Arrcade Games – For Commando Fliers in the Baltic
A detachment of Merlin Mk3 helicopters, aircrew, engineers and support staff from Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) with 846 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) is the Royal Navy’s contribution to Arrcade Fusion 2015, the annual workout of NATO’s Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC).
The UK-based force has been in existence for more than two decades and stages a major exercise to see how it might respond to a fictional security or humanitarian crisis.
The last couple of Arrcade Fusions were played out at RAF St Mawgan in Cornwall.
This year, however, it’s being staged across around 75,000 square miles – about ten times the size of Wales – of the Baltic States of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, with the latter serving as the hub for the 1,700 military and civilian personnel from the four countries taking part.
Lielvarde Air Base, home of the Latvian Air Force on the right bank of the River Daugava three dozen miles southeast of the capital Riga, is acting as home for the normally-Yeovilton-based air and ground crews of 846 NAS.
846 NAS detachment commander Lieutenant Commander (Lt Cdr) Richard Bartram said;
“The detachment will provide a support flight capability for the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps across Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia throughout the duration of Ex Arrcade Fusion. Any time we get the chance to support the Army and NATO like this, we will.”
After several weeks of getting established and moving logistics into place, Arrcade Fusion has now moved into the active phase.
The Reaction Corps’ commander Lt General Tim Evans added.
“This exercise is unique for the ARRC, It is our first time in Latvia and provides an excellent opportunity to deploy and then operate in another NATO country – and strengthen our partnership with our Allies, especially those in the Baltic region.
The exercise is a great chance to better understand how Latvia could support a NATO force deploying to their country.”
The exercise runs until early December 2015.