Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria Relief Operations


anguilla Caribbean Islands

  • Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria Relief Operations
  • Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria Relief Operations
  • Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria Relief Operations

Hurricane Irma, declared as a Category 5 hurricane, developed in the Caribbean and swept through many of the island chains on its way towards the US East Coast (which was reached on 10 Sep). Almost before Irma had cleared, Hurricane Jose was following c 3 days behind.

Belgian, Canadian, Dutch, French, UK and US forces mobilised in the aftermath of Irma to assist in relief efforts, while the Cayman Islands almost immediately sent a Police helicopter to the Turks and Caicos Islands in support.

Intensive activity on the Sun, producing Solar Flares and Coronal Mass Ejections in early-mid Sep complicated the co-ordination and operation of all these efforts by disrupting radio communications.
The French supplemented their locally based Dauphin with a Puma from 3 RHC airlifted by A400M to Martinique. Troops, lorries and stores from 33e RIMa were flown in to Saint Martin on 11 Sep. On 13 Sep an RAF 99 Squadron C-17 was sent to Évreux-Fauville to provide heavy lift for further French aid to Guadeloupe.
By 19 Sep, Canadian forces were assisting UK troops in restoring water supplies on the Turks and Caicos Islands. CC-130s had delivered building materials to Anguilla by 23 Sep.
The UK contribution was provided under Operation Ruman.
  • RFA Mounts Bay had been in the Caribbean since Jun 2017 on Atlantic Patrol Task (North) conducting preparedness reviews for the Hurricane season with Island Administrations. She had 815 NAS 216 Flt Wildcat embarked. Her contingent of Royal Marines made a major contribution in reopening the airport and getting the radio station back on air in the British Virgin Islands.
  • Aid packages and supplies have been coordinated at Kemble and despatched via RAF Brize Norton units, together with a Puma by airlift, for increased load lifting and transport flights bringing Royal Marines as an experienced relief workforce and Police for security enhancement. Local deployments of the Royal Marines were assisted by USMC V-22 lifts. A 3rd Puma was despatched from RAF Brize Norton on 14 Sep and 2 Chinooks from 27 Sq were airlifted in.
  • By 17 Sep Royal Engineers and Commando Engineer teams had restored the Reverse Osmosis water desalination plant to full operation on Tortola, BVI.
  • HMS Ocean was re-tasked at short notice from a NATO Mediterranean deployment and called at Gibraltar to re-store with supplies flown in from the UK by 4 Chinooks. After a non-stop transatlantic passage, she arrived on scene with 9 helicopters on 22 Sep, including 2 Chinooks from 18 Sq B Flt, 3 Junglie Merlins from 845 NAS and an 847 NAS Wildcat AH.1, in addition to her usual Royal Marines complement of 9 Assault Squadron. On 25 Sep, she moved from off Anguilla, to the Commonwealth of Dominica.
  • UK civilian organisations (not part of Operation Ruman), such as Thomson-Tui, Thomas Cook and Virgin Airlines have also assisted in delivering aid consignments.
  • UK individuals have responded to a British Red Cross aid appeal and their donations have been matched by the British Government.
Meanwhile, the US Coast Guard had imposed Port Condition Zulu (port closed to all traffic) at Key West from 8 to 16 Sep.
On 29/30 Sep, an Antonov Airlines AN-124 UR-82008 flew from Eindhoven to Sint Maarten with a hold-full of international aid.

While the clear up was still underway, a 3rd tropical storm escalated into the Category 5 Hurricane Maria, threatening Antigua, Barbuda and Dominica, striking the latter on Mon 17 Sep and following roughly the same track as Irma, the week before.

After ravaging the Commonwealth of Dominica, Hurricane Maria moved on to Puerto Rico, leaving the majority of the population without electricity on 19/20 Sep. Late on 20 Sep, RFA Mounts Bay Wildcat rescued 3 souls from the capsized rv Ferrel, off Vieques, with the assistance of USCG units and the USS Kearsarge. The Kearsarge also contributed 6 airframes from HSC-22, to the US Virgin Islands. On 21 Sep, a UK aid team was landed by Chinook on Dominica and a second team arrived on Montserrat to assess damage. The RAF flew in the first Light Wheeled Tractor on an A400M on 24 Sep, after a huge effort by the JADTEU clearing the type for airlift. On 25 Sep both Chinooks embarked on HMS Ocean were at work on the Turks and Caicos Islands.
With the damage so great and widespread across the island chains, the British, Dutch and French governments agreed to establish the Multi National Caribbean Coordination Cell at the Dutch Naval Base on Curaçao, to plan the allocation of military resources, on 21 Sep.


