Between March 12th – March 30th the Cumbrian skies once again reverberated to the sound of heavy helicopters, not the usual sound of the Seach and Rescue Sea Kings though but the sound of the Koninklijke Luchtmachts (Royal Netherlands Air Force) AS 532 Cougar and CH-47 Chinooks that were being based at Carlisle for use in twice yearly Exercise Tac Blaze. Many thanks to Duane Hewitt for the use of his stunning images which were taken at Carlisle and RAF Spadeadam.
During the Exercise the KLU made good use of the electronic warfare range at nearby RAF Spadeadam as well as the low fly system throughout Cumbria, with them being seen over The Lake District on several occasions and even calling into Kirkbride Airfield with underslung loads attached, more heavy lifting was practised at Carlisle Airport itself as well as Spadeadam. Troop insertion and extraction was also performed at several locations too with Spadeadams “rebel village” getting attacked.
For this exercise the KLU sent over three CH-47 Chinooks and just the one Cougar the serials were D-101, D-102 and D-663 for the Chinooks and S-453 for the Cougar. It was nice to see so many Chinooks as for the deployment they usually send just one or two, unfortunately there were no AH-64 Apaches present this time however it is hoped they will return in Autumn with some Apaches in tow for more training in the Cumbrian Skies.