Interesting comment left by one reader as follows:
Interesting speculation here. ER-MCV was under contract to UK MOD. Asset not declared to NATO. Logistical resupply only. UK and NATO troops are not authorized to fly on aircraft without ballistic protection and Self Protection Suites. This asset strictly moved cargo…cargo supplied largely by British Forces. Can’t comment of the specifics of the mission that day. Asset and contract was managed in theatre by SkyLink Aviation Canada. I don’t see comment from them or anyone asking them questions.
So the asset was not directly on hire to Nato but directly to UK MOD if this is correct and not declared to NATO so working purely for the British.
Good to here that Troops were not authorised to fly on the helicopter but the proviso of ballistic protection and Self Protection Suites could mean that it has been used and we may have been lucky.
According to Wikipedia Skylink Aviation are
SkyLink Aviation Inc. is a Canadian based international aviation group that specializes in Project Management, Air Charters, Aviation Support, Aircraft Maintenance, Air Courier, Executive Air Charters as well as Flight Planning and Clearance Services.
SkyLink launched 25 years ago and is in the business of transporting people and cargo, whether leasing a helicopter for food distribution and relief programs or chartering the world’s largest aircraft (AN-124) around the world.
SkyLink Aviation has also performed rapid deployment of peace keepers and international humanitarian aid, including food and equipment, during war, major disasters and pandemics for clients such as the United Nations, World Food Programme, USAID, United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (Homeland Security), IOM, the Canadian Government, the Red Cross, the Italian Interior Ministry and other national governments and various NGOs.
SkyLink Aviation is a Member of: HAI – Helicopter Association International; HAC – Helicopter Association Canada; CDIA – Canadian Defence Industry Association; IATA – International Airlines Travel Association.
According to this presentation the UK Ministry of Defence has leased 2 MI-8 MTV’s and 1 MI-26 from SkyLink Aviation. The Canadians also have six MI-8’s chartered to them from SkyLink.
Yorkshire Ranter has an interesting post on SkyLink and the crash of a MI-8 in Iraq back in 2005.
It gets murkier and murkier as we learn more about what is going on.