Commando Helicopter Force
Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) consists of 5 squadrons, 4 Naval Air Squadrons: 845NAS, 846NAS and the training squadron 848NAS are equipped with Sea King Mk4 helicopters. 847 NAS is equipped with Lynx Mk9A helicopters but in 2013, will be equipped with the new Lynx Wildcat Mk1 attack helicopters. There is also a Combat Service Support Squadron. They are integrated under the command of an HQ and are established to operate helicopters afloat or ashore in support of the UK armed forces. It is a combined Royal Navy and Royal Marine force.
Commando Helicopter Force is currently making preparations for the transfer of RAF Merlin HC3 and HC3A support helicopters to replace the Sea King Mk4s currently in service with 845, 846 and 848 squadrons which are due to be withdrawn in 2016. The Merlin HC4 will be derived from the HC3 airframes currently in service with the RAF. The current plan sees 846 NAS equipping with ex-RAF Merlin HC3s in 2015. 845 NAS will follow in 2017, operating the fully navalised Merlin HC4.
The pilots are special, as they combine commando combat and survival skills with edge-of-the-seat flying. They operate Sea King and Lynx helicopters in extreme climates and conditions and their ability to work in terrain ranging from arctic to tropical jungle is second to none. Operations in Borneo in the 1960s earned them the nickname ‘Junglies’ from the troops on the ground, a title which current and veteran Junglies covet to this day.
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