HMS Exeter is shown in the foreground with HMS Illustrious, taking part in Exercise Neptune Warrior
HMS Exeter is shown in the foreground with HMS Illustrious, taking part in Exercise Neptune Warrior.
Having spent two years embarking periodically in HMS Invincible as the High-Readiness Aircraft Carrier, 801 NAS had just returned from 6 weeks training with HMS Illustrious, in order to assist in her preparations for the role. Embarking for the second and third phases of her Operational Sea Training (OST) package, together with 849 Squadron A Flight Sea King Mk 7s and a Sea King Mk 6 of 771 Squadron, 801's Sea Harrier FA2s tailored their flying to provide progressive training for all of HMS Illustrious newly formed crew.
After two weeks of combined Fixed and Rotary Wing flying operations, HMS Illustrious next embarked the RAF Harrier GR7's of 1(F) Squadron, who soon adjusted to the unique demands of operating from an Aircraft Carrier at sea. It was at this point, after three intensive weeks that HMS Illustrious and her Tailored Air Group (TAG) were assessed to be fit to continue into Phase 3 of OST, where a highflying rate would be integrated into a tactical scenario.
Following a brief port visit to Newcastle, in order to refresh all embarked personnel and conduct essential maintenance, HMS Illustrious sailed with her full complement of TAG for Exercise Neptune Warrior. This Exercise had an extremely large number of multinational participants, ranging from HMAS Anzac (an Australian Frigate), to a Dutch Submarine, and was conducted in the challenging waters of the North-West Scottish coast. Neptune Warrior pitted two large Naval Task Groups against each other in a complex Political scenario, and enabled the TAG to operate in a Maritime Strike role, focussing on the GR7s Strike capability
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Hms Ocean Arrives in Caribbean to Boost Uk Disaster Relief Effort
Pictured is a Wildcat from the Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) 847 Naval Air Squadron conducting Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP) training on HMS Ocean, in preparation for arrival in the Caribbean during the UK Military operation (Op Ruman) in support of those effected by Hurricane IRMA.
HMS OCEAN was tasked to support the government's Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR), providing assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane IRMA.
In early September 2017 Hurricane Irma moved through the Caribbean region, causing absolute devastation wherever it landed. The British Overseas Territories of Anguilla, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the British Virgin Islands suffered lasting damage.
All three services and other government departments along with hundreds of troops were involved in the huge humanitarian effort.
Ships, planes and helicopters delivered tonnes of supplies to the UK nationals and locals caught up in the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma.
RFA Mounts Bay had already been deployed to the area for Hurricane season and was able to offer almost immediate assistance. Her Wildcat helicopter and Mexefloat landed over 6 tons of supplies and personnel to offer both engineering and medical support to Anguilla, then the British Virgin Islands.
Soon after, the Royal Navy flagship HMS Ocean was diverted from a NATO deployment in the Med to offer further assistance to the region. She sailed to Gibraltar to embark supplies, vehicles and building materials (mostly donated by the Government of Gibraltar). Four Royal Air Force (RAF) Chinook helicopters carrying aid for embarkation in Gibraltar flew from RAF Benson via fuelling stops in Spain.
RAF C17, VOYAGER and ATLAS aircraft deployed to the region carrying medical supplies rations, clean water and shelters along with specialist personnel from all three services. The aircraft landed first in Barbados which was used as a hub to distribute all aid. Further C17s carrying Puma helicopters then landed on the
202(R) Sqn Personnel Dry Winching
Pictured are Rear-crew of a Griffin HT1 Helicopter from 202(R) Sqn training on Anglesey.
202(R) Sqn "The Mucky Ducks" train Royal Navy and Royal Air Force Helicopter Pilots and Rear-crew in the disciplines of Mountain and Maritime Flying. Elements of Search and Rescue are also part of the training, to give the trainees a taste of what winching down from the aircraft feels like. This training consists of simulator training, in a classroom.
They then move on to the physical simulator, called the Parrot, where the cab of an old huey is fitted with a winch, they have different terrains to then practice on, ranging from undulating terrain through to a simulated boat pitching up and down. After this phase, they move to the dry winching, photographed here. By this point, the principles of winching should be much easier, so the students aren't overloaded by the whole scenario, they go through the drills of spotting a casualty, directing the pilot to the casualty whilst having a winchman below the aircraft, recovering the casualty and then returning to station.
Following this phase, the students go out to sea, and winch from the MOD boat Smit.
202(R) Sqn is a whole force squadron, with Cobham pilots, winchmen and engineers working alongside RAF and Royal Navy Pilots and winchmen, giving the best experience and training possible.
Students graduating from 202(R) Sqn can go on to fly the Merlin, Wildcat, Chinook, Puma or Sea King (Navy).
202(R) Sqn "The Mucky Ducks" Provide all Royal Air Force and Royal Navy helicopter aircrew with basic Mountain, Maritime and Littoral flying skills by day and night and deliver advanced Search and Rescue training to military aircrew destined for specific roles.
RAF aircrew selected for Search and Rescue duties on helicopters proceed to 202(R) Squadron at RAF Valley alongside their colleagues from the Royal Navy and Army.
The aircraft itself is a modern version of the famous Huey family of helicopters used by many armed forces around