14 Aug 2017

820 Naval Air Squadron hone skills ahead of HMS Queen Elizabeth arrival

820 Naval Air Squadron, the squadron assigned to HMS Queen Elizabeth, has been practicing ahead of the arrival of the aircraft carrier into dock at Portsmouth.

Based at the  Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose in Cornwall, the squadron comprises of a fleet of Merlin Mk2 helicopters which will operate from the Royal Navy’s new flagship carrier. They will be on board  HMS Queen Elizabeth as she arrives into her home port following months of sea trials off the coast of Scotland.

The history of combining naval might with airborne capability is long and fascinating. From the earliest recorded instance in 1806, where the Royal Navy used kites deployed from HMS Pallas to spread anti Napoleonic leaflets over France, the journey to the modern day aircraft carrier is one where necessity and ingenuity push the boundaries of technology.

At the same time, the name HMS Queen Elizabeth carries a distinguished heritage. The current ship is only the second one to bear that moniker. Its predecessor fought many well known campaigns. But the highlight of her career came in 1918 when Admiral Beatty accepted the German fleet’s surrender on board the ship.

Lieutenant Rob Andrews, one of the 820 Naval Air Squadron’s pilots, said: “This is the first time I have had the chance to both see and operate with the ship and it is still very exciting and hugely rewarding to be one of the first to work from such an impressive ship.

“820 NAS has been working with HMS Queen Elizabeth in support of her contractor sea trials. This has seen us operate as a helicopter delivery platform providing essential stores and crew work-up ahead of our more operational role when she is formally commissioned into the fleet.”

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Credit: LPhot Dan Rosenbaum

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