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Joint Helicopter Command (JHC): Enablers and multipliers of humanitarian aid and rescue

In support of the COVID-19 crisis, JHC is poised to deliver essential supplies to remote regions of the UK and transport people and equipment during times of need

Ministry of Defence
Mar 23 · 3 min read

Joint Helicopter Command is a unique part of the Military where the three single services: Royal Navy, Army and the Royal Air Force come together under one command.

A Merlin Mk3 helicopter with the Commando Helicopter Force, part of the JHC, in Norway.

The JHC’s core tasks are lift, find and attack, and as part of Military Aid to Civil Authorities (MACA), JHC helicopters from all 3 services will be delivering ‘lift’ to transport people, equipment and cargo swiftly and efficiently around the country.

Together with their Joint Helicopter Support Squadron and Tactical Supply Wing, that enables the provision of safe, cleared and suitable Helicopter Landing Sites, as well as remote aircraft re-fuelling capabilities, JHC is prepared to support the Government’s response.

In one of the first instances of medical evacuation during the ongoing pandemic, on 15 March, the Joint Helicopter Command responded to a request to transfer a critically ill patient from the Isle of Scilly to Newquay International Airport. The patient was thereafter transferred to a mainland hospital. The Chinook Force were tasked and conducted a successful life-saving medical evacuation.

RAF Chinook operating under JHC lifting flood relief supplies.

As part of the military’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, forces from the Joint Helicopter Command are on stand-by to provide aviation capability in support to civil authorities. This will enable isolated communities to seek urgent medical care quickly during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Support Helicopter Force, Army Air Corps, Watchkeeper Force and Commando Helicopter Force are providing helicopters and personnel from across the 3 services as a joint effort to respond to the combined Military endeavour.

The Joint Helicopter Command remains at readiness to support broader disaster relief efforts and continues to conduct routine training to maintain proficiency of crews.

In another example of the military providing air lift support to the British public, On Sunday 23 March, an RAF A400M transport aircraft responded to a request to transfer a critically ill COVID-positive patient from hospital in the Shetland Islands to an Intensive Care Unit in Aberdeen.

The male patient in his 60s was in a deteriorating condition and needed to urgently evacuated. The A400M, with Scottish Ambulance Service personnel on board, evacuated the passenger yesterday afternoon and transferred him to hospital in Aberdeen. Before returning to its home base at RAF Brize Norton, the aircraft was cleaned.

Watch this video for more about Joint Helicopter Command:

Find out where the UK Armed Forces are deployed here:

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