Last week, the first two HKP 16 Black Hawks were airlifted from the Linköping Helicopter Base to to Camp Marmal in Afghanistan. This is done at the same time as the HKP 10B Super Pumas are making their last week in alert as medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) helicopters in Afghanistan.
A total of four HKP 16 and about forty people in the new SAE ISAF UH-60 unit will be flown to the Marmal base in northern Afghanistan in the coming weeks. They will be operational from April 1, and the main task is to use two helicopters for the unit’s 15-minute MEDEVAC alert. The helicopters will be carry a doctor and a nurse in order to provide life-sustaining care during the journey to a hospital. In addition to being an advanced flying ambulance, the HKP 16s can also be utilized for transporting operations.
The shipment to Afghanistan takes place in one of the C-17 Globemasters from the Heavy Airlift Wing of Armed Forces. Two helicopters can be transported at a time, and the loading takes only a few hours.
The Swedish Armed Forces Helicopter Wing has operated medical helicopters in Afghanistan for two years now. During that time, more than eighty MEDEVAC missions have been performed. Mission number 82, to get three wounded Afghan soldiers and fly them to the hospital in Mazar-e Sharif, was carried out a week ago.
The Afghanistan unit consists mainly of personnel from the Helicopter Wing’s squadrons in Luleå and Ronneby. The change of helicopters and staff is expected to take only two weeks, despite the fact that a new helicopter system is being deployed. The unit’s two HKP 10Bs will be transported to the helicopter squadron in Luleå, where they will fulfill their last few years in service prior to their retirement. The Black Hawks are expected to operate in Afghanistan for three years.
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