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815 Naval Air Squadron

815 Naval Air Squadron (815 NAS) is a Fleet Air Arm squadron that operates the Lynx HMA.8 helicopter out of RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset.

The squadron is made up of an HQ element and 16 Small Ship's Flights, the bulk of which deploy on Type 23 Frigates and Type 45 Destroyers. Each flight is made up of a single helicopter, 2 aircrew (pilot + observer) and a supporting element of 7 engineer technicians.

UKSF Support

815 NAS includes a specialised sub-unit that is made up of 2 double-manned flights and is designated as the Maritime Interdiction (MI) Flight (previously known as B Section). The MI flight provides specialist support to Maritime Interdiction operations, including Counter Narcotics, Counter Piracy and Maritime Counter Terrorism (MCT).

Along with a flight of Sea Kings from the Commando Helicopter Force, also based at RNAS Yeovilton, 815 NAS MI Flight is on a very high readiness footing to support United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF) MCT operations. This role would typically entail providing top cover and/or troop insertion/extraction support for the Special Boat Service or SAS as they take a MCT objective such as a cargo ship, ferry or oil rig.

815 NAS
A Lynx HMA.8SRU helicopter of 815 NAS. The aircraft features a Sea Owl Sea Owl thermal imager atop its nose and a Seaspray Mark 1 360 radar beneath it. In its maritime attack role it can be armed with an array of weaponry that includes Sea Skua anti-surface missiles, Mk44 or Mk46 torpedoes, Stingray torpedoes and MK II depth charges. In the Maritime Interdiction role an attached Royal Marine door gunner is likely to bring a pintle mounted M3M HMG to bear. A UKSF sniper may situate himself in the open cabin doorway to provide covering fire during an MCT operation. The Lynx HMA.8SRU can carry up to 9 troops and has the ability to deploy them via fast-rope. 815 NAS will be the last squadron to convert to the Wildcat.
image by LA(Phot) Steve Johncock  | © UK MOD / Crown Copyright 2009
Used under Open Government Licence

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