RAF Marham located South East of King’s Lynn in Norfolk is home to the frontline squadrons of the RAF’s Tornado GR4 Force. RAF Marham is commanded by a Group Captain and has a population of approximately 4500 people, made up of members of all three Services, the Civil Service, Industry and Contractors.
Beyond flying, the station is also home to the Tactical Imagery-Intelligence Wing (TIW), the Tornado GR Force HQ, No. 3 (RAF) Force Protection Wing HQ, No. 93 Expeditionary Armament Squadron, and No. 2620 (County of Norfolk) Sqn RAuxAF Regiment.
Furthermore, following the 2013 announcement that RAF Marham will be the future home of the F-35 Lightning Force, the station is conducting extensive infrastructure changes across the base in anticipation of the arrival of the UK’s first ever 5th Generation, multi-role, stealth fighter.
2.0 Tornado Maintenance School
The Tornado Maintenance School is part of the Engineering and Logistics Wing, located at RAF Marham.
The Tornado Maintenance School (TMS) provides pre-employment training for engineering personnel of all ranks and trades employed on the Tornado GR4/4A and FMk3 aircraft, within both the forward or depth environments. In addition, TMS carries out training for external agencies as well as managing familiarisation courses.
There are approximately 40 different courses on offer ranging from 1 to 14 weeks in duration, with training being accomplished by a mixture of classroom theory and ‘hands-on’ practical. Much of the theoretical instruction is supplemented by computer aided instruction techniques, which provide strong visual images to complement lesson content. Practical training aids currently (April 2014) utilised by TMS include:
- The Ground Instructional Aircraft (GIA), which is a hybrid Tornado F2/F3 with fully functional electrical power and hydraulics systems available for practical demonstrations.
- The Front Fuselage Trainer (FFT), which is used primarily by the Weapons technicians for practising ejection seat removal, servicing and refitting. This is the front end of a GR1 aircraft and complements the F3 GIA.
- The GR4 Avionics Ground Training Rig (AGTR), which uses the genuine aircraft Line Replacement Units (LRUs). It also incorporates various stand-alone benches for individual avionic equipments, reconnaissance and electronic warfare systems which provide the facilities for dedicated system training.
- The Tornado F3 Avionics System Trainer is an Emulator that is PC based and provides detailed simulated training for the F3 aircraft.
- The Propulsion Systems Training Rig (PSTR), which provides a simulation of the various marks of Tornado RB199 engines and secondary power systems. Again, this utilises genuine aircraft LRUs and allows the instructors to simulate a full engine ground running capability with fault injection for the practising of emergency procedures.
- The Secondary Flying Control Systems Rig, which provides instruction on Flaps, Slats and Wing sweep operation with visibility of the aircrafts LRUs during operation. This training can be combined with the Test Fuchs Hydraulic Component Test Bench, which provides the School with the capability to demonstrate the maintenance of aircraft hydraulic systems to component level.
- The Missile Management Suite (MMS) is a computer-based system, which provides training exercises involving the Tornado F3 Missile Management system, simulating the function of the control units and the firing systems.
TMS is staffed by Non-Commission Officers (NCOs) who are supported by three teams:
- The Administrative and Course Support team book all the courses and look after all the necessary course and administrative functions;
- The Computer Based Training office manages the specialist computer based training aids; and
- The Rig Support Team maintain all the rigs and set up each rig each daily to meet the specific training requirements.
3.0 Forward Engineering Squadron
The Forward Engineering Squadron (FES), commanded by an Engineering Squadron Leader, is part of the Engineering and Logistics Wing, located at RAF Marham. FES has three subordinate Flights: Ground Engineering Maintenance Flight (GEMF) and Ground Engineering Support Flight (GESF) each commanded by an Engineering Flight Lieutenant, with Engineering Support Flight (ESF) commanded by a Warrant Officer (WO) Armourer. A Warrant Officer General Engineering Technician in the role of Squadron WO supports all three Flights. Amongst its many engineering related roles, FES has two principle training roles:
- The provision of Survival Evade Resist and Extraction training for Unit based aircrew; and
- The provision of training and instruction to all users of Ground Support Equipment (GSE) and Armament GSE.
ESF conducts a wide variety of tasks and plays an active role in supporting the Unit’s operational and training commitments. ESF consists of 5 sections, Small Arms, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), Buildings and Licensing (B&L), Regional Non Destructive Testing (NDT) Team and lastly Survival Equipment Section (SES), which is further divided into 3 subordinate sections. SES is responsible for providing global support to all aspects of the maintenance of the many and varied items of Survival Equipment, Aircrew Life Support Equipment and Night Vision Goggle Equipment associated with the RAF Tornado aircraft. In addition, the section is responsible for ensuring Unit based aircrew are correctly trained in post ejection survival and evasion techniques. SES, in conjunction with the Community Relations Section and Armed Forces Careers Offices also provides numerous displays at service and civilian venues.
The FES Training Cell is responsible for the training of all Unit and Flight personnel on the safe operation and maintenance of a wide variety of GSE. In addition, the Training Cell’s responsibilities also include the progression and mentoring of the Flights junior engineering tradesmen who are working towards obtaining Engineering NVQ Level 3 and successful completion of their Modern Apprenticeships. The role of the FES Training Cell includes conducting:
- Workshop assessment for individuals undertaking General Technician GSE and MT Technician trade assimilation to the new RAF trade of General Technician Mechanical; and
- The monitoring and organisation of Continuing Personal Development (CPD) for Flight personnel and Pre-Employment Training for personnel prior to their deployment Out Of Area.
4.0 The Engineering and Logistics Wing Training Cell
The Engineering and Logistics Wing Training Cell (ELWTC) is part of the Engineering Operation Flight (EOF) which in turns forms part of the Engineering and Logistics Wing, located at RAF Marham.
ELWTC delivers pre-employment and re-certification training to ground crew and aircrew on Flight Servicing procedures, weapon loading, aircraft handling and cockpit access Unit wide, plus the induction training for new arrivals to the Engineering and Logistics Wing. The Flight also mange two Weapon Load Training aircraft, the Units Engineering Authorisation database, plus Standards checks and any ad-hoc instructional responsibilities which provides constant new challenges.