Thursday 28th February 2019
Tonnes of vital equipment are on their way to Estonia as No 2 Mechanical Transport (2MT) Squadron from Royal Air Force Wittering supports the NATO Baltic air-policing Mission.
2MT’s trucks have been rolling out from the Cambridgeshire station all week, with a convoy of seven leaving first thing this morning (28th Feb). The spares and equipment will enable four RAF Typhoons to patrol the skies from Amari air station in Estonia.
Weeks before the final push from RAF Wittering, 2MT’s drivers were dispatched to Royal Air Force stations across the country to collect ground equipment, aircraft spares and even airfield vehicles. In total 2MT Squadron will have moved an impressive 582 tonnes of equipment, roughly the payloads of 15 A400M aircraft.
The Baltic air-policing mission is a NATO led operation to protect the airspace of the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. As a NATO member, the United Kingdom has been a key contributor to the mission and the RAF Typhoons will provide a quick reaction alert capability.
Corporal Jack Coppack has been the lead planner for this operation. He said: “We’ve been co-ordinating the loads to be ready and prepared so that we can deliver everything to the ferry port and ensure that we can move everything once it gets to Estonia. The return journey is also a factor and clearances have to be arranged for the convoys when they come home.”
2MT Squadron was formed at King’s College in Cambridge in 1940. Its original purpose was to move aircraft spares and equipment between RAF Stations during the Battle of Britain. In 2018 when the Beast from the East poured deep snow onto Lincolnshire the drivers from 2MT were first on the scene, ferrying emergency service personnel from their homes to where they were most needed.
Flying Officer Sarah Owen is Officer Commanding Operations Flight at 2MT. She said: “Nearly eighty years on and 2MT Squadron is still making sure the RAF has what it needs to project air power. For operations like this you need trained military drivers who understand what operating around an air base really means.”
Group Captain Tony Keeling is the Station Commander at RAF Wittering. He said: “We’re making an important contribution to a major NATO operation, so of course I’m very pleased. Success in the air means you need all the right elements on the ground and that’s where our specialist engineering and logistics squadrons make a real difference.”
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