Advanced Tactical Leadership Course (ATLC)
United Arab Emirates (UAE)
On October 28 2008, XI Sqn left a rather gloomy Coningsby to participate in ATLC in the UAE. The trail out to Al Dhafra Airbase was uneventful with a night stop in Akrotiri, Cyprus, on the way.
Al Dhafra is a joint UAE and USAF base which, whilst the home to the majority of the Emirates fast jet force, is also home to the US KC-10 air-air refuelling aircraft which is involved in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Al Dhafra is situated approximately one hour away from the city of Abu Dhabi.
The exercise consisted of 7 Typhoons from XI Sqn, American F-15C Eagles , French Mirage 2000-5, Saudi F-15C Eagles, Emirates Mirage 2000-9 and F-16 Block 60 together with air-to-air refuelling aircraft and AWACS. The aim of the exercise was to continue working on our Multi Role training whilst participating in a multi national, large scale exercise. For those of you who are aware of TLP, this exercise is essentially the Middle Eastern version. During the exercise 4 of our pilots were enrolled as ATLC course students, which provided them with training for 4 ship lead status and additional experience before starting the Multi Role Qualified Weapons Instructor Course in January 2009.
Our working day was split into two waves. The first wave was the large-scale exercise and the second wave was our continuation training wave during which we could essentially devise our own sortie and choose where we wanted to concentrate our training. Week three of the four week exercise was dedicated to a night large-scale exercise which concentrated the mind to say the least. The engineers, as always, did a sterling job and the jets behaved themselves extremely well out in the desert.
During the continuation training waves we carried out dissimilar air combat sorties with all aircraft types during which the Typhoon performed extremely well. These sorties provided excellent training opportunities for everybody involved.
We were accommodated in the city of Abu Dhabi for the duration of the detachment. Everybody enjoyed the local culture and there was a great deal of socialising as each nation took it in turns to organise an entertainment event during the course.
With Christmas just around the corner the Squadron is looking forward to some well earned rest before what is shaping up to be an extremely busy 2009.
On behalf of XI Squadron I wish you all the best for the festive period.
Sqn Association Officer