700W Naval Air Squadron

On July 31st 2014 700W Naval Air Squadron decommissioned in readiness to reform as 825 Naval Air Squadron.

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The Squadron personnel consisted of a small cadre of aircrew especially selected from the Lynx Helicopter Force for their experience in test flying, training and tactics.

700(W) NAS had been working to optimise operating procedures and ensure the safe and efficient delivery of Wildcat Operational Capability. This is known as the Tactical Development phase or TACDEV for short, and follows on from the testing done by the Combined Test Team of industry and military test pilots at Agusta-Westland have already proven the safety and compliance of the aircraft prior to its delivery.

700(W) NAS was responsible for the conversion of all existing Lynx aircrew onto the Wildcat, as well as providing the core of personnel to set up the Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) for Wildcat due to stand up in early 2015.  Once the OCU was established it took over all Wildcat training and 700(W) was decommissioned to await the arrival of the next new aircraft type to join the Fleet Air Arm.

700 is the number the Fleet Air Arm use to identify their evaluation squadron as each new type or mark of aircraft enters service. The suffix letter then further identifies the type of aircraft that is being flown or evaluated.

This time around 700 Squadron reformed on 14 May 2009 as 700(W) Naval Air Squadron based at RNAS Yeovilton, specifically to deal with the introduction to service of the Lynx Wildcat.

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Unit History


First formed at Hatston on 21 January 1940, equipped initially with Walruses, Seafoxes and Swordfish, as a pool for catapult aircraft.

Test Pilot training1944

On 11 October, the squadron reformed as a Maintenance Test Pilot Training squadron, initially based at Donibristle but moving to Worthy Down, Middle Wallop and Yeovilton; disbanding in 1949.

Trials unit1955

Next in August 1955 was a Trials and Requirements Unit, with a combination of aircraft including Fireflies, Sea Vampire, Ansons, Sea Hawks, Wyverns and Gannets. This 700 endured until 1961.

Welcome to the Lynx1976

700 NAS reformed through the decades with each new type of aircraft. The Wildcat's direct ancestor the Lynx began with 700L in September 1976, enduring until the next year.

Merlin appears1998

In December 1998 700 NAS reformed at RNAS Culdrose to put Merlin through its paces. This squadron - 700M - endured for a decade, disbanding in March 2008.

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700W Squadron History