Sep 30, 2013

RAF's Merlin 10 Years on Ops

The RAF Merlin Force is celebrating its return from 10 years of continual operational deployments following the withdrawal from Afghanistan. The RAF Merlins, which are based at RAF Benson, Oxfordshire first deployed to Bosnia in 2003 and have since provided essential helicopter lift for land forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
With the first Merlin helicopters being delivered in 2001, the Merlin Force spent the next two years training relentlessly to operate the technologically sophisticated aircraft. On 31 March 2003 they achieved Initial Operating Capability and a day later they deployed to Bosnia in support of Operation OCULUS: the start of the Merlin Force’s enduring commitment to operations that has lasted for over 10 years.
The Merlin deployed to Bosnia in support of the UK’s continuing commitment to Peace Support Operations in the Balkans Region as part of the Stabilisation Force. The SFOR logo was fitted to the side of the aircraft and, from its base at the Banja Luka Metal Factory, the Merlin immediately set to work providing aviation support in the form of moving troops and supplies by air.

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