Navigator

The United Kingdom Mobile Air Movements Squadron, located at RAF Abingdon, is an Air Support Command Unit established to support the operational task of the transport force. The unit is essentially a quick reaction force of mobile and highly skilled air movements specialists capable of rapid deployment worldwide to provide movement facilities where none exist, or to reinforce existing facilities. UKMAMS personnel are fully conversant with the loading/unloading aspects of all British and many foreign types of transport aircraft and helicopters, and are capable of operating the entire range of RAF freight loading equipment.

The history of UKMAMS dates from July 1958 when the first Mobile Air Movements Section was deployed from RAF Abingdon to cover the move of British Forces into Jordan at the time of the Iraq revolution. Subsequently, the section grew with the increasing size and number of transport aircraft and with the evolution of the Defense Policy requirement for mobility. Squadron status was granted on 1st May 1966, and UKMAMS became an independent unit operationally controlled by Air Support Command and administratively controlled by RAF Abingdon.


Commanded by a Squadron Leader, UKMAMS comprises a headquarters with operational, training and engineering elements, also a number of MAMS teams identified alphabetically, one of which is always on standby to move day or night throughout the year. A MAMS team is led by an officer and normally comprises six men consisting of a flight sergeant, sergeant, corporal and two senior aircraftsmen. Each team is equipped with its own landrover fitted with radio and trailer, tentage, manpack radios, functional equipment and protective clothing for operating in arctic, tropical and temperate climates. Also, the squadron holds a wide range of specialist air cargo handling aids and vehicles which are allocated to teams as necessary.

UKMAMS potential and strength lies primarily in the application of a strict criteria for the selection of its personnel. Rigourous continuation training ensures the maintenance of high standards and requires that each man is certified in MAMS skills every six months, and this is followed by the unique experience gained from the wide diversity of tasks undertaken by the squadron. Finally, perhaps the greatest asset of the unit is the team spirit born out of shared operational achievements often necessitating work at sustained high pressure in arduous and extreme climatic conditions.

UKMAMS personnel spend a considerable proportion of their tours away from base, in fact teams are on the move almost every day of the year, taking part in Air Support Command operations, exercises and special tasks. Arctic, equatorial, jungle and plain foul weather conditions are met as teams journey to Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Canada and USA, South America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and Far East and nearer home to Northern Ireland and around the UK. Whilst the normal task is the movement of British Forces and associated equipment and weapons, many situations arise demanding the ability to improvise and extemporise in unsophisticated environments. Unit training aims at developing this ability. Many "one off" and unusual tasks are undertaken on behalf of British and foreign governments including:

The airlifting of a RN Wessex by Belfast aircraft to Punta Arenas, Chile, for HMS Endurance and recovery of marine specimens for Birmingham University.

Moving a Boeing 747 simulator compartment from Montreal to Heathrow for BOAC, which almost filled a Belfast aircraft.

The airlift of tentage and blankets to Gedez, Turkey for the relief of earthquake victims.

Recovering a Harrier STOL aircraft from Namao, Canada to Boscombe Down after cold weather trials.

Moving an 18,000 lb ships turbine from Manchester to Lisbon for the "Esso Northumbria" which lay crippled off Portugal.

Finally, the bizarre incident when UKMAMS unloaded the coach of the Lord Mayor of London in Germany, and one of the MAMS team in full traditional regalia took the place of an air sick pike man in an historical procession through Hannover.

When a state of emergency overseas calls for the presence of British Forces, UKMAMS teams will usually be aboard the first aircraft bound for the trouble spot and the squadron is justly proud of its motto: "Ferio Ferendo - We Fight by Carrying"

 
 
 
Uniforms on parade - Flt Lt "Uncle" Bill Wellman, J/T Gordon Gordie, Flt Sgt Ken "The Hustler" Browne and unidentified other team members display the various clothing that each team member is issued while on the squadron. From left to right: Tropical - Jungle - Temperate - Cold/Wet - Arctic - Gas Attack Protection.
 

Programme of Events 1400 to 1420 Demonstration of a MAMS team complete with landrover, trailer and functional equipment deplaning from an Andover and setting up a typical movement load control.

1405 to 1410 Display of clothing used by UKMAMS throughout the world.

1410 to 1415 Display of 25K Condec Transfer Loader

1415 to 1425 Unloading Trianco type pallets from a Hercules and transfer to an Anthony Allen Dock using a Condec 25K

1425 to 1430 Offloading NATO pallets from Hercules aircraft, transfer to helicopter loading point with Rough Terrain Fork Lift.

1430 to 1440 Rigging underslung loads by helicopter handling team.

1430 to 1440 12,000 lb Fork Lift demonstration.

1430 to 1450 Preparing the Condec 25K transfer loader for air transportation

1445 to 1455 Display of helicopter underslung loads lifting a 1/2 ton trailer and a cargo net with jerricans.

1455 to 1505 Loading a 25K Condec Transfer Loader into a Hercules aircraft.

1505 Demonstration Finale

Static Display of Aircraft and Handling Equipment After the mobile display the following will be available for inspection.

Hercules aircraft

Andover aircraft

25K Condec Transfer Loader

Trianco Transfer Loader

Houchin Power Unit

Britannia Freight Lift Platform

For the Children, Noddy Train Rides & Donkey Rides

Flight by Andover aircraft will be available at approximately 1515. Please listen for the announcement on the PA.

Light refreshments will be available in the buffet tent from 1530

Displays will finish at 1600 hrs.

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NOTES

Andover The Hawker Siddeley Andover tactical transport is powered by two Rolls Royce R.Da.12 turboprop engines developing the equivalent of 3,245 horse power each. The aircraft is used for short range transportation, can carry 31 paratroops or 44 passengers in conventional seats and is capable of landing on very short undeveloped airstrips.

Hercules The Hercules C1 is the RAF version of the C130 medium transport in use throughout the world. Powered by four Allison constant speed turboprops it performs a wide variety of duties including the carrying of troops, paratroops, airdrop loads and stretcher cases in addition to normal. It can carry up to 92 fully armed troops.

25K Condec Transfer Loader The loader, made by the Consolidated Diesel Electric Company of the USA, is a sophisticated loading aid capable of carrying 25,000 lbs of freight and presenting it at a height compatible with all types of transport aircraft in service with the Royal Air Force today. The platform, capable of being tilted in any direction, can also be raised from a height of a little over three feet to over thirteen feet and can be driven at a speed of 35 mph.

Trianco Transfer Loader The loader is designed to facilitate the handling of cargo, including heavy stressed platforms into and from a rear loading aircraft.

Britannia Freight Lift Platform As its name implies, this platform is specifically designed to enable loads to be inserted and removed from the forward freight door of the Britannia aircraft. The construction, mainly of tubular metal, is easily dismantled by a team of men and is fully air transportable.

Anthony Allen Dock This piece of equipment forms part of an aircraft pallet handling system for use at forward airfields. The large diameter feet enable it to be used in rough and soft terrain