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Published: 03 Aug 2020

Today on 825 Naval Air Squadron (NAS), eight aircrew graduated with their ‘Wings’, awarded to them by Guest of Honour, Rear Admiral Martin Connell CBE, Director Force Generation and Rear Admiral Fleet Air Arm.


The eight will now proceed onto front-line operations and deployments with 815 NAS as part of the trained-strength of the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton, Somerset.


In a celebration tailored to adhere to social distancing direction, Commanding Officer 825 NAS, Commander Scott ‘Stimpy’ Simpson, welcomed the instructors in attendance and the families of the graduates and before handing over to the Admiral he had the following words of wisdom for the students and the audience;


I would like to extend my thanks to all the family and friends of Course 5, I know your loved ones have relied on your love and support, especially as this journey has taken several years. You should be very proud of their achievements that we recognise today


Today is the pinnacle of these young aviators’ career. Having recently Commanded 815 NAS I know first-hand how important today is, not only to ensure we can support Frontline operations but also so we can guarantee the bright future ahead of the Fleet Air Arm.”


After awarding the newly qualified aviators their ‘Wings’, Rear Admiral Connell said the following:


What a great day this is. To finish on time is remarkable and in these extraordinary times a testament to 825 NAS. Getting your ‘Wings’ in the Fleet Air Arm is a pivotal moment in your career. You will almost immediately be operational, a frontline Naval Aviator. At just a moment’s notice required to switch from a training exercise to operations. Most if not all of you will be working with the Carrier Strike Task Group and Carrier Strike Navy at the end of this year. The four destroyers deployed next year will each have a Wildcat embarked.


Wear those ‘Wings’ with pride. Well done!”


For three Pilots and five Observers this marks the official start of their flying career within the Fleet Air Arm on the Royal Navy’s newest helicopter, the Wildcat HMA2. As they leave 825 NAS they quite literally move to the hangar next door, home to 815 NAS, from where they will be required to deploy on global and home operations from the sea and the land.


The Wildcat is the latest and greatest of military helicopters to be brought into the Fleet Air Arm. Through 815 and 825 NAS, the Wildcat Maritime Force deliver first class training to aircrew and engineers while generating frontline Wildcat Flights in support of operations worldwide. Although today was dedicated to the 8 newly badged Aviators delivered to the front-line it also served to recognise the wider achievements of 825 NAS personnel, celebrating their exceptional service and commitment!


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