849 NAS

849 Naval Air Squadron

Equipped with sophisticated helicopter-borne radar systems, 846 Naval Air Squadron are the eyes and ears of the Royal Navy. They detect threats from land, sea and sky with the cutting-edge Merlin Crowsnest helicopter. 

849 Naval Air Squadron is currently on deployment


United Kingdom

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This unit is currently on deployment, find out how that might affect you.

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Unit official communications

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Facts & figures

Facts & figures

450+ nautical miles

Maximum range 

19.5 metres

Total length

190+ miles per hour

Top speed

Our operations

Current operation


United Kingdom

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

Our base

Our base

RNAS Culdrose

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Commanding Officer

Commander Colin McGannity

Colin first Commanded 849 NAS (Sea King Mk 7) in 2013-14 before coordinating aviation support to the DfID Ebola mission in Freetown, Sierra Leone. After advanced staff training and promotion, he conducted a staff tour in Finance and Military Capability at MoD Main Building


849 Naval Air Squadron's role

Formed at the height of the Second World War, 849 Naval Air Squadron’s primary role is to act as an airborne early warning squadron, patrolling the skies and detecting threats from land, sea and air – until recently in the Westland Sea King helicopter. 
After 49 years of distinguished service, the Sea King is being replaced by the Merlin Crowsnest – a cutting-edge helicopter-borne surveillance system that will act as the eyes and ears of the new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers. Never has the squadron’s motto, Primus Video (‘first to see’), been more appropriate.

Unit history

Royal Navy careers

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