Tactical Communications Wing RAF

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Tactical Communications Wing
TCW Crest
Active 1969 - Present
Role Tactical Communications
Station RAF Leeming
Motto(s) "Ubique Loquimur" - We Speak Everywhere!
A rock dove in front of a lightning bolt
The Tactical Recognition Flash of TCW and 90 Signals Unit

Tactical Communications Wing (TCW) provides communications facilities to deployed units of the Royal Air Force.

TCW personnel and their 90 Signals Unit counterparts were, due to their deployable nature, within a discrete portion of the RAF that were authorised to wear a DPM uniform full-time. This authorisation was rescinded in October 2008 when it was declared that all RAF personnel were to wear the standard blue uniform unless on operations.

Until the amalgamation with 90 Signals Unit in 2006, TCW personnel could be distinguished by both their rank slides, embroided with the letters 'TCW' and the Wing badge (the rock dove with lightning bolt). Upon amalgamation, the latter was replaced with that of 90 Signals Unit.

TCW is currently a lodger unit at RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire, United Kingdom.

TCW's motto is "Ubique Loquimur" which translates to "We Speak Everywhere!".


TCW's roots can be traced back to 1962, and the forming of 38 Group Support Unit, based at RAF Odiham. It was then quickly realised that communications played a large part in supporting operations. In 1965 No. 50 Tactical Signals Unit was formed at RAF Tangmere and as it grew in size was renamed, in 1967 to 38 Group Tactical Signals Wing then again in 1969 to its current name, Tactical Communications Wing.

TCW has played its part in many operational theatres worldwide, including providing communications and meteorological services in the Falklands War,[1] both Gulf Wars, Operation Granby, Operation Barras, Operation Phylis, Sarajevo, Nepal, Northern Ireland, Turkey, Angola, Rwanda, Operation Warden, Operation Jural, Operation Veritas and Operation Herrick.[2]

During Operation Telic TCW provided vital communications infrastructure in support of air operations.[3]

Wing Role[edit]

The Wing's role is to install, operate and maintain transportable tactical communications and information systems, in support of RAF Squadrons and Units, deployed worldwide in support of National interests. When not deployed the Wing carries out numerous training exercises (including Exercise Magic Carpet - hosted by Oman) in preparation for operations as well as visiting airshows around the UK.

Organisational Structure[edit]

Tactical Communications Wing is commanded by an RAF Wing Commander, with each of its three squadrons commanded by an RAF Squadron Leader.

The Squadrons[edit]

  • No 2 Field Communications (FC) Squadron
  • No 3 Field Communications (FC) Squadron
  • No 4 Field Communications (FC) Squadron

The three Field Communications Squadrons are split into teams that can deploy at short notice to anywhere in the world with a wide variety of equipment.


TCW is manned by RAF Trade Group 4 ICT Technicians. Trade Group 4 ICT Technicians consists of the old Trade Group 3 (Electronics Technicians) and Trade Group 11 (Tele Communications Operators) who have undergone assimilation training to amalgamate them into Trade Group 4. Trade Group 4 also has direct entry personnel who possess the same desired skill set as the assimilated Trade Group 3 and Trade Group 11.

Amalgamation and Relocation[edit]

In April 2006 Tactical Communications Wing was amalgamated into 90 Signals Unit. Force elements from RAF Brize Norton, RAF High Wycombe and RAF Sealand relocated to RAF Leeming in Yorkshire between Summer 2007 and Summer 2009 as part of the creation of the A6 Communications hub.[4]

In December 2009 TCW completed another restructuring programme with No 1 Expeditionary Radar and Airfield (ERA) Squadron becoming No 1 Field Communications (FC) Squadron, with personnel from the former Squadron being incorporated into the four FC Squadrons. No 1 (ERA) Squadron's role was to deploy, support and recover a wide range of airfield sensors, navigational aids and information infrastructure worldwide. This role was then carried out by specialist teams within the field Communications squadrons.[5]

Furthermore, No 5 Information Systems (IS) Squadron moved under the control of 90 SU Force Generation Wing (FGW).


On 16 February 2015, No 1 (Field Communication) Squadron was transferred to Engineering Support Squadron, FGW, becoming 1 (Engineering Support) Squadron. Additionally, the Trade Group 4 Aerial Erectors employed on the Field Communication Squadrons were centralised within the Aerial Erector Flight, FGW.

TCW and 90SU Royal Air Forces Association Branch and Memorial[edit]

Formed on 01 April 2010, the Branch was created to promote the relevance and aims of RAFA and also to be a focal point for current and ex-serving members of the Unit. To develop further the friendships and Morale they experienced whilst serving with the Unit.

Being the first virtual Branch of RAFA, this initiative has paved the way for similar Branches to be formed within the Association. It has created a new method of promoting RAFA and demonstrating that it has as much relevance today as the day it was formed.

The Branch is also the first to have its own website[6] and this initiative also helps to promote the Association in a way that has previously not been possible.

The RAFA Branch will ensure that the Unit Memorial, dedicated in 2008, and located at the National Memorial Arboretum will stand as a permanent reminder to those who lost their lives whilst serving in the Royal Air Force.

Rockstar Parody[edit]

In 2007 several members of No 4 Squadron created a parody of Nickelback's music video, Rockstar, whilst serving in Kandahar, Afghanistan.[7]


See also[edit]