809 Squadron Crest

809 Naval Air Squadron

809 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) has been resurrected as the first Royal Navy formation to fly the UK’s F-35 Lightning aircraft.

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This historic naval air squadron, whose motto is simply ‘Immortal’ has been reformed to operate the stealth fifth generation aircraft that will fly off the Royal Navy's Queen Elizabeth Class carriers from 2018. 

The Lightning II aircraft will be jointly operated by pilots from the Fleet Air Arm and the Royal Air Force. In 2013, it was announced by the Chief of the Air Staff that the famous 617 Dambusters Squadron would be the first RAF Squadron to fly the jets.

809 Naval Air Squadron, which dates back to the Second World War, was selected by the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas because of its history of striking at the enemy in operations across the globe.

In previous incarnations, aircraft from 809 supported an attack on Hitler’s flagship, supported the invasions of North Africa, Italy and southern France during World War 2 and saw action in the Suez in 1956. It was last re-formed to support operations in the Falklands, flying off the decks of HMS Hermes and HMS Invincible. 809 also flew the Navy’s last Buccaneer, a low level strike bomber flown in the 1960s and 1970s.

When not at sea as part of the UK’s carrier strike force, 809 will be based at RAF Marham in Norfolk. The joint nature of the Squadrons means Naval personnel will serve with The Dambusters and their Air Force counterparts will do likewise on 809 NAS.

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Unit History

Battle Honours1941

Arctic 1941

Battle Honours1942

Malta Convoys 1942
North Africa 1942

Battle Honours1943

Salerno 1943

Battle Honours1944

South France 1944
Aegean 1944

Battle Honours1945

Burma 1945


Post-war, 809's next big theatre of activity was the Suez operation

Battle Honours1982

Falklands 1982. The squadron was specially re-formed to fly Harriers from Hermes and Invincible during the Falklands Conflict, and decommissioned in December.

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RAF Marham

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