KEEPING THE FRAGILE PEACE

At its peak in 1999 the Kosovo Force comprised 50,000 troops from 39 countries. Today, it is far smaller, yet its role in the Balkan province is just as vital. Martin Scharenborg and Ramon Wenink report from KFOR HQ, Camp Bondsteel.

KFOR HELICOPTERS

A Swiss AS332L and a Croatian Mi-171Sh on a mission between Ferizaj and Pristina.
All photos Martin Scharenborg and Ramon Wenink
On August 1, 2016 the Swiss Compound at the new Rotary Wing Deployed Operational Base (RWDOB) at Pristina-Slatina Military APOD (Aerial Port of Debarkation) was officially opened.

ON A QUIET, sunny day in Ferizaj, 72 miles (45km) south of Kosovo’s capital Pristina, a formation of four US Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters suddenly disturbs the calm as it returns to Camp Bondsteel from a border security mission carrying Turkish troops. It is 2017, 18 years since the Kosovo Force (KFOR) was established as a multinational peace support operation under NATO command; it is among the longest operations in the organisation’s history. Its success is partly down to the intensive and productive commitment of helicopters in a country characterised by poor infrastructure and challenging terrain.

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