The month was mainly focused on final preparations for Ex RED FLAG in Jan 10 which included flying newly-upgraded Capability E(A) aircraft for the first time. The upgrade includes Paveway IV ‘Bogus Bomb’ mode and other enhancements including communication improvements. With the upgrade, Sqn pilots will now be able to practice using Paveway IV without actually having to carry a store on the wing. Ex RED FLAG will be used to exploit using Paveway IV in the pre-planned mode during large-scale Combined Air Operations (COMAO).
The final social event before Christmas included a Sqn all-ranks Christmas Party at Barnsdale Lodge on 17 Dec. The event was a surprising success given that, two days previously, it was announced that Joint Force Harrier would reduce in size, move to RAF Wittering and that RAF Cottesmore would close in 2013. The news that IV(AC) Sqn would disband on 31 Mar 10 and reform as 4(R) Sqn at RAF Wittering on 1 Apr 10 only became public on returning to work post-Christmas.