Today the Swedish Armed Forces celebrated the retirement of the last Swedish HKP 10 Super Puma. The ceremony was held at the F21 Air Force Base in Luleå, which in fact was the same place where the Swedish Super Pumas first entered service back in the spring of 1988.
The event marks the historic end of a decade-long hand-over phase, where ageing helicopter types have been replaced by new-generation helicopter systems. From now on the Swedish Armed Forces Helicopter Wing operates a fleet of HKP 14 (NH90), HKP 15 (AW109) and HKP 16 (UH-60M), which places the inventory among the youngest military helicopter fleets in Europe.
The nine HKP 10 Super Pumas have been gradually withdrawn from flying duties since March 2013, and they have been replaced by newly delivered NH90s throughout the process. The last few helicopters were operated at the 1st Helicopter Squadron in Luleå, following the retirement of the Super Pumas from service at the F17 Kallinge Air Force Base in December last year.
A large crowd gathered to bid farewell of the faithful workhorse – a helicopter that has built up a true character throughout its 27 years in service, transitioning from a sophisticated and rugged all-weather SAR helicopter to a versatile multi-role aircraft and a capable medical transporter. Many are those whose lives have been saved by the Super Puma.
The last remaining Super Puma, H-97, made some of its last flights during the event, and by coincidence it just passed 7000 flight hours the very same day. It will now make a few more flights prior to making its final landing in Linköping next week. Following the retirement, two helicopters will be displayed at air museums, one will be used as a technical training airframe in Halmstad and the remaining six will be offered for sale.
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