846 NAS

846 Naval Air Squadron

846 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) is one of two frontline squadrons forming part of the Royal Navy’s Commando Helicopter Force (CHF). 846 is in the vanguard of the conversion to the Merlin Mk3, and has now returned home to RNAS Yeovilton.

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846 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) were the first Royal Navy squadron to convert to Merlin Mk 3.

Merlin Mk3 is a new aircraft type for the Commando Helicopter Force (CHF). It will advance capability for the primary customer, The Royal Marines.

To take on the demanding Commando Role (from ship to shore operations) the current Merlin Mk3 fleet will undergo an upgrade package through an interim model. It will then move towards the advanced Merlin Mk4. This will further increase the capability of this proven battlefield helicopter.

846 NAS cut its teeth as a Commando helicopter squadron in the rainforests of Borneo during the 1960s. 846 NAS has achieved operational success in the Falkland Islands, Northern Ireland, Bosnia (1990s), Iraq (until 2007 and Afghanistan (until 2014).

846 NAS has supported exercises both at sea and by land in the UK, Norway, Kenya, Morocco and the USA.

In 2007 with an ongoing commitment in Iraq, 846 NAS deployed to Afghanistan. They provided battlefield helicopter support to coalition forces under Operation Herrick.

Four years later the Squadron withdrew from Operation Herrick to enable its conversion to the Merlin Mk 3.

846 NAS remains primarily an amphibious assault Squadron. 846 NAS is capable of delivering Royal Marines from ship to shore, a capability which will be worked up and proven again as Merlin Mk3 expertise grows.

RFA Argus resumes her aviation training role

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846 Naval Air Squadron Latest News

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Operation Complete Training

The unit is being put through its paces in preparation for returning to front line operations.

  • Exercise Clockwork

    Exercise Clockwork is the annual Commando Helicopter Force training in Norway

Location UK

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Unit History

Formation1943

846 NAS was formed on April 1 1943 as a torpedo bomber and reconnaissance unit, equipped with the Grumman Avenger torpedo bomber and bolstered by a flight of Wildcat fighters. 

WW2 Battle Honours1944

From 1944 to war’s end 846 NAS’ battle honours include Norway 1944-45, Normandy 1944 and the Arctic 1944-45. After the war the Squadron is disbanded.

Borneo1962

846 NAS is re-formed operating the Westland Whirlwind helicopter in the Commando Role and deployed immediately on counter-guerrilla operations in Borneo. 

Wessex1968

The next reincarnation sees 846 NAS re-formed to operate Wessex helicopters in the Commando Role and based at RNAS Culdrose. In 1972 the Squadron is relocated to RNAS Yeovilton. 

The Falklands War1982

846 NAS, now fully equipped with Sea King Mk 4, embarks on HMS Hermes to the Falklands. During the campaign 846 NAS flies over 2,800 hours and completes 10,000 individual troop moves.

Operation Desert Storm1990

In 1990 the Squadron took part in Operation Desert Storm and helps secure the liberation of Kuwait.

Peace Keeping1993

In January 1993 the Squadron embarks on HMS Ark Royal and deploys to the Adriatic to provide support to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the former Yugoslavia.

Sierra Leone2000

846 NAS Sea Kings deploy onboard the newly launched helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, providing much-needed helicopter support to 42 Commando operating against rebel forces in Sierra Leone.

Iraq2003

846 NAS takes part in the assault on the Al Faw peninsula and is thenceforth deployed to Basra in support of Op Telic. The Squadron remains in Iraq until 2007.

Afghanistan2007

846 NAS deploys to Afghanistan in support of Op Herrick equipped with the upgraded Sea King Mk 4+. 846 NAS and its sister Squadron 845 NAS operate throughout Helmand Province.

Present Day2011

846 NAS is in the midst of preparations for conversion to the new Merlin Mk 3/4 helicopter.

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Commanding Officer Derek Stafford

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Lieutenant Colonel DB Stafford joined the Royal Marines in 1994, he assumed command of 846 Naval Air Squadron in September 2014.

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Motto

semper instans - always threatening

RNAS Yeovilton

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846 Naval Air Squadron Affiliations

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