Longbenton Air Cadets got to grips with leadership tasks, marksmanship principles and engaged with the RAF’s Aerospace Battle Managers (ABMs) during an action-packed activity day at RAF Boulmer.  

The outstanding opportunity to overlook the ABMs was enjoyed by the 12 to 19 year olds as they learnt first-hand how the Northumberland RAF base defends and secures UK and NATO skies.

Formed as the Fighter Control Branch in the turbulent times of The Battle of Britain, ABMs have been securing the skies of Great Britain and Overseas Territories for 75 years. They are Britain’s front line of air defence and the RAF’s ‘Airspace Guardians’. The young people soon got to grips with the three specialisations within the ABM Branch: Surveillance Officers, Weapons Controllers and Space Specialists.

“It was great fun!” said 12-year old Nilesh Shah. “We got to see how radar works and learn what the ABMs do – it was very exciting!” added Nilesh.

The young people also took part in a series of swashbuckling leadership tasks aimed at promoting communication, creative thinking and teamwork.


Cadet Cameron McDonald, 15, said; “Although the leadership tasks began fairly easy they got more difficult as we progressed through them; and we’re happy that we beat the other group!”

“The tasks helped us to focus on how to think outside of the box, how to evaluate when on task and how to discuss ideas as a team; they were good fun.”

For 15-year-old cadet Mary Delariarte improving her marksmanship principles was a highlight of the day.

Mary said, “I was really nervous about shooting. I had trained beforehand but I hadn’t shot on the range. I really enjoyed it and learnt how to identify where and how to improve.”

Squadron Officer Commanding, Flight Lieutenant Gary Richardson said; “I thank RAF Boulmer for hosting us. The day gave an insight into what our local base does and how important it remains in defending the UK and NATO.

“It’s been a very enjoyable, informative and varied day that allowed the young people to develop skills useful in all walks of life in a practical educational environment.”

Longbenton Squadron is currently open to new members in Year 8 and above. Please visit squadron at www.2344.org.uk.