Rolls Royce Standard for Junglie Engineers
Engineers from 845 and 846 Naval Air Squadrons have been celebrating the award of the Rolls Royce Trophy for the most efficient and effective Squadron in the Fleet Air Arm. Whilst the media focus is normally centred around the aviators of the Commando Helicopter Force it was time for the Hangar Workers to be the centre of attention for their tremendous contribution to Operations in Afghanistan.
Each Squadron has been supporting vital operations at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan over the past 12 months, building on 5 years experience at Camp Bastion in the dangerous region of Helmand Province. For their strategically significant task, the detachment has had to be self-reliant and capable of delivering essential aviation operations 365 days per year delivered by a small team of 23 Aircraft Engineers.
Commenting on the deployment, Lt Cdr Brian Nicholson 846 Sqn Air Engineer Officer (AEO) explained, “Operations around Kandahar are exceedingly demanding, with the detachment routinely tasked to provide 100% of its aircraft whilst maintaining a very high readiness posture at all other times. This punishing regime means that there are limited opportunities to conduct routine aircraft maintenance activity. The op tempo of the task also precludes the programming of maintenance days, which must be taken when tasking allows or when availability dictates. This poses a serious challenge to the management of aircraft maintenance across each 3-month deployment, especially given the extreme temperatures and arduous working environment.”
To underpin the success of the Engineering team the 846 Sqn D-Flight Senior Maintenance Rating, CPO Barry McGeough added, “Our engineers have managed to deliver 100% of the required operational flying hours. In one particular month, the detachment flew 20% more flying hours than mandated, underpinned by an incredible serviceability rate of 87%. In addition to the challenges of the environment, climate and austere infrastructure, there have also been major technical challenges to overcome. Over the past 12 months the detachment has coped with 11 Engine, 3 Main Rotor Gearbox and 2 Main Rotor Head changes. This significant achievement clearly demonstrates how highly motivated and utterly focussed our engineering team are.”
Images: Crown copyright.
1. Cdre Simon Baldwin RN (Rtd) Rolls Royce Director of Programmes presenting Rolls Royce Citation to Lt Cdr Nicholas Sargent 845 AEO (Centre) and Lt Cdr Brian Nicholson AEO 846 with Rolls Royce Trophy.