Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 Prepares for a Sortie Over Afghanistan
A Tornado GR4 from 617 Squadron taxis priorto take off from Kandahar air base in Afghanistan for another mission in support of ground troops.
The squadron are part of 904 Expeditionary Air Wing based at Kandahar Air Wing, Afghanistan.
904 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW) is the RAF headquarters element based at Kandahar airfield, which is a strategically vital location just ten miles from Afghanistan's second city comprising of 1.2 million people. Kandahar is one of the world's busiest airfields, with over 400 aircraft and a quarter of a million aircraft movements every year.
It is home to a diverse mix of nations operating a vast range of platforms including RAF Reaper Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS), helicopters, strategic and tactical lift such as the RAF C-130, civilian and contractor aircraft and a large number of fast jets including F16, Mirage 2000, FA-18, A-10 and the RAF Tornado GR4. These aircraft operate in harmony to provide critical support to the Land Forces and contribute to the ISAF mission to stabilise and develop Afghanistan.
904 EAW is commanded by a group captain.The Commanding Officer of 904 EAW acts as the senior British military officer for British Force Elements based at Kandahar Airfield, representing the United Kingdom and liaising with Command Kandahar Airfield (COMKAF). The commanding Officer ensures that British Service personnel, entitled British and embedded nations are provided with real life support in order to maintain Force Element operational capabilities
Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) (CVR(T)) Operating in Afghanistan
A CVR(T) (Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked)) vehicle is pictured being operated across the harsh desert terrain of Afghanistan by soldiers of the 9th/12th Royal Lancers.
The first of the enhanced Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) (CVR(T)) fleet are now operational and being put to good use by the Lancers, whose main task is to overwatch the battle space either side of Highways 1 and 611, the two main supply routes that run through the Task Force Helmand area of operations.
BAE Systems has upgraded the armour on all five vehicles that make up the CVR(T) family Scimitar, Spartan, Samson, Sultan and Samaritan through an Urgent Operational Requirement process worth around £30M. CVR(T) was on display in the UK for the first time at the DSEi exhibition in London.
As part of the contract, the vehicles have been re-hulled to give better mine-blast protection for troops, improved armour added for enhanced resistance to blasts and ballistics, as well as new mine-blast protection seating in every position in every variant. Other enhancements include repositioned foot controls and a revamped fuel system.
Scimitar Mk 2 builds on a number of upgrades that have previously been made to the CVR(T), which address the problems experienced while operating in the harsh Afghan environment. These previous upgrades have included improved power output, new gearboxes and transmissions, air conditioning, improved communications, air filters and night vision systems
Lynx Mk9A Over Afghanistan
A Lynx Mk 9A helicopter flying over the desert in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
The Army Air Corps are now deploying the Mk 9A variant of the Lynx helicopter, which has a more powerful engine than the MK7 predecessor. The new engine allows the helicopter to fly faster, carry more weight and fly in hotter conditions (the Mk 7 was unable to fly in the day time during the Afghan summer).
Because the Mk 9A can carry more weight it can carry more firepower in the form of a 50 cal Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) rather than the 7.62mm General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) that the Mk 7 carried, this makes the Mk9A more effective at engaging targets on the ground
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