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british special forces
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UKSF Aviation

Air support for UKSF operations is provided by some highly trained pilots from all branches of the UK military.

RAF Special Forces Flights

RAF Special Forces are the cream of the RAF, tasked with flying UKSF forces to and from battle. Trained to penetrate deep behind enemy lines, RAF Special Forces flights operate both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft.

more info: 7 Squadron (Chinook helicopters)

more info: 47 Squadron (C-130 hercules planes)

Chinook firing flares
A RAF Chinook helicopter fires decoy flares while on a mission over Afghanistan.
image by Cpl Lee Goddard  | © UK MOD / Crown Copyright 2015
Used under Open Government Licence

Army Air Corps (AAC)

Army pilots fly battlefield insertion/extraction and surveillance operations for UKSF. They also provide a covert transport facility for the Special Air Service.

more info: 658 Squadron (SAS helicopter support)

more info: 657 Squadron (Lynx AH7 helicopters)

more info: 651 Squadron (Defender fixed wing aircraft)

7 Squadron RAF, 657, & 658 Squadron AAC are combined into the Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing (JSFAW)

Royal Navy

Commando Helicopter Force

Top pilots from the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm support Royal Marines, SBS and other UKSF operations.

more info: Commando Helicopter Force

815 Naval Air Squadron

815 NAS Maritime Interdiction Flight are on standby to support UKSF Maritime Counter Terrorism (MCT).

more info: 815 NAS MI Flight

771 Naval Air Squadron

771 NAS carry out Search and Rescue (SAR) and Maritime Counter Terrorism (MCT) operations.

more info: 771 NAS

Other Aviation Support

UKSF, as well as the Paras and Royal Marines may also be supported by any of the many squadrons in the RAF, AAC or Fleet Air Arm. For instance, it is believed that 4 RAF Puma HC1s, operated by No 33 & No 230 Squadrons RAF, supported SAS Task Force Black in Iraq.

more info : 33 & 230 Squadron RAF - UKSF Support

It is also believed that UK Special Forces in Afghanistan were sometimes supported by British-operated MI-8/MI-17 helicopters. These Russian-built helicopters were fitted with western radio gear and countermeasure systems, additional armour and GPMGs mounted in the cabin doors. UKSF used the MI-17s for several reasons: there was a shortage of helicopters capable of operating across the mountains of Afghanistan, the ubiquitous MI-17 airframe was less obviously Western in appearance than say, a Chinook, and spare parts were easy to find in the region.

read news report on UKSF using foreign helicopters


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