HMS St Albans flies high at Bahrain Air Show

In a role slightly different from the norm, HMS St Albans’ Merlin helicopter featured at the recent Bahrain International Air Show representing the Royal Navy.

Usually the Merlin Mk2 can be found carrying out maritime patrols and interdiction, troop ferrying, casualty evacuation, load lifting, Search and Rescue, and whatever else is required of it.

But in a change to routine the Merlin went on show demonstrating the Royal Navy’s maritime air capability at the international air show which attracts more than 40,000 visitors.

The small team of aircrew and engineers and their Merlin received an exceptionally warm welcome from both the Bahrainis and wider public from all over the Gulf Region. 

The aircrew were treated with an almost celebrity status with crowds queuing to get a snapshots and selfies of the team with their highly impressive Merlin Mk2 as a backdrop.

It's great for the lads to see how much we are appreciated for our contribution to operations in this region. This is something they don't get to do every day

Chief Petty Officer Adam Cuthbert, Senior Maintenance Rate

Senior Maintenance Rate, Chief Petty Officer Adam Cuthbert, said: “It's great for the lads to see how much we are appreciated for our contribution to operations in this region. This is something they don't get to do every day.”

The Flight also hosted a number of VVIPs, from UK MPs, senior UK Military Officers and Ambassadors, including Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the United Kingdom. 

With over 130 aviation companies and 75 delegations from 34 countries, with over 100 aircraft on display, the air show provides an ideal platform for the Royal Navy to showcase its maritime aviation capabilities and build ties with GCC and coalition partners in the region.

The Flight Commander, Lieutenant Commander Lauren Hulston, said: “After an extremely busy operational period, this tasking gave the team a welcome break whilst still contributing to UK national interests and giving us the opportunity to show off the highly capable Merlin.”