Royal Air Force, February 18, 2016 - Wednesday 17th February marked a significant milestone for the Puma Force as they reached a staggering 10,000 flying hours for the Puma 2.
The extensively upgraded helicopter declared Initial Operating Capability in February 2015 and just over three weeks later deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation TORAL; the ongoing NATO training and support mission. Today the Puma Force reached the collective total of 10,000 flying hours for the Puma 2 helicopter.
Declaring Full Operating Capability in early January 2016, the Puma Force has maintained a continual readiness for contingency operations and a national standby commitment alongside the ongoing Afghanistan deployment, emphasising their key contribution to Defence. The Operation TORAL aviation detachment alone lifted more than 15,000 passengers and over 36,000 kgs of freight during 2015.
Group Captain Simon Paterson, the Puma Force Commander and RAF Benson Station Commander, said: “The achievement of 10,000 flying hours since the introduction of the Puma 2 helicopter capability highlights the remarkable commitment and excellent teamwork by the squadron personnel, the project team, industry and others. To achieve this alongside a continuous detachment in Afghanistan has been exceptional and reinforces the importance of support helicopter capabilities to Defence.”