Puma HC2 of the RAF are continuing their mission on behalf of NATO forces in Afghanistan, despite the challenges of the Afghan winter. The Pumas from RAF Benson, Oxfordshire, are deployed to Kabul to provide helicopter support to deployed NATO forces stationed there, conducting the ongoing training and advisory mission with the Afghan Security Forces.
Sqn Ldr Max Bond, commanding officer of the UK’s Theatre Aviation Detachment under Operation Toral, 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 snowfall.”
The RAF Pumas recently conducted training with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Gurkha Rifles to ensure readiness for NATO’s airborne Quick Reaction Force. The battalion’s soldiers are the lead battlegroup in the NATO Kabul Protection Unit. They work alongside other NATO allies and the wider international community, as part of the Kabul Security Force which provides force protection to NATO’s Train, Advise, Assist mission – Operation Resolute Support.
Photo: Crown Copyright