Royal Navy Wildcat is the eyes in the sky over Turks and Caicos

A Royal Navy patrol helicopter is the eyes in the sky over the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean.

The Wildcat from Yeovilton-based 815 Naval Air Squadron has left her mothership, RFA Argus, to work on maritime security patrols alongside the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Service (RTCIPS).

203 Flight, which has already had a jam-packed deployment in the region since arriving in April, has gone ashore for a few weeks for scheduled maintenance ahead of potential hurricane season missions, but also to complement the local police’s operations. 

The Wildcat is equipped with cutting-edge sensors and radars, making it a world-class aircraft for reconnaissance and patrol sorties. 

The 203 Flight Commander and pilot of the Wildcat helicopter, Lieutenant Jim Carver, said: “We will be disembarking the aircraft into the Turks and Caicos Islands to conduct routine maintenance prior to the hurricane season while also conducting scheduled flying and mandated flying currencies (staying up-to-date on training and flying hours) in direct support to maritime security operations for the RTCIPS.

 “We’re here in the Caribbean to support British Overseas Territories as part of the enduring Atlantic Patrol Tasking (North), which is supporting UK Overseas Territories during the core hurricane season and other nations with maritime security.”

The Wildcat is part of a larger air group, which also includes three Commando Merlins from 845 Naval Air Squadron, on support ship/helicopter carrier Argus.

The navy fliers are in the Caribbean as part of a larger task group, which revolves around Argus and Offshore Patrol Vessel HMS Medway. 

The helicopters are embarked on Argus and form up a formidable team that also includes 3 Commando Brigade’s Crisis Response Troop from 24 Commando Royal Engineers and fast boat operators from 47 Commando Raiding Group.

There is also a land-based element of the task group, with Security Assistance Teams from 30 Commando Information Exploitation Group working from the Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos. 

The task group has been on demanding exercises across the Caribbean, stopping in British Overseas Territories to train ahead of potential hurricane season work and counter-narcotics operations. 

 

We will be disembarking the aircraft into the Turks and Caicos Islands to conduct routine maintenance prior to the hurricane season while also conducting scheduled flying and mandated flying currencies (staying up-to-date on training and flying hours) in direct support to maritime security operations for the RTCIPS.

Lieutenant Jim Carver