814 Squadron crest

814 Naval Air Squadron

814 Naval Air Squadron is better known throughout the Royal Navy as 'The Flying Tigers' due to its distinctive badge. On the 28th March 2018 the squadron merged with 829 NAS to become the biggest Merlin Mk2 helicopter Squadron that the Royal Navy has ever had.

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Embracing the Squadron's motto: In hoc signo vinces; (“In this sign you will conquer”), 814 NAS is a high readiness, globally deployable unit tasked with flying from ships and/or air bases around the world to provide protection to the Fleet from surface and sub-surface threats, or to support maritime security operations. 

The Flying Tigers can also be called upon for search and rescue (SAR) and the transportation of stores, equipment and personnel to ships, submarines and to locations ashore.

The Merlin HM Mk 2 is the UK’s primary airborne asset for Anti Submarine Warfare. As such every opportunity is taken to utilise the Merlin’s highly advanced active and passive capabilities in this demanding discipline.


On Deployment

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HMS St Albans shows her flare for action


814 Naval Air Squadron Latest News

814 NAS chase subs in the Mediterranean

HMS Astute and HMS St Albans have been training in the Atlantic

HMS St Albans and Astute carry out training in Atlantic

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Operation Complete Maritime Security

British ships and units are committed to operations in the Mediterranean. Operations focus on maritime security, reassurance and wider regional engagement to build regional maritime capability as well as providing humanitarian assistance as required.

  • Exercise Trident Juncture

    NATO's largest exercise in 20 years, Trident Juncture ensures we are ready for any emerging crisis, from any direction.

Location Mediterranean

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Unit History


We began life in December 1938 operating six legendary Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers.

Outbreak of War1939

At the outbreak of war, 814 moved on to HMS Hermes, her limitations did not suit European seas, so she was mainly used for convoy protection in the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean.

North Africa 1940

In July, Hermes' 814 NAS Swordfish attacked the Vichy French ship Richelieu at Dakar. Against heavy anti-aircraft fire the aircraft only managed one hit, battleship was disabled for over a year.

Destruction of Hermes1942

In April while en route to the Indian Ocean from Trincomalee to the Maldives, Hermes was attacked and sunk by Japanese aircraft. Luckily, the Swordfish of 814 NAS had left her earlier that month.

New Formation1944

The squadron formed up with Barracudas in 1944 to embark in HMS Venerable for the Far East. Post-war 814 adapted to a succession of Fireflys, Avengers and Gannets in the ASW role.

The Whilrwind Helicopter1960

In 1960 814 NAS welcomed its first rotary wing – the Whirlwind helicopter. From Whirlwind to Wessex, in 1967 the Wessex Mk3 brought the squadron its first radar-equipped ASW helicopter.


A brief lull saw the squadron out of commission between 1970 and 1973, before bursting back onto the scene in 1973 at HMS Gannet with the new Sea Kings ASW Mk1.

A New Base1976

It was in April 1976 that the squadron settled in Cornwall’s RNAS Culdrose – where it has remained to this day; although its aircraft have been through both reincarnations and total transformations.

The New Mk 2 ASW Sea King1977

The new Mk 2 ASW Sea King arrived in 1977 – after the squadron had played a role in the evacuation of Cyprus – and in addition 814 was the first Naval squadron fitted with passive sonar equipment.

Decades of Conflict1980

814 operated the Mk5 and Mk6 incarnations through the last two decades of the 20th Century. The Mk6 flew from carrier HMS Invincible during the Gulf, Bosnia and Kosovo conflicts.

A New Millennium2000

814 marked the birth of the new millennium by disbanding in December 2000. But ten months later the Flying Tigers were back – the striped faces now borne (subtly) upon the Merlin HM1.

A New Chapter2014

In 2014 the Merlin HM Mk1 was retired. 814 NAS gave the Merlin HM Mk 1 her operational debut and deployed to the Atlantic, Baltic, Mediterranean and the Gulf across 14 years of service.

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Commanding Officer Sarah Birchett

Rank: Commander


814 NAS helped save over 1,100 lives in the Mediterranean whilst on board HMS Bulwark

Air Engineering Technician

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RNAS Culdrose

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In hoc signo vinces; (“In this sign you will conquer”)