849 NAS

849 Naval Air Squadron

849 Naval Air Squadron is the spiritual home of Navy Airborne Early Warning and the last remaining military operators of Sea King helicopters in the UK.

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The Squadron headquarters element overseas UK-based operations and management, while three flights take up the operational roles – deploying overseas; flying in support of UK and international exercises and training while in the UK.

The flights are named after 849 NAS’s Second World War battle honours; Okinawa, Palembang and Normandy.

The Sea King Mk7 carries Thales’s Searchwater 2000 multi-mode radar and Cerberus mission system, enabling it to conduct wide-area surveillance of land, sea and air.

Crews fly with a single pilot and two observers, and are trained to operate day and night, to land bases and ships. Crews train for all roles, including winching and landing in confined areas, with rear-crew additionally trained as fighter controllers.

849 NAS are currently operating the Sea King Mk7 in the UK and operationally overseas. It is scheduled to continue to operate until at least 2018.

Final flight of the Sea King


849 Naval Air Squadron Latest News

Sea King flypast ends 49 years of service by veteran helicopter

Winter in the Frisia for Culdrose Sea King on its final mission over Europe

Winter in the Frisia for Culdrose Sea King on its final mission over Europe

See all news for 849 Naval Air Squadron

Current operation Operational Sea Training

The ship/boat and her crew are being put through their paces in preparation for front line operations.

Location UK

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Unit History


For nearly 60 years, 849 Naval Air Squadron has provided the Fleet with early warning. The squadron actually started life in 1943 as a torpedo-bomber unit flying Grumman Avengers.

World War II1944

849 saw first action in support of the Normandy invasion as a submarine patrol squadron, after which it was re-assigned to the carrier, HMS Victorious, to support operations in the Far East.

Battle Honours1945

It partook in the famous raid on Japanese-held oil refineries at Palembang and strikes in the Okinawa campaign as well as bombing the Japanese mainland in the final weeks of the war.

Early Warning Roles1953

849 stood down shortly after the conflict’s end, reappearing in 1953 in the airborne early warning role, first in Skyraiders, subsequently in Gannets.

The Falklands1978

849 bowed out when HMS Ark Royal IV did the same in 1978, but the Falklands conflict reaffirmed the need for airborne early warning, so 849 returned in 1984, this time in Sea Kings.

Against Saddam Hussein's Regime2003

At the beginning of the 21st Century arrived the current Mk7 with its more potent radar. The squadron earned its most recent battle honour during the 2003 campaign in Iraq.

'Eyes in the sky'2006

Until 2006, 849 Naval Air Squadron was the Fleet Air Arm’s only ‘eyes in the sky’ squadron, providing both training and front-line units, the latter in the form of Aardvark and Bee Flights.

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849 NAS Affiliations

Sea King ASaC Training