The Atlas A400M provided a platform for capability testing, a key focus of the exercise, which saw personnel from across the RAF deploy to Bardufoss Air Station in Northern Norway. RAF Medics used the aircraft as part of an aeromedical evacuation simulation to assess how the freezing temperatures could affect crucial lifesaving equipment and key medical procedures, both in the air and on the ground.
“This exercise has been vital to understanding our medical equipment’s capabilities in the extremes of the cold weather environment, acting as a stepping stone to allowing us to operate in similar conditions in the future,” said Flight Lieutenant Barrett, lead of the RAF Aeromedical Evacuation Team at Bardufoss.
The Atlas A400M also facilitated tests by the RAF Expeditionary Logistics Squadron whose staff established a tactical fuel system, known as an Air Landed Aircraft Refuelling System or ALARS, which supports fixed-wing aircraft operating in remote locations.
he team constructed a temporary fuel system using a fabric tank while utilising snow-filled sandbags to support to the structure before proving its functionality by de-fuelling and then re-fuelling the Atlas A400M. The first time this has been trialled by the RAF in the challenging arctic conditions of the High North.
The ability to maintain flying operations from remote and austere locations is vital to the RAF being ready to survive and evade attack and outmanoeuvre an adversary, known as Agile Combat Employment or ACE.
“ACE is an operational scheme of manoeuvre designed to improve resilience and survivability while generating air power from both home bases and geographically dispersed locations,” said General Gilles Juventin, Deputy Chief of Staff Support at Allied Air Command during an ACE symposium. “ACE can be conducted from Main or Deployed Operating Bases and Contingency Locations – this requires a flexible, well prepared and coordinated approach by the deploying force and the receiving bases,” he added.