Junglie assault finale to RNAS Yeovilton Air Day
“Somewhere in the world NATO forces are patrolling a no-fly zone in order to prevent a hostile force from committing atrocities. A Royal Navy jet is targeted by a surface to air missile forcing the pilot to eject.” The traditional pyrotechnic fuelled Commando Assault finale to the RNAS Yeovilton Air Day began.
Four Commando Helicopter Force Sea King Mk 4 helicopters, from 845 Naval Air Squadron, demonstrated a Joint Personnel Recovery, working alongside two RN Hawks, a Wildcat and two Lynx helicopters, to rescue the downed pilot.
With the enemy forces on the hunt for the pilot, the two Hawks from 736 NAS located the pilot and the enemy forces closing in and reported back to the Sea King crew. Marine Kirk, from CHFs Mobile Air Operations Team, abseiled from the Sea King to attend to the injured pilot.
The abseiling and fast roping techniques are one of the CHFs many skills and were first used during the Malaya conflict in 1952 to insert troops through the thick rainforest canopy. It was during this conflict that CHF earned the moniker the ‘Junglies’.
Lt Cdr Jeremy Gilmore, Commando Helicopter Force said “The Junglie Assault Finale is an excellent example of air and ground integration with helicopters inserting and providing close support to the troops and force elements on the ground whilst in ‘enemy territory’.”
The display continued with a medical evacuation team being called in, led by another 847NAS Sea King accompanied by Wildcat and a Lynx helicopters. With additional troops providing protection for the medical team, specialist kit and medical supplies were brought in by underslung load.
The Hawks ‘bombed’ the enemy compound in an attempt to neutralise the remaining forces whilst two more Sea Kings brought in fresh troops to continue the assault on the enemy forces and evacuate the casualties.
The display was brought to a close with a demonstration of the Sea Kings winching technique to evacuate the casualties and finished with a fly past of the victorious friendly forces led by the Commando Helicopter Force Sea Kings.
“As flying displays go it was continuous fast and furious action which included numerous specialist skills and disciplines such as abseiling and fast roping which when combined with the gunfire and pyrotechnics, provided a realistic and crowd pleasing show.” Said Lt Cdr Gilmore.
Commander Gavin Simmonite, Commanding Officer of 845 NAS said "this will be the last year of the Sea King's involvement in the finale before we transfer to Merlin next spring."
A fitting farewell to a popular and operationally successful helicopter.
Throughout the day, 847 NAS personnel manned a static Wildcat display, answering many questions on the differences between the Lynx and Wildcat helicopters. Also the CHF Forward Operating Base display proved to be extremely popular with the crowds keen to learn more about the Royal Marines and the Commando Helicopter Force.