10-Feb-2023 Source: Royal Air Force
Puma helicopters from RAF Benson are currently conducting environmental training in Kenya while also supporting the British Army.
Located in the foothills of Mount Kenya, over 80 personnel are working in a unique and challenging environment to conduct a variety of environmental training. Often encountering temperatures of up to 35 degrees and heavy thunderstorms, the aircrew, engineers, and support staff are enhancing their skills.
Squadron Leader Emmerson, the Puma Detachment Commander, explained:
“Within a 100-mile radius, you can encounter mountains, volcanos, jungle, grasslands and arid desert areas. Often, roads are in a state of disrepair, or are simply dirt tracks making covering distance a challenge for any deployed force.
“The Puma allows rapid transport around the training area, decreasing the risk of injury or damage to personnel on the ground and equipment, along with avoiding the perils of the local wildlife! As with recent operations overseas, the Puma is proving its excellent performance when operating in hot and challenging environments.”
The Puma Force enhance British Army training in the area by providing essential air transport and joint training opportunities alongside the UK’s valued partners in the Kenyan Defence Force. Capable of delivering troop and equipment transport, basic reconnaissance, winching and VIP transport capabilities, the Puma has supported combat operations and humanitarian missions in challenging environments around the world for more than 50 years.
Based at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire, the Puma Force (comprising 33 Squadron and 230 Squadron) maintains a constant readiness to deploy rapidly in the UK and worldwide.
Images by Flight Lieutenant Lee, Puma Force (UK MOD Crown Copyright)