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Puma helicopters power through Afghan winter

AT Monitoring Desk-Puma helicopters deployed to Afghanistan have continued to operate ‘despite the challenges the aircrew face from the Afghan winter, snow and mountainous terrain’, say the Royal Air Force.

Squadron Leader Max Bond, Officer Commanding the UK’s Theatre Aviation Detachment, said: “Operating the aircraft is always a challenge because of Kabul’s altitude and congested airspace, but this is further compounded during the winter months by degraded visibility, sub-zero temperatures and occasional heavy snow fall.

Despite this we have been able to maintain our core activities and have recently conducted training with the 1st Battalion the Royal Gurkha Rifles to make sure we are ready and able to provide an airborne Quick Reaction Force for the NATO mission if required.”

Air Commodore Dean Andrew, Deputy Commander NATO Air Component – Afghanistan, said: “The Op TORAL Puma detachment is the movement asset of choice in Kabul for NATO.  The agility and capability of the crews and aircraft support the NATO mission daily, in all conditions.”

The Pumas are in Afghanistan to provide support to the NATO forces stationed there, conducting ongoing training and advisor missions with Afghan Security Forces.

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