Readers, particularly in the East Wight, have noted an increase in the number of Chinook helicopters flying around over the past week, prompting questions as to what has been occurring to spark the heightened presence.
The daily appearance of the loud and distinctive helicopters comes after the Army’s first deployment to the Island in an estimated 30 years or more following a landslip at Undercliff Drive, as reported by Island Echo. Many readers have questioned whether the two are related, as fears grow that Undercliff Drive will never be reinstated.
Investigating the sightings, Island Echo has received confirmation from RAF Odiham – the home of the Chinook helicopter – that the tandem rotor, heavy lifting aircraft have been conducting deck training with RFA Argus in preparation for Exercise Joint Warrior, a multi-agency tactical exercise involving over 70 aircraft and 30 naval ships.
The close proximity to the airbase in Hook, Hampshire means the helicopters can travel daily to RFA Argus – a Primary Casualty Receiving Ship – that is moored South of the Island.