A suitably socially distant ‘grip and grin’ handover ceremony took place today at 2 Maritime Air Wing (2 MAW), RAF Shawbury, to mark the departure of the Wing’s first Commanding Officer, Cdr Mark Scott, as he handed over the controls to Cdr Scott Hughes.
The official snap was taken in front of the Airbus H145 ‘Jupiter’ aircraft (side number 02), which is operated by crews from 2 MAW in the maritime role, while maintaining a safe ‘rotor span’ of separation in support of the CV-19 protection measures that have helped the School to continue to deliver flying training over the last 3 months.
Ascent Flight Training are contracted to provide rotary wing training under the Military Flying Training System using the Jupiter aircraft and its smaller sister aircraft, the Airbus H135 ‘Juno’. This training is undertaken at No 1 Flying Training School (No 1 FTS), based at RAF Shawbury and RAF Valley.
Recently qualified on both types, Cdr Hughes said, “these powerful twin-engine helicopters are a real step change in capability. Kitted out with the latest glass cockpit and navigation equipment, fully compatible with night vision devices, and with capability for load lifting, winching and surveillance operations, they provide Defence with a truly excellent platform from which to grow the next generation of Front-Line pilots, observers and aircrewman; I’m really looking forward to playing my part in that task”.
2 MAW is one of two training ‘Wings’ within No 1 FTS. Harking back to its origins in 1919 No 1 FTS continues its tradition of Joint operations; the Wing comprises three single-Service training Squadrons, one from each Service; 705 Naval Air Squadron, 660 Sqn Army Air Corps (AAC) and 202 Sqn RAF. The senior management within the school follows a similar Joint structure, with 2 MAW being led by a Fleet Air Arm Commander, while 9 Regt AAC, the sister Wing, takes an Army lead.
Completing the venture, the RAF provide airfield infrastructure and the Duty Holder supervisory chain via the School’s Commandant No 1 FTS, Gp Capt Chris Mullen RAF, and Air Officer Commanding 22 Group. The training is delivered by the Ascent Rotary Wing team, who provide the aircraft, synthetic training devices, courseware and some of the instructors needed to meet the task, in commercial partnership with Airbus, Lockheed Martin and Babcock.
Remarking on his 3 years in Command at 2 MAW, Cdr Mark Scott said that he was “hugely privileged to have been part of the team who helped bring this 21st century training system into being” and wished his “successor and all the trainee aircrew – for whom this World Class training facility operates, every success for the future”.