Joint Helicopter Support Squadron (JHSS) is a unique, challenging and diverse squadron based in Oxfordshire. Equipped with the latest vehicles from the British Army and the RAF, the Squadron maintains a constant state of readiness for war or peacetime operations and exercises.
The Squadron is based in Oxfordshire and consists of 60% British Army and 40% RAF personnel. The Squadron is structured as:
- JHSS Squadron Headquarters - RAF Benson
- Mobile Air Operation Team (MAOT)
- A Troop
- B Troop
- Communications Troop
- Mechanical Transport Troop
- Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant
- Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME)
JHSS is an integral part of Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) and is utilised in a variety of roles, including: providing aid after natural disasters and delivering mission critical support on operations. JHSS is deployed all over the world, making it a challenging and extremely exciting place to work.
An example of the role the Squadron plays was its instrumental support in repairing the dam at Whaley Bridge in 2019. The Squadron built, lifted and dropped over 300 tons of aggregate, ensuring safety to hundreds of residents.
JHSS works closely with the RAF and its fleet of helicopters, using their underslung load capability to get vital kit and equipment quickly and safely to where it is needed most. The Chinook is the main platform the Squadron uses because of its excellent underslung load capability. Other helicopters such as the Puma are also used.
When arriving at JHSS, all new members will undertake specialist training on how to prepare and hook an underslung load to the bottom of an aircraft safely. This can be anything from an armoured vehicle to an ISO container - preparing personnel for the wide range of detachments they could be assigned to.
JHSS employs a selection of RLC tradesmen and women, including:
The Squadron also employs personnel from other cap badges including the Army Air Corps (AAC) and Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineer (REME). Other job roles are also available such as Human Resources Specialists and Royal Air Force Movement Specialists.
We also have Officers who are trained at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS).
Private Jake Grainger - RLC Driver Communications Specialist
I joined the Army to gain new experiences and for the opportunity to be challenged. Being a member of the Royal Logistic Corps offers a wide range of career opportunities. I have gained numerous qualifications including: LGV Category C Licence, Class 3 Driver and Class 3 Communications Specialist. Further to this, I have represented JHSS in the Army Archery Championships and have individually been working towards my Open Water Diving qualifications. If someone asked me for advice on joining the Army as an RLC Driver Communications Specialist, I would not hesitate in telling them to ‘100% go for it’. Having the opportunity to communicate with the helicopter while it is in the air and in very close proximity is exhilarating. Being in the Army gives me a fantastic opportunity to add to my qualifications and skill set. It is challenging, rewarding and also great fun.
Corporal Avril Matavesi – RLC Driver
Following my arrival to the Squadron, I completed my Defence Landing Point Commander course. As a Corporal, this was followed with the Helicopter Handling Instructor course which provided me with a qualification to be able to instruct personnel in my role. At JHSS, there are opportunities to deploy all over the world in support of operations and exercises - this is due to the Squadron being a unique specialist capability. Our fundamental role is direct support to rotary assets in the military, with the majority of taskings in support of the Puma and Chinook forces. Whilst in the Sqn, I have deployed to the Falkland Islands. We directly supported all unit Helo activities, completing underslung loads for routine taskings and for training purposes. The Squadron also regularly organises Adventurous Training and this year I was lucky enough to go skiing in France, which was an incredible experience.
Playing sport improves physical fitness and encourages teamwork. In JHSS, soldiers have the opportunity to play a wide range of sports while serving and may get the opportunity to represent the Army in a chosen sport.
We currently have all manner of sports available including Go Karting and archery, as well as your more conventional sports such as football, rugby, cricket and hockey.
There are also opportunities to attend Adventurous Training which is designed to be challenging and take you out of your 'comfort zone'.