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815 Naval Air Squadron
815 NAS badge.jpg
815 NAS Badge
Active 1939-1966
1981-present
Country United Kingdom
Branch Royal Navy
Type Naval Air Squadron
Role Maritime Attack
Part of Fleet Air Arm
Garrison/HQ RNAS Yeovilton
Motto Strike Deep
Equipment Westland Lynx HAS Mk3, HMA Mk8 DSP and HMA Mk8 SRU
Commanders
Current
commander
Cdr J P Bowers RN
Ceremonial chief HRH Queen Elizabeth II

815 Naval Air Squadron is a squadron of the Fleet Air Arm, part of the Royal Navy. The squadron is currently based at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset, United Kingdom and it is the Navy's front line Lynx Naval Air Squadron. It currently comprises more than 30 Lynx helicopters of various types. It is the largest helicopter squadron in western Europe.[1]

Contents

History

The squadron initially formed at RNAS Worthy Down in September 1939 with Fairey Swordfish aircraft. The squadron gained early fame with its involvement in the Battle of Taranto in 1940. The battle consisted of a raid on the Italian Battlefleet in harbour at Taranto which redefined the use of air power from the sea. During the battle only one squadron aircraft was lost compared to the crippling of half the Italian Fleet. In March 1941, the squadron was once again involved in a major battle of the Second World War at the Battle of Cape Matapan; a battle that ensured the Italian Fleet did not leave harbour until the end of the war. The squadron re-equipped in August 1941 with a mixture of Swordfish and Fairey Albacore, operating from shore bases in support of the North African campaign [2].

In July of 1943, 815 Squadron was assigned to No. 201 (Naval Co-operation) Group with a detachment of Swordfish assigned to AHQ Malta. Both units participated in Operation Husky on July 10, 1943 before 815 Squadron was disbanded. The squadron reformed at Lee-on-Solent to operate Fairey Barracuda torpedo bombers, operating from Indomitable with the Eastern Fleet, flying airstrikes over Sumatra in August–September 1944.[3]It disbanded once again in November 1944 before reforming in December 1944 at RAF Machrihanish flying Barracudas for anti-submarine operations.[2]

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Post Second World War

The squadron was disbanded again in 1966. In 1981, after a gap of 15 years, the squadron re-commissioned at RNAS Yeovilton with the Lynx HAS Mk2 as the Headquarters Squadron for embarked Lynx Flights. It saw action during the Falklands War of 1982. The flights were shared with 829 Naval Air Squadron until they were amalgamated in 1993 when they became the largest helicopter squadron in the world.[4]

Current composition

The squadron is currently composed of a Headquarters and 26 Small Ship's Flights. The Headquarters are responsible for the maintenance and doctrine for the aircraft. The Small Ship's Flights operate from the Type 22 and Type 23 frigates, and Type 42 Destroyers. These Flights are then embarked on ships around the world, including two on HMS Endurance.[1]

Aircraft flown

Westland Lynx HMA 8

Currently, the squadron only fly the Westland Lynx. A list of aircraft that have been flown by 815 Naval Air Squadron in the past include:[3]

References

Specific
  1. ^ a b "815 -- Introduction". Royal Navy. http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/operations-and-support/fleet-air-arm/naval-air-squadrons/815/introduction/. Retrieved 2009-03-26. 
  2. ^ a b "815 Squadron". Fleet Air Arm Archive. http://www.fleetairarmarchive.net/Squadrons/815.html. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  3. ^ a b Thetford, Owen (1994). British Naval Aircraft since 1912 (Fourth Edition ed.). London: Putnam. ISBN 0 85177 861 5. 
  4. ^ "815: History". Royal Navy. http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/operations-and-support/fleet-air-arm/naval-air-squadrons/815/history/. Retrieved 2009-03-26. 
General
  • Sturtivant, R & Ballance, T (1994). 'The Squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm' Published by Air Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1994 ISBN 0 85130 223 8

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