700W NAS decommissions
30 July 2014 saw the decommissioning of 700 (W) Naval Air Squadron (NAS) following 5 years of hard work, diligence and dedication at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton.
Last week saw all seven Royal Naval Wildcat helicopters from 700(W) Naval Air Squadron (NAS) into the sky simultaneously for the first time and today the decommissioning marks a significant change in the Lynx Wildcat Maritime Force (LWMF).
700W NAS shortly become 825 NAS with the mission of training both aircrew and engineers as well as standing up the first deployable Wildcat flights as the Lynx Mk 8 begins its drawdown over the next few years.
Commander (Cdr) Simon Collins has been the Commanding Officer of 700W for this last year and departs from the squadron as it decommissions.
Cdr Collins said; “Today’s Decommissioning of 700(W) NAS marks the culmination of just over 5 years hard work and dedication; having started out as only 4 people strong we now find ourselves with a complement of over 100 people and with 7 aircraft on the Sqn.
"Taking Wildcat from an idea to one that has embarked in RN Warships 3 times for various trials, taken part in a huge multinational exercise and is now ready to send its first flight to sea for Operational Sea Training is a great achievement and one that we should all be proud of.”
Cdr Collins added “The previous two Commanding Officers, Lt Cdr Rob Dowdell and Lt Cdr Rob Taylor, also take equal credit for this. As we look to the future and the Squadron becoming 825 NAS on 1 August 2014 I am sure that Wildcat will continue to deliver and will be an asset to the Royal Navy and Defence.”
There will be a ' transition' from Lynx to Wildcat until 2017 with all Force elements establishing at one location at RNAS Yeovilton in 2016. The Wildcat HMA Mk 2 will offer 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.
Cdr Simon Collins ended his speech in front of 700(W) personnel with “Sadly today is the end of 700 (W). All the hard work and past success achieved will now shape the future for Wildcat. Thank you for the honour of Commanding you.”