RAF chief follows in the footsteps of Royalty with visit to Boulmer

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton with Wing Commander Martin Ogden, Officer Commanding Control and Reporting Centre RAF Boulmer.
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton with Wing Commander Martin Ogden, Officer Commanding Control and Reporting Centre RAF Boulmer.

RAF Boulmer welcomed a second VIP just days after the visit by the Prince of Wales.

The head of the Royal Air Force Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton met Aerospace Battle Management personnel watching British skies during the Olympic Games.

He met staff in the Control and Reporting Centre, the heart of the UK’s air defence surveillance network, on the morning of the Olympic opening ceremony.

RAF Boulmer is currently playing an integral role in the Olympic Air Security Plan which enhances the existing UK air security arrangements as part of a multi-layered approach to ensure a secure Games.

The plan includes: RAF Typhoon jets based at RAF Northolt in West London; RAF Puma helicopters based at a TA centre in Ilford; Royal Navy and Army helicopters based on HMS Ocean in the Thames; RAF Regiment snipers operating on board helicopters; Army ground-based air defence missiles at a number of locations in London; existing RAF and civil air traffic and surveillance radar systems; additional RAF mobile radars in Kent and Essex; RAF E-3D surveillance aircraft operating from their home at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, and Army Air Observers based around Greater London.

Personnel must coordinate and control all the air defence assets in one of the most congested pieces of airspace in the world while avoiding disruption to the intensely busy London airports wherever possible.

They have been preparing for the Olympics role for some time, having taken part in a series of demanding training missions, working alongside colleagues from other forces.

Sir Stephen said: “Control of the air is a core role of the Royal Air Force, a role which we are prepared to conduct every day of the year. RAF Boulmer and the Air Surveillance and Control System (ASACS) Force are central to the delivery of that capability. Whilst the Olympics places greater emphasis on the need for air security, the additional requirement is routine business for the team here at RAF Boulmer.

“Day and night they ensure the security of the UK’s skies and in doing so display the highest standards of commitment, professionalism and effectiveness.”

Group Captain Paul Atkinson, ASACS Force Commander and Boulmer’s Station Commander, said: “It was an honour to host Air Chief Marshal Dalton. His visit is an acknowledgement of the vital role played by our Aerospace Battle Managers and supporting personnel in ensuring the safety and security of the UK, throughout the year and especially during the Olympic Games.”