At the sound of the alarm, the NH90 helicopter starts its engine and flies away on a rescue mission in Mali, in West Africa.

The NH Industries NH90 is a medium, twin-engined helicopter for multi-role military missions. It is being used in Mali as part of the MINUSMA. That is short for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali.

As the HK G3 in 7.62×51 mm was replaced, the HK G36 in 5.56×45 mm became the standard Germany Army service rifle. As you know the G36 is about to be replaced in the next few years.

The medical team is assisted by two Air Marshalls.

Desert camouflage, HK G36 and the sidearm is probably a Heckler & Koch USP. The Ray Bans seems to be missing.

The G36 has been in service since 1997, and I’d say it looks more modern than that.

En route for MedEvac somewhere in Mali. Having a fast transport out of the danger zone is a great comfort for the people on the ground.

All photos by Jonas Weber, German Army.

In my next life I want to become an aerial door gunner, what about you?


  • Brett baker

    In my next life, I want to be the easiest person in the chopper to get killed, too!

  • Bill

    In my next life I want to make up acronyms for the UN.

  • FWIW: The USP in Bundeswehr service is the P8. The P8 has tranlucent polymer magazine tubes and an odd reversed safety arrangement. You have to push the P8’s safety up from the safe/decock position in order to fire. .

    • burningwar

      Holdover from when they used slide mounted decocker safeties with the P38 (also seen in other pistols like the PP/K and the later Beretta 92).

      • That was the same logic that Browning’s lawyers used when the BDM’s frame-mounted safety was given the same arrangement. The BDM designer, Peter Sodoma, wanted it to work in the opposite direction like the legacy Hi-Power.

        While it may work out for the Bundeswehr, it can be awkward for folks used to other frame-mounted safeties. There’s a video out there of a shooter with a P8 trying to ride the safety like a standard USP or M1911. As a result, the pistol decocked and safed itself during recoil.

    • Ken Bradford

      We got new steel magazines with the p8a1 rest is the same

  • Badwolf

    Sure! But only if my helicopter has a mounted minigun and (at least) 10k rounds of ammo


    Frank McGuigan, my crew chief, (Special Forces- Weapons, Ordnance, Medical). He had a thing for AK-47’s.
    On our way to pull a hot hoist.
    Eagle Dustoff, 101st Abn Div (Ambl), I CORPS, RVN

    • Herr Wolf


      • ChuckCVG

        Unauthorized weapon. Write this guy up.

        • PAUL FOREL

          Hey, Chuck. I’m glad you brought this up. Picking up guys from the field got us their rifle if they knew they were not going back out. If they were, we could get their mags and some claymores but they kept their rifles. For those not going back out due to extensive injuries, they would give us their weapon so we had a Thompson floating through the platoon, I got an M-2 Carbine off a KCS, a Garand off an ARVN, an M-16 with silencer (shot out) from another ARVN and occ an AK. In this particular case, McGuigan had swiped a collection of AK’s from one of our pilots who had been shot down during a hot hoist and was not coming back. That pilot, last I heard, is still po about it. Oh, I had a MAT-49, given to me by an SF friend who had picked it up while running with some Pathfinders. The MAT-49 made me the coolest of the group.

          The only exception were the Rangers who would not give up their CAR-15’s no matter how injured they were.

      • PAUL FOREL

        This is a very lame picture because it does not show how it actually went most of the time with a half dozen or more guys, all missing arms, legs, feet, etc. and blood pooling up on the cargo floor, soaking into my Nomex and blood on my hands and arms.

        This particular grunt had been picked up by his own guns during a CA and we got there right as the gunship was lifting off. So we met up at Quang Tri Hospital so we could tend to him and take him back to 85th Evac, Phu Bai ourselves. Gunships would pick up their own guys and take them to the rear hospitals but too many times the guys would die since neither the CE nor door gunner had enough first aid knowledge to keep their guys alive.

        In this case, they had wrapped him in a sleeping bag I guess they had and had also bandaged him so with less to do, I simply started an IV, as is shown here.

        This is a good picture (click on the picture and it enlarges) to show civilians since it does not show all the blood that would typically pile up and also does not show the hideous injuries to the grunts we’d pick up.

      • PAUL FOREL

        Please do not ask me why I flashed the peace sign backwards.

        Click on the picture to get a better view.

    • hkryan

      Thanks for sharing the pics and stories, Paul.

      • PAUL FOREL

        Thanks for your interest, HK.

  • Slick

    Ah, nice to see the NH-90 finally operational in the Bundeswehr 😉

  • elvis

    Having a fast transport out of the danger zone is a great comfort, but by the time the UN operations people have completed all of the UN paperwork to allow the flight to take place, the injured party has bled out. As an added bonus, the UN medevac can serve as body recovery.

  • TwoThirtyGr

    And instead of a minigun, they use a maximum-gun.