Swedish Black Hawks get set for Afghan duty

It’s a busy time for the Swedish Defence Helicopter Wing, with two of its aircraft types being readied for operations in Afghanistan and off the Horn of Africa and the Somali coast.

Two of the nation’s swiftly-acquired Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawks will begin flying operational missions from Mazar-e-Sharif air base on 1 April, with their primary task being to provide medical evacuation cover. Getting ready to do the job has been a great effort, as Stockholm only ordered the aircraft in mid-2011.

Designated HKP 16s by the Swedes and currently making final familiarisation flights in Afghanistan, the aircraft have replaced two Eurocopter AS332 Cougars, which returned to Kallax, Luleå on 25 March (Swedish air force image below).

Cougar 560.jpg
Meanwhile, two AgustaWestland AW109/HKP 15s left Malmen, Linköping for Djibouti on 21 March, aboard a Strategic Airlift Consortium C-17 strategic transport.

AW109s 560.jpg
The light utility helicopters are assigned to support Operation Atalanta, with one to be deployed aboard the Swedish navy vessel Carlskrona and the other to be flown from Djibouti.


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