HMS GANNET HOSTS JOINT WARRIOR AIRCRAFT
Described as the biggest ever Joint Warrior Exercise NATO warships, aircraft and personnel have recently been operating off the West Coast of Scotland.
More than 55 warships and submarines, 70 aircraft and around 13,000 personnel from 13 participating nations used the exercise to sharpen their war-fighting skills and work alongside other services. The majority of the aircraft taking part used the much larger RAF Base at Lossiemouth in Moray on the East coast, but nearer to the centre of the action, HMS Gannet atPrestwickairport in Ayrshire on the West coast played a much larger role than normal.
Gannet SAR Flight, Royal Navy’s Scottish Search and Rescue base is usually home to three Sea King Mk 5 helicopters providing a vital rescue service to the West of Scotland, Northwest England andNorthern Ireland.
Over a very busy two weeks period HMS Gannet hosted: Falcons jets from Cobham Aviation, Royal Navy Hawks of 736 Naval Air Squadron, King Airs of 750 NAS, Junglie Merlin Mk 3s of Commando Helicopter Force, Navy Merlin Mk 2’s from RNAS Culdrose and an assortment of Sea Kings from Canada, 849 Sqn and its sister squadron at Culdrose, 771 Sqn.
In total, over 220 sorties were flown from the base during Ex. Joint Warrior including 34in support of personnel movements and the resupply of logistics throughout.
“At the same time as hosting Joint Warrior, Gannet remains the busiest SAR base in the UK by some way,” said Lieutenant Commander Charlie Fuller, CO of Gannet. “We’d just achieved our 100th SAR job this year as the exercise came to a close. Our engineers helped out with a Canadian Sea King, Merlin Mk 3’s and a Merlin HM 2 who required engineering work. - Gannet is a bit like Scotland’s aircraft carrier.”