HMS Diamond with Sea King Helicopter
A Sea King Mark 7 Airbourne Surveillance And Control (SKASAC) helicopter from 854 Naval Air Squadron takes off from the deck of a Type 45 destroyer for the first time.
Able to provide surveillance and early airborne warning, the Sea King Mark 7 can conduct maritime security operations while deployed on a maritime unit in the Arabian Gulf. It was in company with Portsmouth-based Type 45 destroyer HMS Diamond, which is currently in the region.
The SKASACs are presently exercising with Royal Navy ships in the area. For the last few years units from the squadron have been deployed to Afghanistan, where their performance in providing airborne support to units on Op HERRICK has been of critical importance. Using the techniques honed from these deployments they are bolstering surveillance at sea by demonstrating their ability to detect even small contacts at range and report them to friendly units.
The exercises were carried out while Diamond was conducting maritime security operations in the Gulf Region. It was also a good experience for the aviation team in the ship to handle the requirements of a different class of aircraft
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HMS Exeter is shown in the foreground with HMS Illustrious, taking part in Exercise Neptune Warrior
HMS Exeter is shown in the foreground with HMS Illustrious, taking part in Exercise Neptune Warrior.
Having spent two years embarking periodically in HMS Invincible as the High-Readiness Aircraft Carrier, 801 NAS had just returned from 6 weeks training with HMS Illustrious, in order to assist in her preparations for the role. Embarking for the second and third phases of her Operational Sea Training (OST) package, together with 849 Squadron A Flight Sea King Mk 7s and a Sea King Mk 6 of 771 Squadron, 801's Sea Harrier FA2s tailored their flying to provide progressive training for all of HMS Illustrious newly formed crew.
After two weeks of combined Fixed and Rotary Wing flying operations, HMS Illustrious next embarked the RAF Harrier GR7's of 1(F) Squadron, who soon adjusted to the unique demands of operating from an Aircraft Carrier at sea. It was at this point, after three intensive weeks that HMS Illustrious and her Tailored Air Group (TAG) were assessed to be fit to continue into Phase 3 of OST, where a highflying rate would be integrated into a tactical scenario.
Following a brief port visit to Newcastle, in order to refresh all embarked personnel and conduct essential maintenance, HMS Illustrious sailed with her full complement of TAG for Exercise Neptune Warrior. This Exercise had an extremely large number of multinational participants, ranging from HMAS Anzac (an Australian Frigate), to a Dutch Submarine, and was conducted in the challenging waters of the North-West Scottish coast. Neptune Warrior pitted two large Naval Task Groups against each other in a complex Political scenario, and enabled the TAG to operate in a Maritime Strike role, focussing on the GR7s Strike capability
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Blenheims and Messerschmitts by G. H. Davis
The fight between Bristol Blenheims and Messerschmitt 110 destroyer planes over the North Sea during the Second World War. Showing the Messerschmitts wheeling to attack with shell guns, a Blenheim driven out of formation, and a Messerschmitt down in the sea.
10 January 1940
© Illustrated London News Ltd/Mary Evans
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