A Royal Air Force Brize Norton A400M Atlas aircraft flew the longest flight ever by this aircraft type to kick off the RAF deployment for Exercise Mobility Guardian 23.
On July 3, the Atlas took off from RAF Brize Norton and traveled 22 hours nonstop to Guam while receiving three refueling breaks along the way—once over the Atlantic, once over Alaska, and finally over the Pacific Ocean. The Atlas flew through the Arctic ice cap and passed nearer to the North Pole than any other aircraft of this type had ever done before during the course of the mission.
A Voyager from 10/101 Sqn flying from the UK completed the first refuelling, and a second Voyager operating from the US Air Force‘s Eielson Airbase in Alaska completed the second and third refuelings. The Atlas will join the exercise upon its arrival in Guam, along with an RAF Voyager, members of the Tactical Medical Wing, and other supporting staff from around the RAF. The RAF detachment will be joined by aircraft and people from Australia, Canada, France, Japan, and New Zealand in addition to the US aircraft participating in Mobility Guardian.
The exercise is the most recent illustration of the value the UK places on this area, and it spans from Northern Australia to Japan and then across the Pacific to Hawaii. The exercise’s goal is for the participating nations to advance their knowledge and abilities in interoperability, enabling them to deliver air power when necessary and get around the idea of “The Tyranny of Distance.”