Camp visits home of the UK’s air defence

Air Cadets from West Scotland Wing in front of RAF Boulmer's gate guardian, the Phantom.
Air Cadets from West Scotland Wing in front of RAF Boulmer's gate guardian, the Phantom.

Air Cadets from 498 (Wishaw) Squadron formed part of West Scotland Wing visiting RAF Boulmer in Northumberland for their annual camp.

The week-long visit gave the cadets the opportunity to visit an active Royal Air Force station and experience first-hand life in the service.

During the week, the cadets gained an understanding of RAF Boulmer – which is the hub of the UK Air Surveillance and Control Systems (ASACS) Force – and the vital role it plays in the defence of the United Kingdom.

The cadets visited the Control and Reporting Centre where Aerospace Battle Managers (ABMs) monitor radar pictures and control Typhoon fighter aircraft.

RAF ABMs police the skies for potential air threats over the UK and international waters, identifying all aircraft in the UK Flight Information Region.

When there is an indication that an aircraft might pose a threat, RAF Boulmer personnel will scramble fighter jets from the Quick Reaction Alert force to investigate.

Cadets were able to plan and execute their own simulated air battle by participating in a “Tactical Floor” exercise run by RAF officers. They also conducted weapons training and – after rigorous weapons handling tests – shooting practice, in which they were able to gain marksmanship qualifications.

The cadets then took part in leadership and navigation exercises, including basic field training to provide an awareness of wider military activity, and competitive sports.

Finally, the group visited 202 Squadron, who operate the RAF’s Sea King search and rescue helicopter.