Lynx Wildcat Maritime Force
The Lynx Wildcat Maritime Force (LWMF) is based at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset, and is responsible for the Royal Navy’s Lynx Maritime Attack Helicopters (HMA). The force comprises two Squadrons; a Lynx Squadron, 815 NAS and a new Wildcat Squadron, 825 NAS, formed 1 August 2014, from the unification of 702 NAS (the old Lynx training squadron) and 700W NAS which paved the way for the new helicopter’s entry into service, not only with the Navy, but also with the army and Royal Marines.
Flying the nimble, fast and potent Lynx, 815 Naval Air Squadron is the largest helicopter squadron in Europe. Every day of the year, up to 17 Flights from 815 are deployed at sea in one of Her Majesty's Ships or Royal Fleet Auxiliaries, providing aviation support to the Fleet on the front line.
Wildcat is the latest generation of multi role helicopter and will replace the Lynx HMA. It is a lightweight, versatile helicopter capable of operating in all weathers delivering exceptional military capability in support of maritime, littoral and land manoeuvre, force protection and maritime strike.
825 Naval Air Squadron is the newest Squadron of the Lynx Wildcat Maritime Force (LWMF); with a proud history including Second World War attacks on the German Fleet, during Operation Fuller (known as the Channel Dash); participation in the attack on the Bismarck and in more recent years during the 1982 Falkland’s War.
The Squadron is now responsible for training aircrew and engineers to fly, operate and maintain the Royal Navy’s latest helicopter, the Wildcat HMA Mk2. 825 NAS will convert all the existing Lynx HMA Mk8 aircrew and engineers to the Wildcat whilst providing Wildcat HMA Mk 2 Flights to the Front Line, in order to maintain support to operations around the globe. In delivering this training and support, 825 NAS currently has 130 aircrew and engineers who train in excess of 25 aircrew and 100 maintainers annually.
The Wildcat HMA Mk2 is replacing the Lynx HMA Mk8, a process that will be complete in 2017, whilst the first Wildcat Flight will deploy on operations in early 2015. 825 NAS is also home to the award winning Royal Navy Helicopter Display Team, The Black Cats, who display around theUK throughout the year.
Wildcat Training Centre (WTC) is the facility responsible for providing Technical and Simulation Training to all RN and Army Wildcat Operators based at Yeovilton, including both Engineers and Aircrew. There are over 60 different courses that use the latest technology to ensure the Instruction is at the highest level.
Synthetic Training Equipment is still being delivered and tested this will eventually include 2 Full Mission Simulators, 2 procedural (non moving) simulators as well as 2 ‘airframes’ to teach mechanical and avionic systems. The facility is run by a mixture of Civilian (AgustaWestland) staff, Royal Navy Aircrew Instructors and Army Tactical Instructors.
The LWMF is already deep into the transition from Lynx to Wildcat. All Force elements will establish at one location, RNAS Yeovilton in 2016. From 31 March 2017 when the Lynx Mk8 goes out of service, it will become known as the Maritime Wildcat Force.