The Joint Helicopter Support Squadron (JHSS) has successfully completed a training exercise with 9 Parachute Squadron, Royal Engineers on how to prepare heavy plant equipment as under-slung loads.
Five members of 9 Para took part in the training with the helicopter handling specialists, colloquially known as “hookers” as they hook on the load to the aircraft. A part of 23 Parachute Engineer Regiment, 9 Para are tasked with making sure that 16 Air Assault Brigade can live, move and fight anywhere, often at extremely short notice. To do this, they require heavy plant equipment, which is often lifted into place by support helicopters such as the RAF Chinook.
Following completion of courses in rigging, marshalling and commanding landing points, the team returned to the JHSS at RAF Benson with specialised heavy plant equipment and a Chinook flown by 18 Squadron from RAF Odiham. The loads being used during the training were a large JCB digger, weighing in at 9 tonnes, and a motorised roller, weighing in at 2.5 tonnes.
The team spent the day preparing, attaching and detaching the complex loads alongside the specialists from JHSS who do this routinely in operations in the UK and overseas. They also experienced how to conduct these activities safely while working with the Chinook Force. As each load lifted handles very differently, the training was also extremely valuable for the Chinook crew.
With the JHSS motto of ‘Together We Deliver’ clearly being shown throughout the training, the team are now looking at further training with other units across the Joint Helicopter Command.