Air International 2017-04
I.Harding - A New Era /Military/
Commando Helicopter Force Merlin HC3s will all be upgraded to HC4 standard under the Merlin Life Sustainment Programme, the first of which is expected to be delivered by the end of 2017.
The Commando Helicopter Force’s transition from the Sea King HC4 to the Merlin HC3 and HC3A was completed in June 2016 when 845 Naval Air Squadron returned home to RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset joining 845 NAS aircrew seen here. CHF’s primary role is supporting 3 Commando Brigade, Royal Marines.
The Chinook is the now the only heavy-lift helicopter in service with the Royal Air Force. All 14 of the new HC6 variant, seen here, have been delivered to RAF Odiham whilst the legacy fleet has also been upgraded.
Dust landing training represents a vital part of the environmental training undertaken by many types within JHC. Here an upgraded Chinook HC4 based at RAF Odiham, home to the UK Chinook force, departs one such area having completed its sortie.
Captured completing a confined area landing, the Puma HC2 reached a new milestone in early 2017 completing 15,000 flying hours. In that time the Puma force has continually supported Operation Toral in Afghanistan and numerous training exercises in the UK and around the world as well as holding national standby commitment.
Captured departing a forward refuelling point on Salisbury Plain is an Apache AH1 with a 230-gallon extended refuelling tank attached. The MoD will replace its legacy fleet with 50 Apache AH-64ES from 2020.
A classic sunset scene as an Army Air Corps Apache AH1 based at Wattisham descends to refuel from a forward refuelling point during a mission rehearsal exercise. JHC’s aspiration is its fleet of 50 AH-64E Apaches will be operational before the AH1 's scheduled 2025-2026 out of service date.