NAS to Support Royal Navy’s Middle East Ops

849 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) has set off for the Gulf this week to support Royal Navy and coalition forces on operations in the Middle East.

849 NAS has played an essential role in training the Culdrose Sea King Force aircrew and engineers as well as supporting frontline operations.

It has also supported various UK based operations including security tasking for the Olympic Games, but this will be the first time that the Squadron will deploy on a frontline operation since the Gulf War.

The Sea King Force at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose is in the process of a restructure which will enable the Navy to continue with its operational tasking until 2018.

Thereafter 849 Naval Air Squadron will transition into a MK2 Merlin Squadron and deliver the same ‘Airborne Surveillance and Control’ (ASaC) capability, but from upgraded Merlin helicopters.

The first part of the restructure occurred this week, when personnel from 854 Naval Air Squadron moved under ‘849 Naval Air Squadron Normandy Flight’. 44 personnel led by the first Flight Commander, Lieutenant Tom Hill, began their journey to the Gulf from Brize Norton.

They will take over from 857 Naval Air Squadron to release personnel for their first Christmas at home in three years. 857 NAS will also be decommissioned in the New Year and morph into ‘Palembang Flight’. Thereafter 849 NAS will be rededicated as a front line squadron with three Flights.

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Press release, Image: UK Navy

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