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846 NAS

846 Naval Air Squadron

846 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) is one of two frontline Sea King Mk 4 squadrons forming part of the Royal Navy’s Commando Helicopter Force (CHF). 846 NAS cut its teeth as a Commando helicopter squadron in the rainforests of Borneo during the 1960s, earning its aircrew and engineers the moniker “Junglies”, to pay tribute to their ability to operate helicopters with flexibility and success in the difficult jungle environment.

semper instans - Always Threatening

Squadron's Motto
Sea King Mk4

True to this creed, 846 NAS has since achieved operational success the Falkland Islands, in Northern ireland and on the battlefields of Bosnia (1990s), Iraq (until 2007) and in Afghanistan (ongoing), whilst supporting 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 in order to provide battlefield helicopter support to coalition forces under the auspices of Op Herrick.

Four years later having sustained continuous Sea King tasking in Helmand Province, the Squadron withdrew from Afghanistan in order to enable its conversion to the Merlin Mk 3 and 4 before the Sea King goes out of service in 2016. Despite Afghanistan being its most recent operational focus, 846 NAS retains its raison d’etre as an amphibious assault Squadron, capable of delivering Royal Marines from ship to shore.

846 NAS is based at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset with a compliment of around 250 personnel - pilots, aircrewmen, engineers and supporting elements – collectively responsible for the safe and efficient operation of ten Sea King Mk 4 Commando helicopters, wherever in the world they are required.

As the first Royal Navy squadron due to convert to Merlin Mk 4, 846 NAS is set to undergo a comprehensive restructuring, enabling it to continue delivering Sea King Mk 4 operational capability whilst best posturing to take the reins of a new and highly capable battlefield helicopter, as yet uninitiated in the Commando Role.


Richard Harrison

Richard Harrison
Warfare (Pilot)
846, 848 Naval Air Squadron (NAS)
Military experience

With over more than 18 years in the Royal Navy, Cdr Richard Harrison has flown a number of aircraft types. Initially these were the Grob, Firefly and Gazelle Training aircraft, before eventually qualifying as a front-line operational pilot on the Sea King Mk4.

He completed his ‘Junglie’ training in 1997 and since joining the Navy’s Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) he has flown the Sea King Mk4 on Exercises and operational tours around the world. During his first tour Cdr Harrison deployed to Northern Ireland several times, building up his experience in flying and navigating at low level by night in challenging weather conditions to insert and extract British patrols around South Armagh. In between these deployments he also undertook cold weather training in Northern Norway and participated in numerous multinational naval amphibious exercises in the Arctic and the Mediterranean.

Cdr Harrison’s subsequent flying career took him to operations in the Balkans, and then following training as a Helicopter Warfare Instructor, he was instrumental in the planning and conduct of the helicopter assault onto the Al Faw peninsula in 2003, which saw the beginning of CHF’s involvement in operations in Iraq until the Force’s eventual withdrawal in 2007.

In 2008 846 NAS spearheaded CHF’s entry into Afghanistan. Initially 846 NAS were the sole Commando squadron providing aircraft and personnel to this new theatre of operations and whilst this meant a great deal of time away from home for the people of 846, they took it in their stride, reflecting the great ‘Junglie’ spirit that exists within the Squadron.

After 2 years of deployments to Afghanistan, Cdr Harrison then undertook a staff tour during 2010 and 2011 at the Ministry of Defence in London, responsible for managing capability enhancements to the various marks of Sea King and Merlin helicopters flown by UK forces.

Promoted to Commander in 2010, he joined 846 NAS in June 2012.

As part of the Government’s decision to retire the Sea King Mk4 from service and transition the CHF to operating the Merlin helicopter, 846 Squadron will be the first unit to retire its helicopters in order for its aircrew and maintainers to undertake conversion training to the Merlin Mk 3 at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire. 846 will then stand up as the first CHF Merlin Squadron at RNAS Yeovilton.




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Cougar is an amphibious task force exercising in the Mediterranean. The Response Force Task Group (RFTG) is the Royal Navy’s High Readiness Task Group. It has a number of units assigned to it including a helicopter carrier, an assault ship, two frigates, as well as a Royal Fleet Auxiliary support ship and Commando units, and several Fleet Air Arm squadrons.

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Operation Herrick


Operation Herrick is the code-name for the work UK Forces have been doing in Afghanistan since 2002, working to bring about stability in the country and maintain the forces of law and order, pushing back the Taliban and preventing them from using the country as a base for terrorism.



846 Naval Air Squadron HISTORY

  • Formation

    846 Naval Air Squadron 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. In this year the Squadron carried out anti U-boat patrols on convoy routes to Gibraltar and Murmansk.

  • WW2 Battle Honours

    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

  • Borneo

    846 NAS is re-formed as a helicopter squadron operating the Westland Whirlwind helicopter in the Commando Role and deployed immediately on counter-guerrilla operations in Borneo. Operating from HMS Albion and forward-based in the jungle, it is here that 846 NAS aircrew earn the moniker “Junglies” from their Army brethren on the ground. On return to the UK, 846 NAS is again disbanded.

  • Wessex

    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 where it remains to this day. In December 1979, 846 NAS begins conversion to the new Sea King Mk 4 helicopter

  • The Falklands War

    846 NAS, now fully equipped with Sea King Mk 4 helicopters embarks on HMS HERMES as part of the UK task-force sent to fight the Falklands War. During the Falklands campaign 846 NAS flies over 2800 hours, completes 10,000 individual troop moves and lifts nearly 83,000 tonnes of freight. The “Junglies” reputation is safeguarded.

  • Operation Desert Storm

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

  • Peace Keeping

    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. No sooner has the Squadron completed its mission in the Adriatic it is then deployed to Northern Ireland, again in the peacekeeping role – 846 NAS is deployed here until 2002.

  • Sierra Leone

    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.

  • Iraq

    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.

  • Afghanistan

    846 NAS deploys to Afghanistan in support of Op HERRICK equipped with the upgraded Sea King Mk 4 plus. 846 NAS and its sister Squadron 845 NAS operate throughout Helmand Province and the wider theatre, providing much-needed battlefield helicopter support to land forces.

  • Present Day

    846 NAS maintains an enduring commitment to Afghanistan whilst making preparations for conversion to the new Merlin Mk 3/4 helicopter.

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