RAF Spadeadam, commanded by a Wing Commander, is located in Gilsland, Cumbria. It is the only facility in Europe where aircrews can practise manoeuvres and tactics against a variety of threats and targets that they face in contemporary warfare. For this reason the facility attracts aircraft from the RAF, Army, RN and NATO Forces. The survival of aircrews over Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere, and the soldiers on the ground who depend on air support are affected by the training provided by RAF Spadeadam.
2.0 Emitter Training School
RAF Spadeadam uses a variety of equipment to provide a realistic hostile electronic environment for aircrew. These include ex (East) German Air Force Equipment in addition to various emulators and simulators. Due to the specialist nature of this equipment, RAF personnel are specifically trained on arrival at RAF Spadeadam. The fundamentals of operation and maintenance for these unique systems are carried out at the Emitter Training School (ETS).
ETS provides specialist training packages that enable RAF technicians at RAF Spadeadam to fix and maintain the various Surface to Air threat equipments and emulators, and also provides health and safety training to personnel. As such, training can be broken down into two main areas:
- German Air Force Equipment: such as the SA-6, the SA-8 and the ZSU. The SA-6 Gainful is a 2-stage, solid fuel, low altitude SAM. The SA-8 Gecko is a single stage, solid fuel, short range, low altitude, all weather, amphibious SAM. The ZSU-23 Shilka is a lightly armoured, self-propelled, radar guided Anti Aircraft weapon system.
- Tactical Emulators: are designed to simulate various types of Surface to Air threats. At RAF Spadeadam there is the Type 1 Variant which simulates the SA-2 and SA-3 SAM systems, and the Type 43 Variant which can simulate the SA-6 and SA-8 SAM systems.
Other training provided by ETS includes Thermionic Valve, Manual Handling, Cadmium Awareness and Vehicle Marshalling.