SIX helicopters and about 160 personnel will be moving to RAF Benson later this year.

The Chinook Operational Conversion Flight will transfer from RAF Odiham, in Hampshire, to Benson in “late autumn,” the base said.

The group will include engineers, support staff, instructors and students.

Spokeswoman Nikki Hamilton said: “They will join with the Puma Operational Conversion Flight to become an Operational Conversion Unit under the mantle of 28 (Reserve) Squadron.”

The squadron will train helicopter aircrews in the specific skills required to fly and operate certain aircraft types.

Ms Hamilton said: “The majority will be new entrants to the RAF who have completed their initial flying training and initial helicopter training at RAF Shawbury. At the moment there is infrastructure work ongoing to prepare the hangar for the six Chinook aircraft and ensure it is fit for purpose for a training squadron.”

It comes after the base’s 28 Merlin helicopters were handed over to the Royal Navy in March. The Merlins were transferred to the Royal Navy as part of the Government’s strategic defence review to replace the Navy’s Sea King fleet out of service next year.

There are currently about 4,000 personnel based at RAF Benson, which has close links with Wallingford.