Dark green Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF) AgustaWestland EH101 Merlin choppers heading for the dusty environment of Afghanistan. Wednesday 2 July 75 troops officially said goodbye to Karup Airbase to head for Mazar-e-Sharif. They will fly and support two Merlins from 1 August, with holding a third EH101 in reserve.
Although Northern Afghanistan is new to many Danes, part the force being send now has seen action in Afghanistan before. Some Danish crews actually flew with British EH101s flying from Camp Bastion in the Helmand province in the past few years. Others flew the Airbus Helicopters (Eurocopter) AS550C2 Fennec in the Asian country in 2008, also from Bastion.
The Danish forces and the Merlins will be embedded with the German continent at Camp Marmal. The Danes will primary support the German ISAF operations there, as a Danish radar unit did in 2012.
To prepare the EH101s for Afghanistan, Denmark has upgraded the choppers since 2011. They now sport a self-defence suite, including door-mounted machine guns. At home the 14 Merlins in RDAF service fly both tactical military as search-and-rescue missions. This summer marks the first time the Danish Merlins are deployed tactically in a real-war situation.
Source: Danish Ministry of Defence / RDAF