Helicopters being transported

Expeditionary Air Force

Expeditionary Air Force

The EAG model is highly successful and the nature of the Force structure endures. Today the 83 EAG has under its command a diverse and compelling mix of capabilities. This enables the RAF to offer the very best support to the Land Forces across the entire spectrum of Air Power roles – Attack, Air Mobility, Control of the Air and Intelligence.

Expeditionary Air Wings

The Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW) concept has its origins in the Second World War when EAWs were established so that the Royal Air Force could project Allied Air Power all around the world. This expeditionary nature of our forces changed during the Cold War era which signalled a move to largely static forces with a home defence posture being adopted by western military forces. However, the end of the Cold War has seen a dramatic shift of focus back to expeditionary operations.

As a result of the need to provide a more agile, adaptable and scaleable RAF to meet the demands of modern expeditionary operations, the EAW concept was re-introduced in April 2006. This renewal of the concept is to enable the RAF to provide a more interoperable, capable and effective projection of modern expeditionary air power. Most future overseas deployments of the RAF will probably be based upon the deployment of an EAW.

Four principal benefits are hoped to derive from the EAW concept. These are: delivery of a more focussed operational effect from the outset of any deployment; a more cohesively trained body of manpower; a broader understanding of air power capability; and a more inclusive formation identity at home and on deployed ops.

This roughly translates as: deploying as a more capable and efficient team to provide effective support to the squadrons from day one of any deployment; training EAW personnel from across the stn to work together as that more capable and efficient team; helping our personnel, our sister services and our coalition partners understand what the RAF can achieve on operations and how we do it; and giving personnel a unit identity to unite under and feel a part of – improving ethos and esprit de corps.

The aim of EAWs is to re-brigade our forces to generate a readily identifiable structure that is better able to deploy discrete units of agile, scalable, interoperable and capable air power. An EAW should be the structure that provides agile, scalable, interoperable air power that can be readily identified as a deployable force.

The objectives of re-brigading our forces into EAWs are fourfold:

  • To achieve greater operational synergy, delivering focused operational effects from the outset of a deployment.
  • To generate a more cohesive trained audience.
  • To engender more widely a greater understanding of the capability of air power.
  • To achieve a more inclusive formation identity.
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