Ten years of operations

Seen here at its home base Bétera on June 2 is AS532AL HU.27-01/ET-668 (c/n 2733), the first of four Cougars ordered in 2006 by the Spanish MoD to equip the battalion.
Roberto Yáñez

On June 2, 2018, the Spanish Unidad Militar de Emergencias (Military Emergency Unit) celebrated on the 10th anniversary of its Batallón de Helicópteros de Emergencia II (BHELEME II, Emergency Helicopter Battalion II), a Spanish Army Aviation (FAMET) unit based at Bétera army base, Valencia.

This specialised battalion is tasked to respond to emergency situations around the country, including large forest fires, earthquakes and rescue missions.

BHELEME II operates a mixed fleet of three Airbus Helicopters Cougar and four EC135 helicopters, although it also utilises Super Pumas from BHELMA IV at El Copero, Seville, when necessary.

These heavily modified Cougars are equipped with an multispectral imaging system, searchlight, Bambi Bucket and crane, amongst other things. One Cougar (ET-669) crashed at Requena aerodrome, Valencia, in September 2015 during a training flight, fortunately without injury to the crew.

The unit is also celebrating the achievement of 100,000 flight hours since its creation as UHEL II in 1971. Roberto Yáñez