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824 NAS

824 Naval Air Squadron

824 Naval Air Squadron feeds the three front-line Merlin squadrons with the men and women needed to fly and maintain the world’s No.1 anti-submarine helicopter. With the aid of eight helicopters and state-of-the-art simulators, which are used not just by air crew, but also ground crew, the Culdrose-based squadron provides the qualified personnel our operational sister squadrons constantly need. Trainee pilots, observers and aircrewmen work together as a crew during the 44 week course, covering all aspects of Merlin operations – submarine hunting, boarding operations, search and rescue missions, counter-piracy, carrying cargo. Having successfully completed the course – which in some cases means the end of four years of training – they are awarded their coveted ‘wings’, and sent to front line squadrons: 814, 820 and 829.

Merlin

COMMANDING OFFICER

Nick Gibbons

Gibbons, Nick
RANK:
Commander
JOINED:
1988
SPECIALISATION:
WARFARE (OBSERVER)
PREVIOUS UNITS:
NAS 820, 814, 810, 750
Military experience

Qualified as an Anti-Submarine Warfare specialist (Observer) in Sea King HAS MK6 in 1990 he has served in a wide variety of ships and theatres, including NATO support to the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, operations in the Gulf and off Sierra Leone.

As a Qualified Observer Instructor he has served as a Flight Commander on a Sea King training Squadron, Senior Observer of 750 NAS (Jetstream T2) and a tour with Naval Flying Standards Flight.
After staff appointments in the Naval Headquarters, and in support of Naval operations in the Middle East Commander Gibbons has returned to flying duties as the Commanding Officer of 824 NAS.


LATEST NEWS

 

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15 January 2014

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Merlin Sub hunters go Dutch
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OPERATIONS

Cold Weather Training

CURRENT STATUS: active
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MISSION SUMMARY

Cold Weather Training is a multinational exercise led by the Norwegian Armed Forces. While current operations are focussed on Afghanistan, it is vital that the Royal Navy maintains its amphibious capability in a cold weather environment. This training brings together the Royal Marines, assault ships and other Fleet assets, and the helicopters of the Fleet Air Arm.

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TAKE A LOOK

UNITS IN TIME


824 Naval Air Squadron HISTORY

TRACK THE HISTORY OF SHIPS NAMED 824 Naval Air Squadron
  • A Spotter Reconnaissance Squadron

    First commissioned in April 1933 as a spotter reconnaissance squadron, the squadron disbanded no fewer than ten times between 1934 and 1970.

  • A Busy War

    It distinguished itself during World War 2 in convoy and escort duties, bombing raids, gunnery spotting and carrying out attacks on enemy destroyers. Aircraft operated included Swordfish, Seal, Barracuda and Firefly.

  • World War 2

    The high point of an illustrious career was its attack on the Italian Fleet at anchor in its main base of Taranto in November 1940. It was directly responsible for disabling several Italian capital ships for months.

  • The Falklands

    In 1982, the squadron deployed with the task force sent to liberate the Falklands and, as well as operational commitments, it was responsible for trials of the Sea King Airborne Early Warning (‘bagger’) variant.

  • Bagger Trials

    Trials of the 'bagger' subsequent to the Falklands conflict led to part of 824 NAS re-forming as 849 Naval Air Squadron in November 1984.

  • Disbanded

    As for 824, it finally disbanded in August 1989 and its aircraft were transferred to 819 Squadron at Prestwick.

  • A Training Squadron

    824 finished its illustrious front-line career when it was reformed as the Merlin training squadron in 2000; a role that it has been fulfilling exceptionally well ever since.

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