Cornish lessons for Argus in visit to Culdrose

Officers from the UK’s aviation training ship/floating medical centre toured Culdrose to get a better understanding of its role – as their ship prepares to deploy with the air station’s personnel embarked.

RFA Argus, which is based just a few miles from the Helston establishment in Falmouth, is gearing up to join new patrol ship HMS Medway in the Caribbean using her flight deck for helicopter operations... and her impressive hospital facilities should there be the need.

Many of the additional crew needed to support the Caribbean mission – and especially support flying operations – will be drawn from 1700 Naval Air Squadron, the unique Culdrose unit which feeds the Fleet with extra men and women as needed.

All in all, it was a very informative and enlightening day out and many thanks to all those at Culdrose who gave us such a warm welcome

engineer Cadet Carwyn Davies

And on top of that the air station’s Merlins – especially those of 824 Naval Air Squadron, which provides the Fleet Air Arm with trained and air and ground crew – get their sea legs by conducting deck landings/take-offs, practice winchings and other manoeuvres when they embark on Argus.

So a group of deck and engineer officers from the 39-year-old auxiliary headed down the A394 (and then the A3083) to spend a day learning about all that goes on at Culdrose, from the Merlin Training Facility used by 824 personnel before they join Argus, to the control tower and the Royal Navy’s sole drone squadron, 700X, which is at the forefront of exploiting unmanned technology for use on the front line.

That wasn’t the highlight of the visit, however, which was provided by the wildlife control unit and its birds of prey which are used to keep other feathered fiends at bay and reduce the risk of bird strikes to the Hawk jets of 736 Squadron. The latter’s hangar was the final stop on the lightning tour.