THE new station commander of an RAF base is preparing for a call to deploy several hundred personnel to set up an airfield anywhere in the world.

Group Captain Steve Reeves, who has taken over at RAF Leeming, said the base had been put on standby as an Expeditionary Air Wing Headquarters as part of Nato’s Response Force for this year.

He said: “Leeming is recognised as leading the way in developing this type of capability. I was delighted to be chosen to command RAF Leeming and was immediately impressed with the diverse range of defence output.”

The base, which is home to 100 Squadron and the Northumbrian Universities Air Squadron, has high numbers of personnel currently deployed on operations.

Gp Capt Reeves has flown more than 2,000 fast-jet hours and 200 operational sorties, and replaces Group Captain Tony Innes, who is on operational deployment.

Gp Capt Reeves said: “RAF Leeming has great support from the local community and I will work hard to strengthen those links.

“I’ve never served at RAF Leeming before but it’s a fantastic part of the country with so much going on.

“I can see why so many in the military choose to make it their permanent home.”