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RAF Centenary

Part of Leaving the EU – in the House of Commons at 6:09 pm on 26th November 2018.

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Photo of Gavin Williamson Gavin Williamson The Secretary of State for Defence 6:09 pm, 26th November 2018

I know that everyone at RAF Cosford will be greatly appreciative of those thanks. It is great to be able to name-check such a wonderful RAF base that is making such an impact in terms of training and skills for future generations in our Royal Air Force.

What truly makes the RAF so remarkable is that, since 1990, it has been continuously deployed on overseas operations. RAF100 has also been a chance to celebrate that continuing contribution to defence and the security that the RAF provides to our nation. As we speak in this Chamber, the RAF is involved in campaigns across 23 countries and five continents, working closely with our NATO allies. It has protected Baltic skies over the Black sea and it will soon be over Icelandic skies. It is all about protecting those nations and also Britain from all those who wish to do us harm—nations that are becoming more aggressive and more assertive in their international view and their willingness to put pressure on their neighbours.

Further afield, our RAF is supporting the French counter-terrorism mission in Mali, and RAF Regiment personnel are training their counterparts in Nigeria to combat the menace of Boko Haram. Following the devastating hurricanes in the Caribbean last year, who did we turn to? We turned to the Royal Air Force, which flew more than 850 tonnes of vital freight, including water, rations and shelters to help local people.