Spectacular Shots of Polish SAR Helicopter Crews in Winter Training

Polish SAR
Winch operations were at the foundation of SAR training conducted on Jan 24, 2022. (All images: Wojciech Mazurkiewicz/TADO Aviation Photo)

Polish SAR assets like you’ve never seen them before.

The Polish 2nd SAR Group, belonging to the Air Force structures, has conducted winter SAR training on Jan. 24, 2022. The set of photographs you can find in this article provides a good idea of what SAR is all about and gives an insight into the dynamic nature of such activities.

The 2nd SAR Group is an element of the Air Force, based at the Minsk Mazowiecki Airbase (EPMM), close to the capital city of Warsaw. The history of that military unit dates back to December 2008, when it was formed based on the structure of the Former SAR Group established within the 2nd Liaison and Airlift Squadron.

Polish SAR
Polish W-3WA SAR Sokół helicopter – the foundation of the Polish aeronautical rescue assets, used by the SAR Groups.

The unit became active on Jan. 1, 2009, and is subordinated directly to the 3rd Airlift Wing of the Polish Air Force. The unit is independent and is tasked with conducting SAR operations, in Poland and the areas close to the Polish border providing SAR duty.

The unit is also a part of the Polish ARCC – Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Center – that coordinates all of the ASAR (Aeronautical SAR) operations in Poland that are undertaken by helicopters of the ASAR service coordinated by the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency (PANSA), and the Operational Command of the Armed Forces in the FIR Warsaw area – but operations may also be taking place outside if required. The structure includes two military ARSC elements at the Air Operations Center/Air Component Command in Warsaw, and the Naval Operations Center/Naval Component Command, based in Gdynia.

The ARCC involves several experienced coordinators who remain on duty continuously. The personnel includes civil ATC, as well as members of the military. The ARCC has helicopters and M28 Bryza aircraft dispersed across 7 airbases in Poland, that host the LPZRs (Lotnicze Zespoły Poszukiwawczo-Ratownicze – Aeronautical SAR Teams).

Spectacular night shot of the training activities.

Notably, over 4 years the ARCC managed 456 SAR operations, 170 of which involved ASAR/SAR flying assets. 636 CORPAS-SARSAT messages were  received, 18 of which turned out to be actual emergencies that required the ARCC to take action. More importantly, the ARCC coordinates the annual #RENEGADE / #SAREX exercise, as well as the operations undertaken by the Polish TOPR mountain rescue unit.

Poland has been obliged to create ASAR service based on the 1944 ICAO convention. ASAR alone is tasked with SAR operations concerning aircraft in distress, thus providing help to passengers, aircrews, and other victims of air incidents and disasters.

Another night shot of the training activities undertaken by the 2nd SAR Group.

The training conducted by the Polish SAR element was taking place at night and during the day, in the dynamically changing winter weather conditions. The activities were scheduled to take place at night and during the day, while the training covered fast-rope techniques, as well as procedures involving stretchers. The weather at night proved to be especially interesting, photography-wise.

Aeronautical SAR remains one of the peacetime duties of the Polish Air Force.

The training depicted here is a routine exercise that takes place at the beginning of the year. It is aimed at reinforcing the skillset of the rescue crews and creating new elements of that skill set.

About Jacek Siminski
Standing contributor for TheAviationist. Aviation photojournalist. Co-Founder of DefensePhoto.com. Expert in linguistics, Cold War discourse, Cold War history and policy and media communications.