Station name: RAF Benson
Station address: Wallingford, Oxon OX10 6AA
Tel: 0845 606 9069
Steadfast in support
To provide Reservists in ground-support branches and trades to reinforce the Support Helicopter Force within the Joint Helicopter Command.
More about this squadron
Based at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire, 606 (Chiltern) Squadron is a large, multi-role unit with a specific task to support Joint Helicopter Command. Regardless of role, 606 Squadron’s personnel work alongside their regular counterparts to support JHC aviation assets such as the Chinook, Merlin, Puma, Apache, Gazelle, Lynx and Sea King helicopters. The unit has a particularly close relationship with the flying squadrons at RAF Benson: 28 (AC) and 78 (B) Squadron (Merlin helicopters), and 33 and 230 Squadron (Pumas). Its Reservists are routinely deployed throughout the world, supporting RAF Benson aircraft on operations, training and exercises.
The unit was formed in 1996 as the Helicopter Support Squadron, and gained its number three years later.
Roles and specialist skills
Wherever helicopters from the UK armed forces are used, it is possible that they are being supported by 606 Squadron’s Reservists. Whatever their role, the unit’s personnel are focussed on providing first-class back-up to the crews flying the missions. Many are also trained to operate as helicopter underslung load teams.
Flight Operations staff are trained in the specifics of helicopter requirements, allowing them to operate under extreme weather conditions. Those employed in the Engineering and RAF Regiment Flights are also shown how the needs of rotary aircraft can be different to those of fixed-wing aircraft. Logistics Drivers and Suppliers are, in addition to their main role, trained in providing fuel to helicopters in remote locations.
In the last decade, 606’s Reservists have been deployed with the Joint Helicopter Command and the RAF on operations in Iraq, the Balkans, Kuwait, Afghanistan and the Falkland Islands. Exercises have taken its members to Belize, Germany, Jordan, Kenya, Morocco, Norway and the USA.