RAF News

Joint Helicopter Command return home as Operation PELEDA ends

Image shows RAF Regiment Gunner looking out from Chinook.

Joint Helicopter Command return home as Operation PELEDA came to an end on 14 August 2022.

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Tasked with supporting the UK’s Enhanced Forward Presence in Europe, working alongside NATO, Joint Expeditionary Forces and UK partner-nations and allies, Joint Helicopter Command had a decisive impact on over 24 military exercises from their deployed operating bases in Lithuania and Estonia.

Image shows RAF Regiment inside Chinook.

The Aviation Task Force 3 has continued to deliver strategic effect across the B3P. This is purely down to the agility and sheer determination of the Force as a whole, and we’ve been able to display all that the Chinook can offer. I am really proud of the belief and pro-active attitude at all levels, consistently demonstrated by teamwork and interoperability between all of the allied nations who hold the Chinook Force in the highest esteem. Thank you.

Warrant Officer Bowdler
Aviation Task Force 3

Image shows RAF Chinook flying low over dusty landscape.

Each of the Apache, Wildcat, Puma and Chinook helicopter detachments that were deployed throughout the 24-week long Operation, rapidly set about delivering their core tasks of LIFT, FIND, ATTACK and Aviation COMMAND and CONTROL across North-Eastern Europe.

Image shows RAF Regiment walking towards Chinook with baggage and rifles.

From live firing serials on Exercise SABER STRIKE to troop insertions on Exercise GRIFFIN THUNDER; the UK’s Joint Helicopter Command even facilitated a strategically important materiel transport mission for the Estonian Navy, delivering a hefty 7.5 tonnes of supplies to Vaindloo Island in the Gulf of Finland.

Image shows RAF Regiment carrying planks of wood on the beach, with Chinook in the background.
RAF Chinooks transported building materials using their under-slung load capabilities to Vaindloo Island.

The unique and versatile nature of battlefield aviation assets also provided some welcomed engagements with their Host Nations and allies, from meeting and flying the Lithuanian President across an active training area, to supporting the Estonian Victory Day celebrations.

Image shows RAF Chinooks in flight, with camouflage paintwork.

Joint Helicopter Command’s ability to deploy Forces at speed, requiring little in way of initial support to operate globally, no matter the environment, made certain that they completed their mission and then some.

Image shows Chinook.flying over lake by white manor house.

Operation PELEDA fact file

  • 25 February – 14 August 2022
  • 16 tonnes of cargo moved by helicopter
  • 2,215 passengers moved by helicopter
  • 54 vehicles were deployed
  • 447 Service Personnel from British Army and Royal Air Force deployed
  • 960 hours flown
  • Peléda Translation: Lithuanian for Owl, which is the Joint Helicopter Command's mascot

Image shows Chinook.flying over sandy landscape.

Allies

  • USA
  • Estonia
  • Lithuania
  • Latvia
  • Finland
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Portugal
  • Belgium
  • Germany

Image shows Chinook.flying over trees.

Notable Events

  • UK Foreign Sec Visit
  • NATO Joint Fires Seminar
  • Static display and role demo for DV Day
  • Lithuanian Presidential flight of Pabradé training area
  • Support to Lithuanian Air Force. Estonian Victory Day Parade
  • Siauliai Airbase Commander Handover Ceremony
  • Latvian Airshow. United States Marine Corps
  • Estonian Defence Force cargo transportation. Finland Media Day
  • HMA Finland Visit, Santahamina
  • Baltic International Air Show
  • Civil engagement with Estonian public
  • Chinook Safety Brief and Famil with NATO allies at Tapa
  • Estonian Air Force Command Handover and flypast
  • Estonian Conscripts Open Day
Image shows Vaindloo Island.
The Vaindloo Island.

Military Exercises supported

  • Ex SABER STRIKE
  • Ex FURIOUS WOLF
  • Ex RISING GRIFFIN
  • Ex BOLD DRAGON
  • Ex BOLD MONSOON
  • Ex NIGHTHAWK STRIKE
  • Ex IRON WOLF
  • Ex TROJAN FOOTPRINT
  • Ex HEDGEHOG
  • Ex ALYTUS SECTION
  • Ex FIERCE WOLF
  • Ex GRIFFIN THUNDER
  • Ex GRIFFIN SHIELD
  • Enhanced Forward Presence in Lithuania
  • Ex ALYTUS SECTION Vaindloo Island - Transportation of key allied materiel
  • Op CASARIA
  • Op CABRIT
  • Ex VIGILANT FOX
  • Ex EAGLE RAID
  • Ex ARTISAN PHEONIX
  • Ex RAPID EXTRACTION
  • Ex AGILE CERTIFICATION Viking Coy HAF
  • Enhanced Forward Presence French Coy

Image shows infographic on facts around Operation PELEDA.

Read more about Chinooks

Image shows RAF Chinooks in flight over grasslands.

Read more about Pumas

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