RAF personnel and RAF Puma arrive at Kinloss Barracks as part of coronavirus support forces 270320 CREDIT MOD.
RAF

Coronavirus: Military Sets Up Helicopter Task Force To Support NHS

The force will respond to requests for medical assistance, as well as help with the movement of personnel or equipment.

RAF personnel and RAF Puma arrive at Kinloss Barracks as part of coronavirus support forces 270320 CREDIT MOD.

Royal Air Force helicopters have been put on standby as part of a UK-wide coronavirus aviation task force to support the NHS.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) said the force will help with "medical transports", as well as general support including the movement of personnel and equipment.

Three RAF Pumas have been sent to Kinloss Barracks in Moray, Scotland, as part of the force.

The aircraft will be used alongside two in North Yorkshire to meet requests for assistance from the NHS across Scotland and northern England.

Meanwhile, a second helicopter facility at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire will cover the Midlands and southern England.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "The creation of these helicopter hubs is the next step in our Armed Forces’ contribution to tackling the coronavirus outbreak whenever it appears throughout the United Kingdom."

The announcement comes after the RAF evacuated a critically ill COVID-19 patient from the Shetland Islands to Aberdeen for treatment. 

RAF Pumas land at Kinloss Barracks as part of coronavirus support force 270320 CREDIT MOD
RAF Pumas land at Kinloss Barracks (Picture: MOD).

Both the Joint Helicopter Support Squadron and the RAF's Tactical Supply Wing will support the task force, as well as the tri-service Joint Helicopter Command.

Group Captain Adam Wardrope, Aviation Task Force Commander, said: "We are at high readiness to provide support to anywhere in the UK that needs it."

Earlier this week, a team of Army medical, logistics, supply and humanitarian planners joined the Scottish Government's Emergency Co-ordination Centre team in Edinburgh as the Armed Forces stepped up their coronavirus support in Scotland.

Cover image: RAF personnel and a Puma helicopter arrive at Kinloss Barracks (Picture: MOD).