Aircraft

Puma Helicopters Mark 50 Years' RAF Service With Flypasts

Ten of the helicopters are flying over locations with significance to the Puma Force as part of a training sortie.

A formation of Puma helicopters is commemorating 50 years of RAF service with flypasts in areas significant to the aircraft's history.

Ten of the helicopters are covering the route as part of a training sortie to mark the occasion.

RAF Benson shared maps and examples of the locations, along with expected timings, although it was stressed that these may change at short notice.

Writing on Facebook, the base said: "The first Puma helicopters were delivered into service in 1971.

"A formation of up to 10 Puma helicopters will depart RAF Benson tomorrow morning as part of a training sortie that will include flypasts of notable locations for the Puma Force over the past 50 years.

"This includes sites that hold historical significance for the Puma Force as well as those that provide support to delivering current Puma operational capability."

First delivered on 29 January 1971, the medium-lift support helicopters have flown combat and humanitarian operations around the world, deployed in places including Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Mozambique and the Caribbean.

As part of the 50th anniversary of the aircraft's service, a helicopter at the airbase was given a unique new paint job that includes the badges of the squadrons that have flown the Puma, and a tail fin emblazoned with the Union Flag and its own bespoke Puma 50 logo.