Merlin Operating at RNoN Haakonsvern (Image: 139 Air Wing, RNORAF)
‘Flying Sailors’ from the Merlin Training Squadron at RNAS Culdrose have been submarine hunting in the Norwegian Fjords.
824 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) flew two Merlin Mk2 helicopters to Norway for two weeks of intensive Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) training on Exercise Rogue Wizard 2018.
Based at RNoN Haakonsvern near the city of Bergen, the crews flew intensively to locate, track and attack the Norwegian Submarine HNoMS UTHAUG.
Starting offshore in the North Sea, the scenario quickly developed and progressed inland to the unfamiliar deep fjords.
The primary aim of the exercise was to train the students before they are awarded their ‘Flying Wings’ this summer.
824 NAS is the unit which trains students in every aspect of the Merlin helicopter.
Detachment Commander Lt Cdr Dan Waskett said:
“The North Atlantic remains one of the most important for the Royal Navy.
"Developing ASW skills to operate within the fjords and challenging conditions of Norway, is critical to support future Merlin Force tasking in support of UK interests."
Student Observer Riley Handforth said: “To come here and operate against a foreign submarine in their own backyard is as much of a challenge as it is a privilege.
"The submarine crew know their waterways so well so it really does make it all the more satisfying when we are able to detect and attack them."
Once the students pass the course and are awarded their Wings, they will move to frontline Squadrons where they can expect to regularly deploy overseas on both exercises and operations in support of UK tasking.