The Scottish Region visited 221 Transport Squadron, The Scottish Transport Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps on 24 October 2007 to see the work of the Squadron and learn more about the work of the unit and the Territorial Army (TA).
After tea and coffee in the officers mess, where members met various officers of the unit, an excellent meal that was greatly appreciated was provided. Following this, there was a short but comprehensive presentation on the work of the Royal Logistic Corps and the Regiment by Lt. Colonel Maclean and Major Ross. The Royal Logistic Corps was formed on 5 April 1993 by amalgamating a number of different Corps, for example, the Royal Corps of Transport, the Royal Army Ordinance Corps and the Army Catering Corps.
The Royal Logistic Corps's mission statement is "The RLC is to enable, deliver and sustain logistic support for operations." This covers the wide range of activities undertaken from controlling movements of army personnel and equipment to providing postal and catering services. The Royal Logistics Corps is responsible for ensuring that supplies are delivered to units when deployed on operations and currently the Corps has a heavy commitment to the units deployed in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The Royal Logistic Corps provides the support required for both operations and is responsible for all of the supplies needed by other units. This involves supplies being sent by ship or air to the regions and moved by road to storage facilities and then distributed by road and air to the various units.
In addition to moving supplies, the Royal Logistic Corps also has responsibility for many other functions including providing crews and maintenance for army ships, tank transporting, storing and providing fuel, delivering mail and providing catering services. Additionally, the Corps' Pioneers build defences and buildings and can undertake many different construction tasks. The Corps also has Ammunition Technicians who look after the ammunition used by the army and undertake bomb disposal work, both in the UK and overseas.
A brief look at the SaBRE programme followed. This is designed to provide support for both reservists and employers and provides information to employers on employing people who are reservists. Support and assistance is also provided for those what are reservists.
After the presentation members toured the facility. A demonstration was given of the DROPS system. DROPS stands for "Demountable Rack Off-load and Pick-up System" and consists of Foden and Leyland DAF 8 x 6 vehicles. The vehicle demonstrated was a Foden Improved Medium Mobility Load Carrier (IMMLC) with skeleton trailer. These vehicles are designed to pick up and off load preloaded flatracks. The flatrack is a steel load platform that is designed to fit onto the vehicle. The Foden can carry a load of 17 tonnes and can travel cross country at 25 kph or at 75 kph on roads.
The demonstration involved transferring a load from the Foden onto the trailer and the various procedures involved were explained. The practical difficulties of operating the equipment, especially at night were explained and it was clear that the operators of these vehicles are highly skilled and dedicated to their work. By using the DROPS system, greater flexibility can be achieved with quicker turn round times for vehicles. In addition to flatracks pallets, there are versions for transporting fuel and water in tanks. These are similar to standard containers.
The stores were next to be visited and the Quartermaster sergeant explained how the stores systems work and outlined the procedures involved inholding supplies of everything that is needed to keep the unit operational. Stocks are kept to a minimum and ordered as required from central depots, with delivery being made within pre-set timescales.
After seeing the stores, members moved on to the vehicle workshops, where staff from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers were on hand to explain the how vehicles are maintained and t operational while being used on active service. Members were given a detailed outline of the various stages of maintenance used for routine maintenance and were shown some of the diagnostic equipment used. Members were also able to examine a Bedford MJ lorry at close quarters and various features of the vehcile were highlighted.
These lorries, despite having been in service for some time, are very reliable as they are mechanically simple and do not have the complex electronics found on more recent vehicles. Next was a demonstration of the Foden GS heavy recovery vehicle. This 6x6 vehicle is used to recover immobilised vehicles and is fitted with powerful winches and a crane for heavy lifting. The vehicle also carries rescue equipment that can be used if required.
The Scottish Region would like to thank Lt. Colonel Maclean and the staff of 221 Transport Squadron for their hospitality and making the visit both informative and enjoyable. Further details on the Royal Logistic Corps can be found on their website at www.army.mod.uk/rlc/index.htm and information on the SaBRE programme is available at www.sabre.mod.uk
Report by John Fender.
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