Royal Navy and RAF train Norwegian F-35 pilots in survival techniques

2 December 2019 (Last Updated December 2nd, 2019 11:38)

A team of British Royal Navy and British Royal Air Force (RAF) personnel from RAF Marham in Norfolk, England, has trained F-35 pilots of the Norwegian Air Force in survival techniques at the Orland Air Base in Norway.

Royal Navy and RAF train Norwegian F-35 pilots in survival techniques
Royal Navy and RAF teams trains Norwegian F-35 pilots in survival techniques. Credit: Royal Navy.

A team of British Royal Navy and British Royal Air Force (RAF) personnel from RAF Marham in Norfolk, England, has trained F-35 pilots of the Norwegian Air Force in survival techniques at the Orland Air Base in Norway.

The Norwegian Air Force sought the UK’s help after visiting the Lightning Force at Marham for training the aircrew on how to survive if their aircraft was downed.

The Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape team from Marham, consisting of PO Matthew Williams, Cpl Richard Fuller, AB Brendan Baldwin, SAC Allan Wighton and SAC Susan Whyte, trained 24 pilots at the base near Trondheim.

The training comprised a simulated brief on parachuting from the F-35 followed by a dry training brief, which included elements of the equipment used to save the lives of pilots if they were ejected from the aircraft.

PO Williams said: “This was an extremely satisfying detachment to help an F-35 and Nato partner out. This shows the strength and adaptability of the F-35 SERE training team and the ability of the RN and RAF to work successfully to deliver training for the F-35 aircraft.”

The team also explained methods of rescue and the use of the equipment provided to survive.

After the briefings, the pilots were sent into a swimming pool, where they used life rafts in simulated scenarios to replicate what could happen at sea.

Williams said: “The Norwegian Air Force were extremely impressed with the training delivered. They commented saying this is the best survival training they had ever had and that the training we provided would be the difference between life and death.”

Last month, Offshore Patrol Vessel HMS Tamar welcomed its first members, with four Royal Navy personnel joining teams from BAE, MCTA and DE&S for contractor sea trials in the Firth of Clyde, UK.

Tamar is the fourth Batch 2 River Class OPV to be built in Scotstoun, Glasgow, and is the greenest vessel of the Royal Navy.

Following the trials with the power and propulsion systems, radars, combat management system and ASCG 30mm cannon, Tamar returned to Scotstoun to continue preparations ahead of its handover to the Royal Navy in 2020.