Andrew Fitchett, Reporter
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
As the airmen of RAF Lakenheath struggle in rough waters, thunder cracks, rain pours down and waves crash into their faces.
Fortunately for the US aircrews, it is just a training exercise.
Lowestoft College hosted the fighter jet aircrews as they underwent mandatory water survival training last Thursday, May 22.
With many operations taking place over large bodies of water, every airman must be able to withstand harsh water conditions.
Thursday’s training saw the crews tackle parachute entanglement training, canopy drag training, life raft operations, survival knowledge training and personnel recovery training.
The college pool is capable of creating waves six feet high and has been used by military forces due to its purpose-built capacity.
Measuring 80ft by 32ft, the pool has a depth of 13ft, sprinklers to simulate heavy rain and fans to create gusts of up to 30 knots.
A spokesman for RAF Lakenheath said crews had to take the course every 36 months.
“The sea conditions around the U.K. can become treacherous in a short period of time, and our Airmen need to be prepared to survive in those environments if they are forced to enter the open water. Preferably, when conditions show an increased and unacceptable risk to our personnel, training missions are diverted to routes over land. Unfortunately, this can place a noise burden on communities,” he said.
He added: “All our aircrew have a higher respect for the open water biome after receiving this refresher training.”