Launched into the sky simultaneously for the first time, all seven Royal Naval Wildcat helicopters from 700(W) Naval Air Squadron.
Prior to the squadron’s decommissioning on the 30th July 2014, 700W NAS at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton celebrated all their achievements over the last 4 years in bringing the Wildcat HMA 2 into service with a formation involving all seven of the Squadron’s aircraft.
The formation of 6 aircraft with the seventh flying the photographer is an excellent example of just how far the Navy Wildcat has come! Having all the Squadron’s aircraft airborne at the same time highlights the serviceability rate that the engineers are achieving.
As the Lynx begins its drawdown 700W will decommission and shortly become 825NAS with the mission of training both aircrew and engineers as well as standing up the first deployable Wildcat flights.
Commander (Cdr) Simon Collins has been the Commanding Officer of 700W for this last year and departs from the squadron as it decommissions on 30 July 2014.
Cdr Collins said “To get all 7 Squadron aircraft airborne at the same time is a huge achievement for both my Engineers and Aircrew; to fly in the lead aircraft was a particular highlight for me and marks the end of a very enjoyable and rewarding 12 months in Command of 700(W) NAS, a fitting way for the Squadron to decommission on 30 Jul and then reform on 1 Aug as 825 Naval Air Squadron.”
There will be a ' transition' from Lynx to Wildcat until 2017 with all Force elements establishing at one location at RNAS Yeovilton in 2016. The Wildcat HMA Mk 2 will offer a lightweight, versatile helicopter capable of operating in all weathers delivering exceptional military capability in support of maritime, littoral and land manoeuvre, force protection and maritime strike.
All images Lee Howard.