820 Naval Air Squadron (NAS), the Aircraft Carrier’s dedicated maritime helicopter squadron, is making its final preparations to embark onto HMS Queen Elizabeth for the autumn and winter of 2018.
Soon the whole squadron – aircrew, engineers and support personnel – will join the ship and sail with her across the Atlantic for the next stage of her sea trials.
This important stage is the fixed-wing aircraft part of the trials, the highlight of which will be F-35Bs touching down on her deck for the first time.
Flying in arguably the best submarine hunting helicopter in the world, the 820 NAS will be protecting HMS Queen Elizabeth from threats on and below the surface of the sea.
The squadron will also provide Search and Rescue cover – a vital maritime role as soon as flying operations increase from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier.
This is one of the Merlin Mk2 helicopters flying from its home base of Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Culdrose last night on a training sortie – as seen through night vision goggles.