We believe this is a first for a Wildcat

Lt Alex Halliday RN

Each dog (and handler) climbed aboard the Wildcat, launched from the flight deck, completed a circuit of the ship and were then delivered back on board via winch transfer – not something that many four legged animals get the chance to do.

“We believe this is a first for a Wildcat,” said Flight Observer Lt Alex Halliday. “Getting both dog and handler safely out the aircraft door and down the wire added a level of complexity on top of how we normally operate, but the dogs were remarkably well behaved given how strange an environment a noisy aircraft must be to them.”

This is one of several firsts for 205 Flight from RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset: the Wildcat Mk2 usually finds itself on a frigate or destroyer, rather than supporting Royal Marines assaulting a beach.

Nevertheless, the helicopter has quickly got used to its new surroundings, as Flight Commander Lt Cdr John Phillips says: “While amphibious operations are not a traditional role conducted by 815 Squadron, the Wildcat has demonstrated its huge potential to deliver air power from the sea, to and over the land. In addition the excellent sensors on the aircraft deliver the ‘find and fix’ capability – locating potential targets – to any task group operation.”

Which is handy because the ship is now attached to such a group, poised off the coast of Oman with destroyer HMS Dragon and UK flagship HMS Albion ahead of Saif Sareea.

RNAS Yeovilton

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