RAF Puma Helicopters Training in Kenya

A Puma helicopter perches on top of a mountain in Kenya

Puma helicopters from RAF Benson are currently conducting environmental training in Kenya while also supporting the British Army.

Located in the foothills of Mount Kenya, over 80 personnel are working in a unique and challenging environment to conduct a variety of environmental training.  Often encountering temperatures of up to 35 degrees and heavy thunderstorms, the aircrew, engineers, and support staff are enhancing their skills. 

A Puma helicopter transits at low level across the desert, with the crewman visible in the side door looking at the small sections of greenery visible on the ground in amongst the desert.

Squadron Leader Emmerson, the Puma Detachment Commander, explained: 

“Within a 100-mile radius, you can encounter mountains, volcanos, jungle, grasslands and arid desert areas. Often, roads are in a state of disrepair, or are simply dirt tracks making covering distance a challenge for any deployed force.

“The Puma allows rapid transport around the training area, decreasing the risk of injury or damage to personnel on the ground and equipment, along with avoiding the perils of the local wildlife! As with recent operations overseas, the Puma is proving its excellent performance when operating in hot and challenging environments.”

A Puma helicopter flies at low level across the Kenya desert, with small lined areas of trees visible amongst the almost red-looking sand.

The Puma Force enhance British Army training in the area by providing essential air transport and joint training opportunities alongside the UK’s valued partners in the Kenyan Defence Force.  Capable of delivering troop and equipment transport, basic reconnaissance, winching and VIP transport capabilities, the Puma has supported combat operations and humanitarian missions in challenging environments around the world for more than 50 years. 

A puma flies in front of the hill tops in front of a clear blue sky


Based at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire, the Puma Force (comprising 33 Squadron and 230 Squadron) maintains a constant readiness to deploy rapidly in the UK and worldwide.

Images by Flight Lieutenant Lee, Puma Force (UK MOD Crown Copyright)

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