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Military Mountain Flying Training
Snowdonia Rotary MFTA
Esk 721 AW101 Merlin Mk.512
September 2014

Flying training in the Snowdonia Rotary - Mountain Flying Training Area (MFTA)
The Royal Danish Air Force (Kongelige Danske Flyvevåben) Eskadrille 722 (722 Squadron) relocated to Karup in January 2004 to form Helicopter Wing Karup. In January 2006 the squadron received the first of 14 AgustaWestland AW101 (previously EH101) Merlin Mk.512 helicopters (serials M-501 to M-520). The order had consisted of eight Search And Rescue (SAR) Merlins and six Tactical Troop Transport (TTT) Merlins, externally similar the helicopter has different equipment fits and seating arrangements. The Troop Transport version has an additional Terma ALQ-213 self -protection package including Tactical Threat Displays, Advanced Counter Measure Dispensers and Missile Warning Sensors, which was first installed for their deployment to Afghanistan in 2011 along with door mounted guns. During the delivery period they operated six former RAF Merlin HC.1s before their replacements were completed in 2010.
Esk 722 although based at Karup has detachments at Skrydstrup, København/Roskilde, Bornholm/Rønne and Ålborg.
In September 2014 two of their Merlins (a SAR and TTT variant) deployed to RAF Valley for a week for Pre-Deployment Training (PDT) prior to their peace support operations in Afghanistan. Their training consisted of extensive low level flying within the Snowdonia Mountain Flying Training Area (MFTA) this included remote tactical landings high on mountain ridges, lake shores and uneven (hard and soft) terrain. When a location had been identified by the crew then a series of decreasing low approaches were made before that making an actual touch down. Crew from the looking out of the side door and rear ramp constantly adivised the pilot of and landing hazards and of the distance above the ground.
Royal Danish Air Force Merlin (M-519) operating in 'Whiskey' within the Snowdonia Mountain Flying Training Area.
Left to right: AW101 Merlin Mk.512 Tactical Troop Transport (TTT) (M-519) callsign 'DAF 3178' of Esk 721 RDAF approaching a remote landing location.
 
Royal Danish Air Force Merlin (M-519) over the remote landing zone
Lifting off and turning 360 degrees.
 
Royal Danish Air Force Merlin (M-519) lifting off
Left to right: The Merlin circled around to check out potential landing areas. Eventually they made their final approach and landed at a number of locations including the shoreline of the reservoir. Wheels up departure.
 

Royal Danish Air Force AW101 Merlin Mk.512 (SAR) (M-513 'Rescue 13')
Royal Danish Air Force AW101 Merlin Mk.512 (SAR) (M-513 'Rescue 13') it was using callsign 'DAF 3179'. It is inscribed; 'RDAF EH101 20,000 flight hours'
 
The final wheels-up flypast and departure at the end of the day.
Royal Danish Air Force AW101 Merlin Mk.512 (SAR) (M-513 'Rescue 13')