3-Nov-2014 Source: Royal Navy
829 Naval Air Squadron – The Kingfishers – are celebrating their 10th anniversary since recommissioning as a squadron in 2004. But they are not waiting for a party to start with such a full programme ahead to keep them occupied.
Over the past 10 years the squadron is known for being one of the busiest at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, they are continually on the move; whether at Sea, returning from Sea or preparing for Sea.
The squadron provides helicopters for operations across the Globe on some of the Royal Navy’s Type-23 Frigates and Type 45 destroyers.
They operate around a Flight system consisting of a Headquarters for continuation training & administration and six independent Flights. They each have a single Merlin helicopter with two pilots, an observer and an aircrewman for flying duties and seven engineers to maintain the aircraft.
Whilst Merlin’s primary role is Anti-Submarine Warfare the versatile aircraft often finds itself engaged in a wide variety of roles, reacting to tasking often at very short notice.
Due to its size, speed and proven capability Merlin is also used in Maritime Security Operations. It is large enough to carry Royal Marines for sniper operations and boarding via fast roping, both which are vital to counter the threat of pirates. It is also fitted with a heavy machine gun as well as thermal imaging equipment and a variety of other sensors.