820 Squadron Crest

820 Naval Air Squadron

820 NAS is the dedicated helicopter squadron for HMS Queen Elizabeth: the Royal Navy’s awe-inspiring new breed of aircraft carrier.

Our operations

Current operation


United Kingdom

Putting our craft, kit and people through their paces so they perform to the highest standards.

Commanding Officer

Commander K Snel

Commander Karen Snel joined the Royal Navy in 2001 as a warfare officer. She was selected for observer training and gained her wings in 2008, serving with 820, 824 and 829 squadrons.

She became the senior observer of 820 Naval Air Squadron and was fortunate enough to be part of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s first entry into Portsmouth and first F35 landing and launch in 2018. After various roles with Navy Command, Cdr Snel assumed command of 820 Naval Air Squadron in April 2023.

820 Naval Air Squadron's role

The primary warfighting role of 820 Naval Air Squadron is the seeking out and destruction of enemy submarines – although the Merlin’s versatility means that the unit is capable of performing any number of duties, from all-weather search and rescue operations to transporting cargo and troops.

Unit history

Royal Navy careers

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