Commando Helicopter Force
During the decade that British Forces were deployed in Afghanistan, CHF consistently and fearlessly supported UK and coalition forces in a very challenging environment. Since then, the CHF has faced significant change, with Squadrons moving to RAF Benson and subsequently returning to RNAS Yeovilton, aircraft retiring and new aircraft coming into service.
847 Naval Air Squadron bid farewell to the Lynx Mk7 and 9A, and began the transition onto the new Wildcat AH Mk1 aircraft. Whilst similar in appearance to the Lynx, the Wildcat is a considerably more advanced aircraft. After an intense period of training learning to fly and fight the Wildcat, followed by consolidation training, 847 NAS departed on its first deployment as a fully operational Wildcat Squadron in September 2015.
846 NAS moved to RAF Benson to begin conversion training onto the Merlin Mk3 aircraft. In spring 2015, 846 NAS returned to RNAS Yeovilton, making way for 845 NAS to begin its Merlin conversion. With exercises in Norway and the USA already under their belts, both squadrons are proving the commitment, flexibility, skill and ‘can do’ ethos that the CHF is renowned for.
From those early days of 848 NAS in Malaya in 1952, the ‘Junglies’ have been actively engaged in most major emergencies, actions and conflicts. Its hard won reputation, judged by those who matter – the troops on the ground – continues to be secure.
The nature and source of future conflict has become more difficult than ever to predict and it is a complex, uncertain and often dangerous world. Unexpected military, political crisis or humanitarian assistance across the globe demands a flexible and rapid response. The CHF, as part of the UK’s high readiness amphibious response force task group, is ideally structured to respond with global reach and speed to any crisis to protect and promote the nation’s security, prosperity and reputation.