Earlier in March, evaluators from Allied Air Command and across NATO put the men and women of the RAF's 135 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW) through multiple challenges aimed at assessing the unit's ability to support the Alliance during operational deployments. 135 EAW's combat air power was provided by eight Typhoon FGR4 fighter aircraft, and the evaluation tested the RAF's ability to cope with a range of missions from Air Policing to full-scale warfighting.
The successful CAPEVAL outcome proves the RAF's ability to deploy a potent fighting force and reinforces our commitment to NATO
"After a decade away from NATO's CAPEVAL assessment programme, the RAF's Typhoon Force has provided NATO with clear evidence of its ability to operate to the highest operational standards, under highly testing conditions," said the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston. "The successful CAPEVAL outcome proves the RAF's ability to deploy a potent fighting force and reinforces the RAF's and the UK's commitment to NATO, and confirming our ability to work effectively alongside our NATO allies."
Under the Allied Command Operations Tactical Evaluations (TACEVAL) Programme, CAPEVALs are conducted to assess Allied forces against NATO requirements and standards. The TACEVAL programme also highlights an evaluated force's strengths, identifies areas of concern, makes appropriate recommendations, and ensures that best practices are shared amongst allies. Evaluations are adapted to the suit the unit being evaluated and its mission, and the evaluation scenarios are constantly changing to match new risks and threats.
"I am delighted by the commitment and professionalism of my team. They have proved themselves in austere and challenging conditions that included fighting in a simulated chemical, biological and nuclear environment, said Group Captain Andrew Coe, Officer Commanding 135 EAW. "Our logistical chain has also been tested to the max and we have proved our ability to operate and sustain a large force from a deployed location," he added.
The RAF's performance in this strategically important assessment demonstrates both its warfighting prowess and deep commitment the NATO. For the Alliance it is critical to be able to count on combat ready and capable tactical air forces to execute collective defence missions for the Supreme Allied Commander Europe.