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January the 12th 2016 marked 100 years since the formation of the Royal Air Force’s 33 Squadron.

The squadron was formed in Filton, England in 1916. For the remainder of the First World War the squadron was tasked with guarding against German airship raids against northern England.

Formed in 1971 at RAF Odiham as the RAF’s first Puma HC1 squadron, the squadron has flown in a large number of operations. These include the Gulf War of 1991 and Operation Agricola, the NATO Kosovo Force, Operation Barwood in Mozambique, NATO operations in Bosnia and in Iraq during Operation Telic. The squadron is part of the RAF Support Helicopter force.

The Puma HC1 was withdrawn from service in December 2012 and is being replaced with the HC2 under a Life Extension Programme. The first Puma HC2s have been delivered to the Puma Force and operational flying has begun.
The multi-million pound upgrade to the original Puma means that the Puma HC2 benefits from new engines which give them 35% more power and improved fuel efficiency to allow them to fly faster and twice as far as their predecessor.

Currently 33 Squadron A Flight is deployed in Afghanistan in support of Operation TORAL, the ongoing NATO training mission.

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