Joe Copalman experienced Vortex Warrior – one of several type-specific desert environmental qualification exercises run by the UK’s Joint Helicopter Command in the United States.
As the British Armed Forces’ only rotarywing heavy-lift assets, the Chinooks of the Royal Air Force are in considerable demand throughout the world. Whether shoring up NATO’s northern flank in Norway or hauling troops and equipment over the vast desert expanses of Mali, the Chinook Force is in a near-perpetual state of providing deployed British Army troops and Royal Marines with an expeditionary heavy-lift capability. Last October alone, RAF Odiham-based No 27 Squadron was supporting simultaneous Chinook detachments at five different locations around the world. With a high likelihood of being deployed almost anywhere around the globe, RAF Chinook crews must train to operate in all environments – especially those where degraded-visibility operations are common.