14 Aug 2017

Royal Navy Wildcat flight crew awarded Osprey Trophy

The operational effectiveness of a Yeovilton-based Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) Wildcat helicopter flight crew is being celebrated following the award of the much-coveted Osprey Trophy.

The prestigious award was handed to 209 Flight on 815 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) in recognition of the crew’s achievements while operationally embarked in RFA Mounts Bay.

During the past 12 months 209 Flight has successfully undertaken a rigorous programme of operational activity. Somewhat surprisingly, this is the first ever Wildcat to operate in a conflict zone.

209 Flight acquitted themselves nicely, helping to prevent the illegal flow of arms to terrorist organisations via the first operational Wildcat boarding over watch.

The crew also provided essential surveillance and reconnaissance support, delivering the only Rotary Wing provision for chemical weapon precursors. Later, in September 2016, an in-theatre flight move saw them deploy into HMS Diamond.

Commanding Officer of 815 NAS, Commander Jamieson Stride said: “The Osprey Trophy stands for the foremost mark of commitment and operational achievement on 815 NAS and acknowledges the sacrifice made by the crew of 229 Flight operating from HMS Portland in December 2004.

“Over the past year 209 Wildcat Flight have completed an exceptionally demanding operational programme – facing head-on some of the harshest challenges presented by an unpredictable and ever changing global environment.

“Conducting operations afloat with assured aplomb, 209 Flight have epitomised the ethos of the FAA and contributed directly to UK National Security and are worthy winners of the Osprey Trophy 2017.”

The Osprey Trophy is awarded annually to the front-line Lynx Flight that has contributed most to the reputation and standing of the Wildcat Maritime Force.

Commissioned in 2007, the trophy is dedicated to four members of HMS Portland’s Flight who lost their lives in a Lynx helicopter crash off the Lizard peninsula in December 2004. The Wildcat Maritime Force was delighted to be joined by family members of HMS Portland’s Flight.

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