The Israeli air force is working on a plan to convert one of its Lockheed Martin C-130 transports or Sikorsky CH-53 helicopters into a flying hospital.

The need for such a capability is driven by the air force's preparations to operate long-range missions in support of the Israeli defence forces.

Today, the air force's 669 search-and-rescue unit is in charge of evacuating pilots and soldiers from combat zones. But the equipment used on its CH-53s and Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks is limited to providing life support only on short-duration flights until the wounded reach hospital.

Under the new plan, the defence forces' medical crews would be able to provide more intensive treatment while casualties are transferred from remote combat zones to hospital. This would include surgery and other emergency procedures that cannot now be performed on evacuation flights.

The planned flying trauma unit would also be equipped to support a seriously wounded soldier beyond the so-called "golden hour" for treating major injuries.

Source: Flight International