UK’s carrier based air squadron embarks HMS Ocean ahead of carrier arrival

UK’s 820 Naval Air Squadron conducted ‘remarinisation’ training when all of the squadron’s personnel was reunited at the Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose for the first time in two years.

Part of the process was building on their resourcefulness and resilience by undertaking adventurous training (AT) at various sites around the Cornish coast.

The squadron are now embarked on board HMS Ocean and are set to return once again to the Middle East as its aviation component for the next six months.

The squadron needed to refresh currencies in survival training, practicing what they would do to protect themselves in the event of an emergency.

Commander Jon Holroyd, 820 NAS’s Commanding Officer, is squarely on providing the first aviation component for HMS Queen Elizabeth when she leaves Rosyth next year.

Speaking about the future and the challenges ahead, Jon said: “The Merlin Mk 2 is pivotal for delivering carrier strike capability, particularly for HMS Queen Elizabeth. Our time on Ocean will allow my team to become experts at working with a large ‘flat top’ warship.”

“Before deploying, we’ve taken an opportunity to re-brigade, regroup and focus on what’s important to make our time at sea safe and successful. It’s one thing to ensure your aircraft are serviceable and ready, however it is pivotal to prepare your people as well.”

820 NAS, one of four Merlin Mk 2 helicopter squadrons based at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall, is embarking for a six month deployment on board HMS Ocean.

The deployment, known in official speak as the ‘Joint Expeditionary Force (Maritime)’, will see it sail to the Middle East to join other units for a series of maritime operations and exercises.

HMS Ocean forms part of a task group commanded by Commodore Andrew Burns, Commander Amphibious Task Group (COMATG).

The ship is also home to 900 personnel made up of the command element, a company of Plymouth-based 42 Commando Royal Marines as well as 820 NAS aircrew and engineers.