K-MAX in Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

K-MAX in Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

28-Feb-18 - K-MAX operator ROTAK Helicopter Services of Anchorage, Alaska will be operating on Puerto Rico supporting infrastructure re-building efforts following the devastation of hurricane Maria
RAF Puma HC.2 Fleet Reaches 20,000 Flight Hours

RAF Puma HC.2 Fleet Reaches 20,000 Flight Hours

20-Dec-17 - The 24 Puma HC.2 delivered to the RAF between 2012 and 2015 reached 20,000 flying hours
Royal Cayman Islands Police in Irma Relief

Royal Cayman Islands Police in Irma Relief

01-Nov-17 - After Hurricane Irma hit the Caribbean’s Leeward Islands on September 6, 2017, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) EC135 helicopter was the only available outside aid for the first 36 hours
USCG and British AW159 Rescue Three off Vieques

USCG and British AW159 Rescue Three off Vieques

21-Sep-17 - An US Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules and a Royal Navy AW159 helicopter coordinated the rescue of an adult female and two children from the capsized vessel Ferrel near Vieques, Puerto Rico


Dates UnitModels
    FR 36F Aéronautique Navale AS365 Dauphin 2
SA365 Dauphin 2
    sep17 to oct17 CA 423MHS Canadian Armed Forces CH-124 Sea King
    sep17 to oct17 UK 27 Squadron Royal Air Force 414 - H-47D Chinook
    sep17 to oct17 UK 33 Squadron Royal Air Force Puma Mk2
    sep17 to oct17 US VMM-162 US Marine Corps V-22 Osprey
    sep17 to oct17 US HSC-22 US Navy S-70 H-60
MQ-8A/B Fire Scout
    06sep17 to 12sep17 KY AOU Royal Cayman Islands Police Service EC135T1
    07sep17 to oct17 UK 815 NAS Fleet Air Arm Lynx
AW159 Wildcat HMA2
    09sep17 to oct17 FR 3 RHC Aviation Légère de l'Armée de Terre Gazelle
SA330 Puma
    09sep17 to oct17 NL vsq 860 Marine Luchtvaartdienst NH90 NFH
    11sep17 to oct17 UK 18 Squadron Royal Air Force 414 - H-47D Chinook
    22sep17 to oct17 UK 820 NAS Fleet Air Arm EH101
    22sep17 to oct17 UK 845 NAS Fleet Air Arm Merlin HC.3i
    22sep17 to oct17 UK 847NAS Royal Marines AW159 Wildcat AH1
Not all models shown may have taken part in the Operation

helicopter   Individual helicopters

Model IDs
Bell MV-22B Osprey 168298    
Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk N72764    
Sikorsky S-61N N906CH    
Sikorsky CH-124 Sea King 12426    
Sikorsky UH-60A Black Hawk 77-22718     86-24558    
Eurocopter EC135T1 VP-CPS    
Eurocopter AS565SA Panther 524    
NH Industries NH90 NFH N-325    
Aerospatiale SA330E Puma XW217    
Aerospatiale SA330B Puma 1417     1510    
Aerospatiale HH-65 Dolphin 6548    
Kaman K-MAX N357KA    
Boeing CH-47D Chinook ZA682     ZA684     ZH775    
Boeing MH-47E Chinook ZH897     ZH900    
AgustaWestland Merlin HC.3 ZJ128     ZJ132    
AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat HMA2 ZZ530    


Aircraft Carrier (Nuclear Powered)   Improved Nimitz class US Navy CVN-72 USS Abraham Lincoln,
Guided-Missile Destroyer   Arleigh Burke Flight IIA class US Navy DDG-99 USS Farragut,
Frigate   City class Canadian Armed Forces FFH 340 HMCS St. John s,
Frigate   Floreal class French Navy F733 Ventose,
Corvette   Holland class (OPV) Royal Netherlands Navy P841 Hr.Ms. Zeeland,
Assault Carrier   Ocean class Royal Navy L12 HMS Ocean,
Assault Carrier   Wasp class US Navy LHD-1 USS Wasp, US Navy LHD-3 USS Kearsarge, US Navy LHD-7 USS Iwo Jima,
Assault Carrier   Mistral class French Navy L9014 Tonnerre,
Landing Ship/Platform Dock   Bay class Royal Fleet Auxiliary L3008 RFA Mounts Bay,
Landing Ship/Platform Dock   Harpers Ferry class US Navy LSD-51 USS Oak Hill,
Landing Ship/Platform Dock   San Antonio class US Navy LPD-21 USS New York,
Support Ship   Joint Support Ship class Royal Netherlands Navy A833 Zr Ms Karel Doorman,
Support Ship   Mercy class US Navy T-AH-20 USNS Comfort,

Helicopters for sale
Future helicopters
Flying a helicopter
Helicopter stories
TV and movies

Helicopter books
Helicopter patches
Helicopter model kits