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845 NAS

845 Naval Air Squadron

845 Naval Air Squadron is one of two front-line Sea King squadrons of the Commando Helicopter Force. The squadron, based at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset, consists of around 250 personnel – pilots, aircrewmen, engineers and technicians plus headquarters staff – responsible for ten Sea Kings Mk4s, split into five flights of two helicopters. 845 can deploy en masse as a whole squadron – or dispatch individual flights (helicopters, pilots, engineers) to ships or exercises around the world depending on what is required.

Sea King Mk4

COMMANDING OFFICER

Gavin Simmonite

Gavin Simmonite
RANK:
Commander
JOINED:
1996 (RN) 19/11/13 (845 NAS)
SPECIALISATION:
Warfare
PREVIOUS UNITS:
846 NAS, HMS Albion, CHF
Military experience

Commander Gavin Simmonite was born in Yorkshire and educated in Bristol. He joined the Royal Navy in 1996 and, after initial officer training at Britannia Royal Naval College, he completed flying training, specialising as a Commando helicopter pilot.

He joined 846 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) in 1999 where he undertook a number of amphibious deployments and saw operational service in Sierra Leone on Operation Palliser.

In 2001 he began an exchange tour with the Royal Air Force on 33 Squadron flying the Puma helicopter and saw further operations, including support to the NATO Stabilisation Force in Bosnia on Operation Palatine and deployments as part of NATO's multinational quick reaction Allied Mobile Force (Land) (AMF(L)).

Returning to 846 NAS in 2004 as a Flight Commander he conducted further operations as Detachment Commander (Det Cdr), including Operation Althea/Oculus in Bosnia in support of the European Union Force (EUFOR) and on a number of tours to Iraq on Operation TELIC.

In 2006 he joined HMS Albion as the Aviation Officer, responsible for embarked aviation operations, sailing on numerous deployments including the west coast of Africa and winter exercises in the Arctic region.

On promotion to Lieutenant Commander he returned to 846 NAS as the Operations Officer in 2008. He participated in a number of deployments as Det Cdr to Afghanistan on Operations Herrick and Kindle, where was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Subsequently he served as Executive Assistant to Chief of Staff (Aviation and Carriers) during the busy and demanding Strategic Defence and Security Review 2010 period. On completion he attended Advanced Command and Staff Course and completed his Masters Degree in Defence Studies.

Following a short tour beginning 2012 to the Joint Helicopter Command as the Chinook Capability Manager, he returned to the Commando Helicopter Force in 2013 ahead of his appointment as Commanding Officer 845 NAS.


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OPERATIONS

Operational Flying Training

CURRENT STATUS: active
image
MISSION SUMMARY

Flying training conducted on board RFA Argus

TAKE A LOOK

UNITS IN TIME


845 Naval Air Squadron HISTORY

TRACK THE HISTORY OF SHIPS NAMED 845 Naval Air Squadron
  • Action in the Far East

    Apart from two years flying torpedo bombers in the second half of World War 2, 845 Naval Air Squadron has been a cutting-edge helicopter formation for more than half a century. The squadron was originally formed in February 1943 Flying Grumman Avenger torpedo bombers, seeing extensive action in the Far East in 1944 and 1945.

  • Battle Honours

    East Indies 1944-45 Burma 1945

  • The First Anti-Submarine Helicopter Squadron

    Disbanded at the war’s end, 845 reappeared in 1955 with Sikorsky S55s and, from 1957, Westland Whirlwinds, as the first anti-submarine helicopter squadron in the Fleet Air Arm. Despite this specialist role, the squadron demonstrated the versatility of the helicopter during the Suez Crisis of 1956 by carrying troops ashore in a ‘vertical assault’.

  • The First Commando Helicopter Squadron

    The squadron was disbanded again in 1959 before reforming in 1962 as the first commando helicopter squadron which saw immediate action in the jungles of Brunei and Borneo, establishing the ‘jungly’ nickname which persists today.

  • Northern Ireland, The Falklands and Kuwait

    845 spent much of the 1970s and early ’80s supporting the security and peacekeeping mission in Northern Ireland, but its helicopters were also sent to the South Atlantic in 1982 to liberate the Falklands. Another invasion half a world away saw the squadron earn its next battle honour during the international effort to drive Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait.

  • Battle Honours

    Falklands 1982

  • Battle Honours

    Kuwait 1991

  • Peacekeeping

    From the end of 1992 until 2005, 845 maintained a permanent presence in the former Yugoslavia supporting UN/NATO peacekeeping operations; the squadron became the longest-serving unit in theatre.

  • Returning to the Gulf

    In 2003 the squadron returned to the Gulf, this time during the campaign to oust Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq. Once the dictator had been toppled, the Sea Kings remained in the country for three years supporting stabilisation efforts on the ground.

  • Afghanistan

    After improvements and upgrades to the Sea Kings, and with the mission in Iraq over, 845 was sent to Afghanistan in March 2008 and its men, women and helicopters have been committed there ever since.

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