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Air International 2015-11
M.Scharenborg, R.Wenink - France's Guardian Angels /Military/
The 11 SA330 Pumas have been on strength since 1974, but have undergone upgrades to SA330Ba standard with special SAR equipment.
A Puma is on alert sor SAR missions in Southwest France along the Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic Ocean 24/7.
Pilots qualify for mountain flights and night SAR after 380 flying hours, after which the option of becoming a CSAR specialist can be chosen.
Introduced in 2006, the Caracal can carry 11 tonnes and offers a 250 nautical mile range.
The Caracal's autopilot has an automatic hover mode and the flight engineer can take control of the aircraft above a landing area.
The annual Combined Joint Personnel Recovery Standardisation Course trains participating nations in conducting multinational personnel recovery missions.