Puma helicopters based at RAF Benson have now served for their first full year on Operations in Afghanistan.
The Royal Air Force’s Puma 2 helicopters have completed the first 12 months of support to Operation TORAL in Afghanistan. The aircraft and personnel deployed to Kabul in March 2015 and officially took over from their Chinook helicopter colleagues on 1 April 2015 to continue the UK’s contribution to the NATO Afghanistan Mission named Operation RESOLUTE SUPPORT.
This was the first deployment for the RAF’s Puma 2 fleet as part of the Toral Aviation Detachment, which comprises aircrew, engineers, armourers, force protection, flight operations staff, logisticians, administrators, intelligence staff and a meteorological forecaster.
With bases spread across Kabul, the role of the Puma Force is essential to provide an efficient method of moving coalition personnel and freight between bases.
Since deploying to Afghanistan, the Puma Force has flown over 2,300 hours where they have moved almost 28,000 passengers and over 42 tonnes of freight.
With just 12% of the available rotary wing assets, they have provided around 24% of lift capability, highlighting the outstanding contribution the Puma Force is making to the ongoing training mission.