Happy New Year from all at V (AC) Squadron!
Yet another busy year has come to an end! 2012 saw the Fighting Fifth continue to give unfailing support to the ground troops in Afghanistan, provide assistance to the US Air Force in Nevada and still manage to beat the other flying Squadrons on station in the Station Commanders’ Cup!
In Afghanistan we achieved the fleet’s 1000th operational sortie and hit the 10,000th Sentinel flying hour milestone, whilst providing over 3000 hours of post mission analysis. In the 12 month period, over 90% of the Squadron’s personnel were deployed at some point to numerous locations worldwide, clocking up close to 5 million air miles between them.
2013 has begun and is already promising to be even busier than last year, for all associated with the Squadron. Having proved its worth during the Libya campaign, a single Sentinel recently deployed at short notice having been called to provide assistance in support of French Operations in Mali. In addition to this deployment, the Airborne STand-Off Radar or the ASTOR system continues to provide unrivalled intelligence for counter-insurgency operations in Afghanistan.
Plans are in place for a series of exercises around the world to assist the Squadron in developing our already excellent working relationships with our coalition counterparts. The biggest of these is Ex Green Flag. Related to the famous Red Flag Exercise, the focus of Green Flag is placed more on supporting Ground Troops, integrating the Army with various air assets in the world’s biggest Air exercise, which takes place on the Test and Training range in Nevada, USA. In a 12-month period, more than 500 aircraft fly over 20,000 sorties, giving training to more than 5,000 aircrews and 14,000 support and maintenance personnel. We are hoping to be involved with at least 2 of these Exercises in the next 6 months, with the possibility of more towards the end of the year.
During these busy times, it is important to remember that without the unrivalled love and support of the families and friends behind the soldiers, sailors and airmen of V(AC) Squadron, we would be unable to carry out our duty with such dedicated professionalism. To all of those who have supported our personnel in 2012 – and will continue to do so during the year ahead – we would like to offer our heartfelt thanks. Here’s to 2013!