”We have come to the conclusion that we have a responsibility as an employer. You don't just send anyone up a tree. You want them to have the right equipment and knowledge, it is a question of personal safety,” Per Ingemarson, a spokesperson with the K3 airborne unit in Karlsborg in central Sweden, to daily Dagens Nyheter (DN).
As the unit operates the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) ”Falcon”, which is used among other places in Afghanistan, officials have decided to train some of the soldiers to scale a tree the right way, according to Ingemarson.
Sometimes these UAVs malfunction, either because they lose radio contact or due to a strong gust of wind, causing them to get stuck in the top branches of a tree.
When having to salvage a drone, it is crucial that the soldiers are properly skilled at climbing trees in a safe and secure manner, the regiment wrote in their request to Stockholm headquarters.
However, the need to climb a trees doesn't actually occur that often, even while operating the drone aircraft.
Ingemarson is only aware of one instance in the last two years that a UAV has got caught in a tree out of hundreds of sorties, but he stressed that there may be more.
To begin with, three soldiers from the unit will undergo the advanced tree climbing training. The course will be conducted by military climbing experts, who usually teach soldiers how to scale rock walls safely.
”I can't say that this is prioritized before other training, but I feel that it is a wise move. When people are injured everyone always says 'Why didn't you think of that before?' In this case someone has been clever in advance,” said Ingemarson to DN.