Military helicopters in Yorkshire on standby to support coronavirus effort

Two military helicopters based in Yorkshire are on standby to support the coronavirus efforts in the north of England and Scotland, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed.

The Merlin helicopters, based at RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire, will be used alongside three Puma helicopters, based at Kinloss Barracks in Moray, Scotland.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) said they will be used to meet requests for assistance. This includes being available round the clock for medical transport and general support such as moving equipment and personnel.

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Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "The creation of these helicopter hubs is the next step in our Armed Forces' contribution to tackling the coronavirus outbreak whenever it appears throughout the United Kingdom.

One of the Puma helicopters based at RAF Kinloss in Scotland. Credit: Ministry of Defence

"Our aircraft are ready to support emergency services and local communities wherever needed across the Highlands and islands of Scotland - the Armed Forces have always got your back."

The announcement follows an RAF transport aircraft being used to help the Scottish Ambulance Service in the evacuation of a critically ill patient, reported to have Covid-19, from Shetland to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary on March 22.

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