No. 26 Squadron RAF Regiment
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|No. 26 Sqn RAF Regiment|
|Active||Aug 1951 - Mar 2008
May 2010 - present
|Role||Biological Warfare Detection Squadron|
|Parent Station||RAF Waddington|
|Motto(s)||"Action - Reaction"|
Sqn Ldr Matt Radnall 2005-07Flt Lt Joe Duhan 2007-08
No. 26 Squadron RAF Regiment has served and been based at locations such as RAF Abu Sueir, RAF Habbaniya, RAF Amman, RAF Tymbou, RAF Nicosia, RAF Changi, RAF Bicester, RAF Gutersloh and RAF Laarbruch. It took part in Operation's Granby and Desert Storm in 1990-91 and latterly it was based at RAF Waddington as a Rapier Squadron. The Squadron was formed at RAF Yatesbury on 27 August 1951.
The Squadron routinely spent a great deal of time away from home, carrying out an 8-month roulement in the Falklands and being on call to defend the RAF or other UK assets throughout the world as part of the Joint Rapid Deployment Force or NATO Reaction Force (Air). The Squadron also deployed in the field role to provide Force Protection for deployed RAF Operating Bases, a role performed as part of the Coalition Forces in Iraq during Operation Telic.
In July 2004 it was announced that the role of providing Ground Based Air Defence was to be transferred to the Army and the four Royal Air Force Regiment Rapier squadrons (15 Sqn; 16 Sqn; 26 Sqn and 37 Sqn) were to be disbanded. Prior to 26 Sqn's disbandment in March 2008, there was time for one last tour of duty as the Falkland Islands Resident Rapier Sqn (RRS) in April–November 2006, during which time the last ever RAF Regiment Rapier missile practice camp (MPC) took place. The gunners then amalgamated with those of sister squadron, 15 Sqn RAF Regiment to create a field squadron. The combined squadron deployed to Afghanistan for a 6 month tour of duty in August 2007, before 26 Sqn's formal disbandment and march-off in March 2008 from RAF Waddington, its home of the previous 10 years.
Reactivation in 2010
On 24 May 2010 the existing Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) Operations Squadron was renumbered to 26 Squadron RAF Regiment. The Squadron's current role is to deliver specialist CBRN defence capabilities at very high readiness in support of national strategic operations. This is achieved through the following functions:
- Overseas Sampling and Identification of Biological, Chemical and Radiological Agents Military Sampling Team (SIBCRA MST) to exploit CBRN program event scenes globally, recovering evidence and intelligence to approved analytical agencies in a safe & forensically-sound manner in order to support national strategic decision-making.
- Support to UK Explosive CBRN Counter-Terrorism (CT) as part of the Technical Response Force (TRF) delivering Hotline Command, contamination control and casualty evacuation during the disablement phase of ECBRN Terrorist incidents in the UK.
- Support to UK Nuclear Accident Response through radiation monitoring, contamination control, and casualty evacuation for Nuclear Weapon, or Defence Nuclear Material, incidents throughout the UK, in order to safeguard both civilian and military public safety.
From August 2011 – 27 Squadron also took over responsibility of supplying a Parachute trained Light Role Team Flight.
The Light Role Team –This concept was born out of a requirement for a rapidly deployable Special Monitoring Teams which operated in the initial operations in Afghanistan in 2001 and in the invasion of Iraq in 2003. During this Operation the SMT’s surveyed a total of sixty-eight sites of CBRN Interest in the British AOR.
The 27 Squadrons LRT Flight consists of two Parachute teams of eight men commanded by a sergeant, with a two-man command element.
The selection and training of the LRT’s is a long process as each man has to pass the RAF Pre-Para Selection Course and then complete the Basic Parachute Course (BPC), if not a former member of II Squadron before going on to complete the LRT Operators Course.