The Danish Armed Forces end their EH101 helicopter deployment to the NATO/international forces in Afghanistan on Tuesday 29 September 2015. Most of the 70 personnel returns home on that day, while the helicopters first head to Portugal.
The EH101s (called Merlin in UK service) were operating from Camp Marmal near Mazar-i-Sharif since Summer 2014, tasked with transport, evacuation and troop extraction/insertion.
According to Danish military sources the Helicopter Wing based at Karup Airbase will now first retrain on its core combat tasks, to be back at full capability again in 2016. It is a regular issue with deployments that not all tasks are being trained, reducing the operational readiness of the entire unit somewhat.
Three Danish EH101 formed part of the air component of the Danish-German joint unit in Mazar-i-Sharif, with the Germans operating their larger CH-53s. One chopper was damaged and had to return because of that, but with the remaining two the unit managed to spent 634 hours in the air.
Fresh crews will use the two remaining helicopters first during a military exercise in Portugal, where they train together with EH101s of the Força Aérea Portuguesa. After that they will be cleaned from all dust and sand before they return to Karup.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, including source information provided by the Danish Armed Forces
Featured image (top): Royal Danish Air Force EH101 operations from Mazar-i-Sharif, released on 9 January 2014 (Image © Forsvaret)