Royal Air Force (RAF) will station three Puma helicopters at Kinloss Barracks in Moray, Scotland, as s part of an Aviation Task Force supporting the UK Government’s response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
The Pumas will work closely with RAF Chinook and Army Wildcat helicopters based at RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire.
The RAF also announced that Southern England will be supported by Chinook helicopters from RAF Odiham and Army Air Corps Wildcat from RNAS Yeovilton.
UK Helicopter Fleet Supporting COVID-19 Response:
The Puma Hc Mk2 is a medium support helicopter based at RAF Benson, Headquarters of the COVID-19 Aviation Task Force.
Aircrew, engineers and support personnel from 33 and 230 Sqn are currently supporting the NATO mission in Afghanistan as part of Operation Toral. The helicopter is extremely reliable, capable of carrying up to 16 passengers. It also has the capability to be rapidly ‘re-roled’ for medical evacuations by being fitted with up to 6 stretchers.
Puma helicopters will deploy to Kinloss Air Station in Scotland to provide assistance to the North of the country, including in medical evacuation if needed.
The twin-rotor Chinook, famous for the ‘wokka-wokka’ sound of its blades, is a powerful and adaptable support helicopter. The Chinook can carry up to 55 troops or 8 tonnes of cargo (more than 8 small family cars.) It can carry up to 24 stretchers.
As part of Military Aid to Civil Authorities (MACA), the Chinooks will move from RAF Odiham in Hampshire where they are based, to RAF Benson in Oxfordshire to join the COVID-19 Aviation Task Force.
The Army Wildcat is a light multi-role helicopter flown by 1 Regiment Army Air Corps. Its primary role is surveillance and reconnaissance but it has the versatility to conduct a range of tasks, from moving people and equipment to evacuating casualties.