Navy

HMNB Devonport Welcomes First Aircraft To New Helicopter Operating Facility

The Fleet Helicopter Support Unit will forward base from the new facility when away from its home airfield in Newquay, Cornwall.

HMNB Devonport has welcomed the first landing on its new Helicopter Operating Facility.

A Dauphin, from the Fleet Helicopter Support Unit (FHSU), touched down at the multi-million-pound area in Plymouth, Devon.

The FHSU will forward base from the facility when away from its home airfield in Newquay, Cornwall, to facilitate Fleet Operational Sea Training (FOST) staff transfers to ships undergoing training in local exercise areas.

Ian Roseverar, Operations Officer for British International Helicopters (BHI), which provides the FHSU to the Royal Navy, said the first landing was "to ensure that everything works and to test the comms".

"In the future, FOST staff can come here, be briefed by the Royal Navy Survival Equipment specialists and pick up their equipment in a more local site," he said.

The area which houses the facility, at the northern end of the naval base, has been transformed and comes complete with a meteorological observation station and the ability to refuel visiting helicopters.

The Fleet Helicopter Support Unit will forward base from the facility when away from its home airfield in Cornwall (Picture: Royal Navy).

Lieutenant Commander Simon Smith, an Air Traffic Officer, said: "For the last 10 years that has been happening from HMS Raleigh, which is a good hour transit away.

"This will now be a 10-minute drive in the base to the helicopter landing site and then straight out to sea, making for a much more efficient process."

As well as the Dauphin helicopter of the FHSU, the new facility is also capable of accommodating the Royal Navy’s Merlin and Wildcat helicopters.

Cover image: A Dauphin helicopter touches down at the new Helicopter Operating Facility at HMNB Devonport (Picture: Royal Navy).