847 Naval Air Squadron

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847 Naval Air Squadron
Active 1960s
1982
1995-Present Day
Country UK
Branch Royal Navy
Type Land based and amphibious squadron
Role Commando Support
Part of Fleet Air Arm/Commando Helicopter Force
Garrison/HQ RNAS Yeovilton
Motto Ex Alto Concutimus
(Latin: "We Strike From On High")
Equipment Westland Lynx AH.9A
Battle honours Sumatra 1944

847 Naval Air Squadron is a squadron of the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm. It operates Westland Lynx AH.9A helicopters and provides armed reconnaissance and light assault support to 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines. Along with 845, 846 and 848 naval air squadrons, it forms part of the Commando Helicopter Force. The squadron was re-formed from 3 Commando Brigade Air Squadron on 1 September 1995.[1] [2] [3]

The unit is based at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset, a Royal Naval establishment, with helicopters drawn from an Army Air Corps pool and flown by Royal Marines and Royal Navy aircrews.[1]

Operations in the Far East in the 1960s[edit]

The squadron served in support of the Royal Marines during the 1960s in the Far East initially (1963) with the Whirlwind HAS.7 and later with the Westland Wessex HU5. For some time the squadron was based ashore at HMS Simbang, at Sembawang in Singapore. The squadron stood down in 1971.[4]

Falklands War[edit]

847 Naval Air Squadron was reformed to take part in the Falklands campaign on 4 May 1982, operating 24 Westland Wessex HU.5 helicopters [5]:279 with Royal Naval personnel recruited mainly from RNAS Yeovilton. The aircraft were transported from the United Kingdom to the South Atlantic aboard RFA Engadine and the container vessel Atlantic Causeway.[6][Note 1]

Atlantic Causeway disembarked 12 Wessexes of 847 NAS on 1 June 1982, with the detachment from Engadine arriving on 9 June. The squadron's Wessexes, together with those of 845 NAS initially operated from San Carlos and provided much needed transport support to the advance of British forces on Port Stanley, with forward operating bases being set up at Teal Inlet and Fitzroy.[5]:280,2 After the surrender of Argentine forces on the Falklands on 14 June, 847 NAS relocated to Navy Point, a headland directly north of Port Stanley. 847 NAS remained in the Falklands until September 1982, providing air support to UK Forces.[5]:282

847 NAS was one of the longest serving units to see action in the Falklands war, spending some 4 months on the islands in total, and leading some members of the squadron to refer to the unit as "84-who?" The squadron was disbanded on 24 September 1982.[5]:283

1995 to the present[edit]

847 NAS reformed at RNAS Yeovilton with Royal Marines aircrews and REME engineers on 1 September 1995, from 3 Commando Brigade Air Squadron, as a tactical support unit for the Royal Marines Commandos with Lynx AH.7 and Gazelle AH.1 helicopters. The squadron has been active in Sierra Leone and in Kosovo.

The most significant deployment of recent years was to Operation Telic in Iraq. On 6 May 2006, one of the squadron's Lynxes was shot down over Basra in Iraq, by a surface-to-air missile (a Man Portable Air Defence System), killing 5 service personnel on board, including 847's commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Darren Chapman. This was the first British helicopter and only the second British aircraft downed (the first was an RAF Hercules) due to enemy fire, in the war.

An 847 NAS Gazelle AH.1, takes off from Camp Justice, Oman in 2002

In 2005, the Gazelle reconnaissance helicopter was retired from service with the squadron.

Later, the Lynx AH.7s were replaced with the Lynx Mk9A variant, by the unit.

It is stated that several of its Lynx Helicopters are part of the Response Force Task Group.[7][citation needed]

In late 2013, it became one of the first FAA front-line squadrons to receive the AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat.[8][citation needed]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Atlantic Causeway was sister ship to Atlantic Conveyor, which was hit and fatally damaged by an Exocet missile during the war.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b 847 NAS Affiliations, UK MoD, 2014, retrieved 3 Oct 2014 
  2. ^ (PDF) Defence Council Instructions, Royal Navy (Report). Royal Navy. 12 May 1995. http://www.rm-badges.com/images/DCI(RN)%20105%2012-5-1995.pdf. Retrieved 3 Oct 2014.
  3. ^ Lt Gen Sir Robert Ross KCB OBE (28 Jul 1995) (PDF). Royal Marines Routine Orders (Report). Royal Marines. http://www.rm-badges.com/images/RMRO%2042%2028-7-1995.pdf. Retrieved 3 Oct 2014.
  4. ^ 847 squadron, Helicopter History Site, 2014, retrieved 4 Oct 2014 
  5. ^ a b c d Burden, Rodney A.; Draper, Michael I.; Rough, Douglas A.; Smith, Colin R.; Wilton, David (1986). Falklands: The Air War. British Aviation Research Group. ISBN 0-906339-05-7. 
  6. ^ Burden et al. 1986, p. 280.
  7. ^ http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/operations-and-support/operations/auriga/index.htm
  8. ^ http://bfbs.com/news/twenty-first-century-wildcat-64584.html