The U.K. military has stationed three Royal Air Force HC Mk 2 Puma helicopters in Scotland to support ongoing patient transport efforts there and across the U.K. as the novel coronavirus continues to spread.
The three Puma helicopters will be stationed at Kinloss Barracks in Moray, the U.K. Ministry of Defense announced March 27. The Pumas will work closely with a Boeing CH-47 Chinook and an AgustaWestland (now Leonardo) AW159 Wildcat helicopter based at RAF Leeming, in North Yorkshire, to meet any requests for assistance from NHS boards and trusts across Scotland and Northern England.
A second helicopter facility will cover the Midlands and Southern England working out of The Aviation Task Force Headquarters at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire. Chinook and Wildcat helicopters normally based at RAF Odiham and Royal Navy Air Station Yeovilton respectively will support the Southern areas.
“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,” Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said in a statement. “Our aircraft are ready to support emergency services and local communities wherever needed across the highlands and islands of Scotland – the armed forces have always got your back. In addition, our superb military planners and logisticians are engaging with the governments and health services of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to support their efforts in responding to the virus.”