The first was a 74 gun warship launched in 1775 which went to North America and the West Indies and took part in the encounter between Vice Admiral Byron and the French Count D'Estaing.

The second HMS Sultan spent 43 years in reserve and ended her days as a target ship; but the third, an armoured battleship of 9,290 tons, launched in 1870, was to have been named 'Triumph'. At the last minute the name was changed to 'Sultan' in honour of Sultan Abdulaziz of Turkey, who was on a state visit at the time. This particular ship took part in the 1882 bombardment of Alexandria to avenge a massacre of Europeans. Her sheet anchor was shattered by enemy shot and is one of the memories of the past, which can be found in HMS Sultan today.

The fourth HMS Sultan was an iron paddle steamer commissioned on the River Niger in 1876 but she was sunk within a month. HMS Sultan number five was a shore base in Singapore, commissioned 1940. It was destroyed on surrender in 1942 but re-commissioned on re-occupation in 1945 and continued until 1947. The present HMS Sultan occupies a site which was originally one of the earliest Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service airfields in the country.

Many Royal Naval air squadrons were formed and trained here for service in France during World War 1. It became a permanent RAF station in 1918 but continued to work closely with the Fleet Air Arm and was transferred to the Navy in 1945. As Naval Air Station HMS Siskin it was here that basic helicopter flying training procedures were developed. The MT & RE took over in 1956 when the airfield was closed.

History has now moved full circle with the arrival of the Air Engineering Department from HMS Daedalus. The translation of the motto 'Pedetentim' is 'Step-by-Step'which is felt to be indicative of the type of training carried out in the establishment. Over recent years Sultan has incorporated some of the functions of RNEC Manadon (the Naval engineering college in Plymouth) and elements of HMS Dolphin, HMS Deadalus and RNC Greenwich to make it the centre of engineering excellence it is today.