Around 200 Royal Navy personnel from the Commando Helicopter Force have undergone rigorous training to prepare them for operating in the Arctic.

Working alongside Royal Marines, these individuals, including chefs, engineers, logistics experts, ground and air crew, have spent time enduring sub-zero temperatures and sleeping in tents to learn how to survive and fight in the extreme cold conditions of Bardufoss air base in northern Norway.

The Royal Navy say here that the training program includes two days of classroom instruction and practical lessons covering essential skills such as clothing layer systems, kit and pulk packing, ration and cooking systems, tent building, sled construction, and navigation in snow-covered terrain.

After the initial classroom instruction, personnel spend five nights and six days in the field mastering skills such as trekking through deep snow, surviving avalanches, conducting patrols, living without rations in tents, building makeshift shelters, and completing the ice-breaking drill.

One critical aspect of the training is the expectation that personnel can haul themselves, along with their rucksacks, out of a lake unaided should the ice crack beneath their feet, and they fall into the cold water. The training also covers how to warm up after an immersion in icy waters to prevent hypothermia.

The aim is to ensure that all personnel can support, maintain, and operate the force’s aircraft in Arctic conditions, regardless of their rank or role.

Tom has spent the last 13 years working in the defence industry, specifically military and commercial shipbuilding. His work has taken him around Europe and the Far East, he is currently based in Scotland.
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Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_704407)
1 year ago

This exercise represents the difference between NATO and Russian forces. NATO forces undertake expensive overseas deployments on exercises. Russia’s pre war defence budget didn’t allow it’s overly large, complex and expensive ex soviet era forces to train very much at all. Result battlefield defeat after defeat in Ukraine.
You train to win.

Francis (@guest_704439)
1 year ago

whenever I see sub-zero helicopter ops I’m always reminded of that horrible scene in the Day After Tomorrow when the flight squad sent to Balmoral freezes

Frank62 (@guest_704669)
1 year ago
Reply to  Francis

I think of the Falklands war choppers blowing over on top of the glacier above Grytviken on South Geaorgia.

Just Me
Just Me (@guest_704542)
1 year ago

Merlin still can’t retract its wheels in sub zero conditions

Airborne (@guest_704596)
1 year ago

Pretty much standard stuff a few years ago!

Frank62 (@guest_704668)
1 year ago

Wow, that’s one of my worse nightmares: How to get yourself out of icy water after the ice cracks up beneath you. How do they do that?

DaveyB (@guest_706071)
1 year ago

Done those drills many times. Even did the under ice swim from one ice hole to another. Glad I don’t have to do it anymore, though weirdly miss it.