crew.
After two weeks of combined Fixed and Rotary Wing flying operations, HMS Illustrious next embarked the RAF Harrier GR7's of 1(F) Squadron, who soon adjusted to the unique demands of operating from an Aircraft Carrier at sea. It was at this point, after three intensive weeks that HMS Illustrious and her Tailored Air Group (TAG) were assessed to be fit to continue into Phase 3 of OST, where a highflying rate would be integrated into a tactical scenario.
Following a brief port visit to Newcastle, in order to refresh all embarked personnel and conduct essential maintenance, HMS Illustrious sailed with her full complement of TAG for Exercise Neptune Warrior. This Exercise had an extremely large number of multinational participants, ranging from HMAS Anzac (an Australian Frigate), to a Dutch Submarine, and was conducted in the challenging waters of the North-West Scottish coast. Neptune Warrior pitted two large Naval Task Groups against each other in a complex Political scenario, and enabled the TAG to operate in a Maritime Strike role, focussing on the GR7s Strike capability
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Featured 2005 Print
Pictured during a routine sortie, aircraft WJ874 was painted to represent the first prototype Canberra, VN799, when it flew for the first time on 13 May 1949 at Warton airfield, where it had been built. A total of 1347 Canberra's were produced and of the 925 built in the UK 773 were delivered to the RAF.
The Canberra PR9 will be formally retired from RAF service in 2006. The aircraft's illustrious and extensive career with the RAF will end when the last four Canberra PR9s of 39 (part of 1 Photographic Reconnaissance Unit (PRU)) land at RAF Marham for the final time.
When the PR9 lands for the last time, Canberra's will have been in continuous front-line service with the RAF for a staggering 55 years, or nearly two-thirds of the RAF's entire existence
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Featured 2005 Print
A Royal Air Force Tornado F3 from XI Sqn, based at RAF Leeming, during Exercise Magic Carpet 2005
A Royal Air Force Tornado F3 from XI Sqn, based at RAF Leeming, during Exercise Magic Carpet 2005. The aircraft was part of a strong RAF contingent based at Thumrait Airfield, Oman.
The exercise was an opportunity for RN, RAF, Omani, French Air Force, USAF and USN squadrons to deploy and practice heavy-weapon bomb drops, utilising the extensive ranges and relatively clear airspace available over Oman. There were a variety of aircraft which took part, including our own Sea Harriers, GR7s and SKASaC, USN F18 and S3 Viking, USAF F16, French Mirage 2000 and RAF Tornado F3, Jaguar, VC10 air to air refuelling and E3D AWACS. In total around 60 aircraft were in theatre, allowing for realistic exercising of coalition forces. The participation of HMS Invincible with her Tailored Air Group (TAG) gave an excellent opportunity to prove the Strike Carrier concept within a controlled exercise environment and gain some useful general warfare training. It was a good opportunity for the ship's company to progress training in an exercise environment
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