Naval Air Squadron Embarks In HMS Queen Elizabeth For The First Time

A Naval Air Squadron has embarked in the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time.

The Merlin Mk2 helicopters of Culdrose-based 820 Naval Air Squadron have been working with the ship since she sailed from Rosyth for the first time in June last year. 

Before this embark, the squadron’s aircraft, equipment and people have been based ashore and simply flown on and off the ship.

This marks the first time any squadron has fully embarked in the ship, moving their personnel, kit and helicopters on board to live and operate there 24 hours a day.   

Naval Air Squadron Fully Embarks In HMS Queen Elizabeth For First Time

The squadron’s Senior Pilot, Lieutenant Commander Steve Moseley, said:

"For us as maritime helicopter pilots, it has been an amazing experience being the first to work with our new aircraft carrier from the beginning." 

"We have been itching to get on the ship rather than operate with her from ashore. We all joined the Fleet Air Arm to operate aircraft at sea, and to be the first to do it on board HMS Queen Elizabeth is very exciting."  

Naval Air Squadron Fully Embarks In HMS Queen Elizabeth For First Time

The two aircraft were joined by two additional Merlins, from the Aircraft Test and Evaluation Centre at MOD Boscombe Down.

They, along with two Chinook helicopters already on board, will conduct first of class flying trials to work out the operating parameters of the aircraft flying from and to the carrier at sea in a variety of conditions.

Work continues in Rosyth on HMS Queen Elizabeth’s sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales.

The second aircraft carrier was floated for the first time just before Christmas and is now alongside a jetty for the next phase of construction work.

HMS Queen Elizabeth continues her helicopter trials, before fixed wing F35 Lightning II trials later this year.