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Captain Culdrose awarding CPO Kilday his bar to the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal


Published: 01 Nov 2017

In recognition of their role within the Fleet Air Arm, the unit which enables the Royal Navy’s fliers to fly, has been officially re-commissioned as a Naval Air Squadron (NAS). At a special ceremony on 31st October, the Maritime Aviation Support Force (MASF) became ‘1700 Naval Air Squadron’.


The unit, which has personnel serving on operations around the world, plays a large part in making aviation at sea happen. Originally formed in the 1970s, the unit which has been known as Royal Fleet Auxiliary Aviation Support Unit (RFAASU), Royal Fleet Auxiliary Naval Support Unit (RFANSU) and MASF, has built a reputation for enabling maritime aviation on Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) platforms.


Based at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall, the Squadron delivers Navy wide personnel requirements in support of essential naval aviation operations for ships and land bases globally. This dynamic unit provides tailored teams, ranging from single individuals to over fifty personnel, comprised of aircraft handlers, aircraft controllers, fire-fighters, military policemen, logisticians, engineers, medics and many other specialists to allow the continued operation and protection of naval aircraft worldwide.


Originally, 1700 Naval Air Squadron (1944-1946) flew from RNAS Lee-on-Solent as an amphibian bomber reconnaissance squadron. Now, over 70 years later, it has been chosen as the most fitting Squadron number to assign to MASF, given the previous role 1700 NAS played supporting various escort carriers with small teams and assets to conduct air sea rescue operations.


Lt Cdr Chris Roberts, Commanding Officer of 1700 Naval Air Squadron said: “It is a great privilege to be the first Commanding Officer of 1700 Naval Air Squadron since it was disbanded 71 years ago. The re-commissioning as an official Naval Air Squadron is a significant step forward in improving awareness of our unit across the UK Armed Forces. My team provides global support to maritime aviation and enables operational capability on many RFA ships. Being a squadron will enable better integration within the Fleet Air Arm, and enable us to continue to support RFA Operations and maritime aviation support to the Royal Navy.”


Following the ceremony, three Sailors who serve on the unit, received recognition for their ‘Long Service and Good conduct within the Royal Navy. The RNAS Culdrose Commanding Officer, Captain Dan Stembridge ADC presented them with ‘Bars’ to their ‘Long Service and Good Conduct’ medals. He also presented the Commanding Officer of 1700 NAS with a Squadron commemorative plaque. 


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