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Bases and Stations
RNAS Culdrose
Bases and Stations

RNAS Culdrose

RNAS Culdrose is a significant base for the Royal Navy's maritime Merlins. As one of Europe's largest helicopter bases, it employs 3,000 people and is a major contributor to Cornwall's economy, injecting £100m annually.

Location information

Merlin Mk2 of 820 Naval Air Squadron

Role of the base

Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose is the home base for the Merlin Helicopter Force, the Royal Navy’s anti-submarine warfare helicopter fleet. It is also a major training establishment for the Fleet Air Arm.

HMS Queen Elizabeth Flight Deck team get ready to fly

Training school

New Merlin Mk2 aircrew and engineers are trained at 824 Naval air Squadron before joining one of the frontline squadrons of Merlin Helicopter Force. The air station also includes a substantial Air Engineering Training School which includes the Survival Equipment Section.

RNAS Culdrose also has the Royal Naval School Of Flight Deck Operations, the centre where all aircraft handlers receive their training. From naval airmen to flight deck officers, aircraft handlers operate the flight decks of the Royal Navy’s aircraft harriers as well as support ships. 

Commanding Officer

Captain Stuart Irwin

Captain Stuart Irwin

Captain Irwin joined the Royal Navy as a Warfare Officer in 1998. His front-line aviation was mostly in Lynx Mk3 and Mk8 Maritime Attack Helicopters, as pilot and Flight Commander frequently deployed in Frigates and Destroyers from the Arctic to the Antarctic, and the Pacific to the Arabian Gulf.

He spent two years as a Maritime Counter Terrorism Flight Commander, and was Operations Officer of 815 NAS.

Selected as an Experimental Test Pilot, he became the lead Test Pilot for Wildcat Maritime Attack and Battlefield Recce variants, as well as conducting test flying in all UK military helicopter types. He was XO of the Rotary Wing Test and Evaluation Squadron. Returning to the front line, he was Senior Pilot and XO of 815NAS.

He was selected for promotion to Captain in 2020 and took command of RNAS Culdrose in July 2022.


Find us

RNAS Culdrose

Contact Details

RNAS Culdrose
TR12 7RH
Telephone: 01326 574 121
Email Address: