Whilst the news that UK Royal Navy is currently escorting British-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz seems to have disappeared from world headlines, also the latest situation regarding the increased diplomatic tensions in the Gulf, not to mention updates about the crews welfare from the seized British tanker Stena Impero, UK Special Force troops are continuing to train to meet any future situations where their specialized services are required.
The latest week-long Special Force exercise; Faraday Field 19-2, has just been held, operating from within the grounds of the Defence School of Transport (DST), located within Normandy Barracks, Leconfield in East Yorkshire. There, regular government and personnel from all three military services undertake training on machinery, ranging from motorcycle and quad bikes to Oshkosh fuel tankers.
For Special Force purposes, DST Leconfield was ideal for the SOF exercise, as the large training area; once RAF Leconfield airfield is remote and not overlooked. Therefore perfect to mount a weeklong antiterrorist maritime exercise.
Pairs of Chinooks, Wildcats and Merlin helicopters started arriving on the Sunday from Royal Air Force Odiham in Hampshire and Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton in Somerset. Following crew and sortie briefings, then aircraft pre-mission checks, crews conducted daily late evening and night sorties to a “floating call sign” located within the North Sea.
Unlike previous Faraday Field exercises, where the local population had been offered a brief opportunity to meet some of the crews and inspect some aircraft – a form of compensation for the late-night disruption, locals in the vicinity of DST Leconfield were not afforded such hospitality. In fact, I doubt they would have been unaware of the exercise, let alone SOF involvement, were it not for a short note previously circulated by DST Leconfield, warning of possible late night noise disruption.
Photo: “Inferno 5” returning from a mission during Exercise Faraday Field 19-2. Photo provided by author.
Author: Pat Carty is a NATO accredited journalist who covers military news, events, operations, and exercises; including special operations forces. He is a contributor to SOF News as well as several other military defense publications.