Two Puma helicopters from RAF Benson being refuelled after landing at Kinloss Barracks (Picture: MOD).
RAF

Coronavirus: RAF Helicopters Deployed To Scotland Complete Support Mission

The aircraft and crews are now heading back to RAF Benson after spending nearly three months at Kinloss Barracks.

Two Puma helicopters from RAF Benson being refuelled after landing at Kinloss Barracks (Picture: MOD).

Royal Air Force crew and helicopters deployed to Scotland to support the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) during the coronavirus pandemic have completed their mission. 

Three RAF Puma helicopters were deployed to Kinloss Barracks in March but are now flying back to their base at RAF Benson, Oxfordshire, after nearly three months of support.

Crews and aircraft from the base were deployed to Moray after an urgent request from the SAS to help transport COVID-19 patients.

The service has since been able to build its own infectious patient air-lift capacity, removing the need for ongoing military support.

However, the Army said the Ministry of Defence can "swiftly re-deploy" the task force if required. 

Major General David Eastman, Commander Standing Joint Command (UK), said: "Our crews have been on 24-hour call and successfully evacuated patients from some of the most remote areas of Scotland.

"I am extremely proud of the work the task force has done and we stand ready to support the Scottish people and Ambulance Service should they need us again."

Puma helicopters from RAF Benson prepares to fly to Kinloss Barracks (Picture: MOD).
The Puma helicopters were used to help move infectious patients - vital in Scotland's remote highland and island communities (Picture: MOD).

During the deployment, the RAF helped transfer a critically ill patient, who was showing "severe" coronavirus symptoms, from the Isle of Arran to Kilmarnock.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the Scottish Government is "very grateful" for the RAF's assistance.

The deployment of the aircraft to Kinloss Barracks was part of a wider COVID Aviation Task Force.

Military aircraft from all three services have been put on standby to help ambulance services across the UK during the crisis.

Around 4,000 military personnel are currently assisting with the Government's coronavirus response.

Cover image: Puma helicopters at Kinloss Barracks (Picture: MOD).