WILDCAT PRIDE HERALDS A NEW ERA ON ROYAL NAVAL AIR SQUADRON
FIRST Wildcat Helicopters have been delivered to replace the battle proven Lynx Mk 8
815 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) have started their transition to the new Wildcat Helicopter Maritime Attack (HMA) aircraft which will replace the Lynx Mk 8 after 35 years of indisputably successful service to the Royal Navy.
This event heralds a new era of operations on 815 NAS, as this squadron has been operating the Lynx since 1981. The Wildcat will take on the squadrons operational tasking over the next twelve month period as the final Lynx airframes slowly go out of service.
Commander Phil Richardson, Commanding Officer of 815 NAS said;
“I am delighted to welcome the first Wildcat aircraft on to 815 NAS. Although with all the additional capability and technical advancement that this modern, multi-purpose all weather aircraft brings, it is the people, role and success that will continue to deliver on the excellent reputation that the Lynx has set. Uniquely, we are now a Squadron that simultaneously operates two different types of aircraft and will continue to do so until the Lynx out of service date on 31 Mar 2017.”
This is an important milestone that sees the squadron operating the Wildcat for the very first time having just received 4 new airframes. Two transferred from 815s sister squadron 825 NAS and two delivered directly from AgustaWestlands.
In addition to these four aircraft have come 54 Wildcat trained engineers by 825 NAS and six Wildcat qualified Pilots and Observers. With these personnel and aircraft, 815 NAS are able to stand up four Flights that will be prepare to deploy on Royal Navy Frigates and Destroyers later this year taking handovers directly from their Lynx counterparts.
The stand-up of the first 815 NAS Wildcat Flight is a fast paced program and the first 815 Wildcat aircraft embarks in HMS DUNCAN in May.