The Governor’s Office has confirmed that the UK military’s Security Assistance Team (SAT) in Cayman has helped to obtain agreement for RFA Argus to provide air cover with their helicopters for the Cayman Islands for a two week period in June. This coincides with a period when the RCIPS Air Operations Unit will be without an aircraft.
The RCIPS Air Operations Unit has two H145 helicopters. One was in the USA to receive an upgrade of specialist equipment before the COVID crisis led to a cessation of work at the maintenance base there and the closure of borders.
Air Operations Unit has been operating the remaining aircraft and flying hours far in excess of normal operations in support of RCIPS COVID-19 related work, in particular assistance with curfew enforcement and border protection. The aircraft is now required to be off-island for a period of two weeks, for routine annual maintenance checks given the numbers of hours flown. The SAT team has arranged for the helicopters from RFA Argus to provide cover while this work is carried out.
The Royal Navy helicopters will be operating from RFA Argus and will work closely on taskings for the RCIPS. These will include border protection, anti-drug and weapons operations and search rescue cover.
Governor Martyn Roper commented: “I am grateful for the work the SAT team has already done and the support they are providing on a number of issues. This includes helping to facilitate places for the five Cayman Islands Regiment Officers who are heading to the UK on Saturday to attend the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. The arrangement for the Royal Navy to provide air cover to us, during the RCIPS helicopter’s maintenance run to the USA, is particularly welcome and a good example of the work that has been done. This assistance will ensure that our Islands and borders remain safe at a time of great uncertainty. The RCIPS Air Operations Unit have done a fantastic job since the start of this crisis, and will continue to work closely with the Navy during this deployment. They are old friends and have deployed together to the Bahamas in support of operations following Hurricane Dorian last year.”