Exercise Autumn Kite 16
On 26th September 2016, 28 personnel from 606 (Chiltern) Sqn, deployed on EXERCISE Autumn Kite to the sprawling metropolis that is Mount Pleasant Airfield (MPA).
The aim, to complete Annual Continuous Training in the form of core work opportunities during Oct/Nov 2016 and to strengthen established ties with Falklands personnel. What follows are some examples of the work that 606 Sqn got involved in over the two months.
One of the core capabilities that 606 Sqn brought to the table was its cadre of engineers. Their roles included the day-to-day tasks of SEF such as the return to service of several operationally essential pieces of equipment (some of which having been unserviceable for up to 12 months) which, critically, freed up the limited resources of SEF for the larger projects. Furthermore, 606 Sqn engineers also helped out on specialist projects. One example of this was some essential Typhoon support equipment which had been unserviceable for over 12 months. Luckily one of the detached engineers, FS Fuller, a design engineer for the OEM was able to provide the required depth of knowledge needed to allow the SEF engineers to repair this vital piece of ground equipment. This is a great example of the various skills that PTVRs can bring to frontline operations.
One case which displayed 606 Sqn’s breadth of utility occurred in the aftermath of an audit. The Ascension Supply Sqn had failed an assurance audit and BFFI Supply Sqn was struggling to support them to recover and resolve the identified training shortcomings. Sgt Perry, a civilian instructor and member of 606 Sqn, holds all the required qualifications and experience to run the needed courses.
It was quickly arranged for him to break his journey at the Ascension Isles and conduct the needed training then continue on to the Falkland Isles one week later. Continued supply work throughout R&D provided the suppliers with much needed experience in a deployed, joint operational environment, whilst offering additional manpower support.
Another, and most critical, role conducted on the exercise centred around supporting the MT Flight on the station by covering MT control and recovering vehicles to/from MPA from locations and situations.
These included emergency moves such as blood runs and patient transits to Stanley King Edward’s Hospital.
Finally, 606 Sqn FOAs engaged in hooking exercises with 1310 Flt Chinooks, taking the strain off JHSS and aiding the deployed flights’ taskings.
Throughout the deployment 606 Sqn personnel took part in various FD serials including: a battlefield visits to Mt. Tumbledown, Goose Green and Stanley among others and various flights on 1310 Flt Chinooks coupled with a visit to the Typhoons of 1435 Flt.
This exercise was indicative of the capability enhancement that 606 Sqn can provide to regular units by filling gapped posts in a professional and enthusiastic manner, characteristic of the reserves utilitarian role. The training and manpower surge provided was such a success that Gp Capt Frampton (COS MPA) has specifically requested that 606 Sqn return in 2017, to continue its stellar work in increasing operational output in the Falklands. So ends another Falklands article that, for a change, mentions neither Penguins nor the weather!