Several Puma helicopters from RAF Benson will be operating at RAF Woodvale from 12-17 October 2020 to conduct essential training for crews during Exercise NORTHERN TEMPEST 20.
The Exercise is part of the pre-deployment training that the Puma Force undertake prior to deployment to Operation TORAL in Afghanistan. Up to three helicopters will be used to train three Puma crews from 33 Squadron operating in rural and urban areas. They will be using a variety of authorised helicopter landing sites in the Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds areas, as well as conducting additional training at Altcar, Spadeadam and Snowdonia. This deployment is not linked to the UK Government’s response to coronavirus and is solely for pre-deployment training.
The exercise will ensure that the aircrew are qualified to conduct a variety of tasks that are needed in support of the ongoing NATO mission in Afghanistan. This includes operating as pairs by day and by night, confined area landings, flying and landing in urban environments and operating in mountainous terrain.
The aircraft, support team and crews will be based at RAF Woodvale for the duration of the exercise. They will be flying during the week from 1pm until 1am, which will, on occasion, be outside of RAF Woodvale’s normal operating hours. The Puma helicopters may also be working with other colleagues in the area to simulate tasking that they may encounter during their time in Afghanistan, for example troop movements.
RAF Woodvale was chosen for the exercise as it provides an excellent forward operating base for the Puma Force. It also provides additional support to the training being undertaking by introducing the crews to operating in unfamiliar surroundings and a different environment.