Royal Navy take delivery of their final Wildcat helicopter

825 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) has taken delivery of the Royal Navy’s final Wildcat HMA2 at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton.

Commander Simon Collins, Commanding Officer (CO) of 825 NAS took delivery of the final Wildcat Helicopter ZZ530 from Leonardo Helicopters on Tuesday 25 October 2016.

825 NAS were joined by members of Leonardo Helicopters and the CO of RNAS Yeovilton, Commodore Jon Pentreath OBE, to accept ZZ530 into the Fleet Air Arm.

Cdr Collins said; “I am immensely proud to take delivery today of ZZ530, the final production Wildcat HMA Mk 2. I have been honoured to have commanded both 700W and 825 NAS and during my tenure as CO I have received 15 out of the 28 aircraft so feel deeply involved in this programme.

"During this time I have also seen the Wildcat force grow from its infancy to the capable and highly effective unit it has become today, with Wildcat flights already currently deployed across the globe.

"This day marks the end of one chapter of the Wildcat story, and the beginning of the next which will undoubtedly be a long and illustrious career at the forefront of future naval aviation operations.“

This day marks the end of one chapter of the Wildcat story, and the beginning of the next which will undoubtedly be a long and illustrious career at the forefront of future naval aviation operations.

Commander Simon Collins

Brigadier Darren Crook Head Helicopters 1 with Defence Equipment & Support MOD said: “The delivery of the final Wildcat HMA2 marks an important milestone in fielding the outstanding capability that this aircraft provides to the Royal Navy.

"Wildcat builds on the fine tradition established by the long-serving Lynx, while employing technologies that are at the leading edge of modern helicopter design as they are deployed around the world.”

The Wildcat is the latest and greatest of the military helicopters, and 825 NAS has the long tradition of bringing new ‘bits of kit’ into the FAA and is a training squadron delivering first class training to aircrew and engineers whilst pioneering the generation and sustainment of front line Wildcat Flights for embarked operations worldwide.

John Doherty, Leonardo’s Flight Test Engineer, landed in ZZ530 and to his surprise was marshalled in by his 25 year old Son Air Engineering Technician (AET) Sam Doherty with 825.

John said: “I am so really proud of what my Son, young AET Joseph (Sam) Doherty has achieved, and as I am now 59 it is right that I hand over the aircraft to the next generation.

"I have met some of the fantastic young Royal Navy Engineers and aircrew that can appreciate the new systems on the Wildcat and will really be able make it sing.

"I hope all the development work that I have put in over the years has produced something that they can also feel proud of.

"I flew on the first Wildcat flight on ZZ400 in November 2009 and now I have delivered the last.”