WILDCAT FLIGHT RETURNS TO SOMERSET AFTER 6 MONTH NATO DEPLOYMENT
Wildcat Helicopter Flight has returned to Somerset after six month assisting a NATO task group in the Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Sea.
201 Flight landed on at 815 Naval Air Squadron eagerly awaited by their excited loved ones, friends and colleagues.
Since January the Flight has been aboard the destroyer and have sailed thousands of miles embarked in HMS Duncan as the Type 45 took charge of NATOs Standing Maritime Group 2, a group of Frigates, destroyers and patrol ships drawn from across the Alliances Navies, an international force of warships promoting stability and security across the region. –
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “HMS Duncan and her crew have demonstrated why the Royal Navy is revered all over the world for its leadership, professionalism, and skill. - “In taking charge of NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 2 for the second time in a year, Britain and the Royal Navy embody what we mean by Global Britain. NATO has been the cornerstone of our defence for 70 years and we will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with our allies, confronting the intensifying threats we all face in an increasingly unpredictable world.”
Over the course of the deployment the Wildcat was used as the eyes and ears of the Task Group, using its sensors to build the ships’ maritime picture and provide an overt presence in theatre. They flew many missions to collect intelligence about the location and movement of specific units, and completed elements of tactical development – working out how best to employ Wildcat in the tactical maritime environment.
The Wildcat HMA2 helicopter, the newest in the Royal Navy also conducted essential sorties to collect stores, weapons, ammunition and the transportation personnel around the Task Group. Ashore they were involved in several casualty evacuations.
Cdr Jamieson Stride, Commanding Officer 815 Naval Air Squadron welcomed Flight Commander Jonny Hamlyn and crew back onto the Squadron. After all were reunited with their loved ones Cdr Stride said:
“I am delighted and immensely proud to welcome back 201 Flight from a complex and highly demanding deployment. A big thank you must go to their families for all their unfailing support.”
During their time away HMS Duncan visited the Gallipoli peninsula and Istanbul, Sicily, Split, Israel, the Black Sea and Georgia – the first visit by a Royal Navy warship since 2001. There was also a rescue of two lost Algerian fishermen and an amphibious exercise in Portugal in June.
Welcome home 201 Flight and all on HMS Duncan!