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  • anguilla Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria Relief Operations

    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.
    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 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.
    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.
    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, 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, 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, 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, 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


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    DatesRotary Wing Aircraft UnitModels
        FR Flottille 36F Aéronautique Navale AS365 Dauphin 2
    SA365 Dauphin 2
        sep17 to oct17 CA 423 Squadron 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 Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 US Marine Corps V-22 Osprey
        sep17 to oct17 US Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Two Two US Navy S-70 H-60
    MQ-8A/B Fire Scout
        06sep17 to 12sep17 KY Air Operations Unit Royal Cayman Islands Police Service EC135T1
        07sep17 to oct17 UK 815 Squadron Fleet Air Arm Lynx
    AW159 Wildcat HMA2
        09sep17 to oct17 FR 3 Regiment D'Helicopteres de Combat 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 Squadron Fleet Air Arm EH101
        22sep17 to oct17 UK 845 Squadron Fleet Air Arm Merlin HC.3i
        22sep17 to oct17 UK 847 squadron Royal Marines AW159 Wildcat AH1
    Not all models shown may have taken part in the Operation

    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    


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    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,

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