Tuesday 6th September 2022
Typhoon Engineer Wing Commander Matt Smith has taken command of No 42 Expeditionary Support Wing, an A4 Force Engineering unit, at RAF Wittering in Cambridgeshire.
No 42 Wing is an elite engineering unit which provides specialist aircraft repair, ground engineering, armament support, aircraft recovery, and airfield services to deployed air operations around the world. Originally formed during World War Two, No 42 Wing provided the RAF’s bombs, ammunition and fuel, not so far from its current role.
Wing Commander Smith takes over from Wing Commander Mike Dutton, himself an experienced and highly qualified engineer. Wing Commander Dutton said: “It has been my honour and pride to lead 42 Wing and its four Squadrons forward. We have, and continue, to achieve above and beyond expectation. I wish them all every success and will always look back at my time in command with fond memories.”
No 42 Wing is part of the RAF A4 Force Elements. Ready to deploy at a moment’s notice, the A4 Force is comprised of specialist engineering and logistics squadrons that support military air operations and exercises in the UK and abroad.
Since graduating from the University of Strathclyde in 2005 and then from officer and engineering training in 2007, supporting the RAF’s fast jets has been a regular feature of Wing Commander Smith’s career. He has extensive experience with the Tornado and Typhoon fleets; as a Junior Engineering Officer with XV(R) Squadron, Matt was responsible for 130 technicians and the airworthiness of 24 Tornado GR4 aircraft. He later returned to that squadron as Senior Engineering Officer.
With the Typhoon, Matt completed tours with the Air and Space Warfare Centre and was also the senior UK team representative at King Fahad Air Base in Saudi Arabia, main operating base for the Royal Saudi Air Force’s Typhoon fleet. More recently Wing Commander Smith was appointed head of airworthiness support for the Typhoon fleet.
Matt said: “It is an enormous privilege to assume command of 42 Wing and to be provided the opportunity to work with a hugely talented team of engineering professionals. I am excited to lead the wing in continuing to provide the vital engineering support that the RAF needs on operations and exercises whilst also developing innovations that will improve engineering support to the future air force. 42 Wing is in fantastic shape, and I’d like to thank my predecessor for everything he has done.”
Engineering is the core role of No 42 Expeditionary Support Wing. It consists of four squadrons; the Joint Aircraft Recovery & Transportation Squadron (JARTS), No 71 Inspection & Repair Squadron, No 93 Expeditionary Armaments Squadron, and 5001 Squadron.
Group Captain Nick Huntley commands the A4 Force Elements. He said: “Firstly we must say thank you to Wing Commander Mike Dutton, who has done an exemplary job in commanding 42 Wing. We are also delighted to welcome Wing Commander Matt Smith, who brings so much experience and expertise to this role. I am in no doubt that his engineering insight will benefit everything we do.”
Top image: Wing Commander Matt Smith and Wing Commander Mike Dutton. Image by AS1 Kimberley Waterson