Commando Helicopter Crews Battle The Elements In The Arctic Circle

Norway's Exercise Nordic Hammer provides 846 Naval Air Squadron with tough training conditions not found in the UK.

Battling 24-hour daylight and extreme mountainous terrain, junior pilots and crew from Commando Helicopter Force are in Norway for Exercise Nordic Hammer.

The region provides 846 Naval Air Squadron with tough training conditions, not found in the UK.

Bardufoss airfield is 200 miles inside the Arctic Circle and took the student aircrews three days to navigate to from their Somerset base.

Norway may traditionally be associated with winter warfare training but the summer months still present their own challenges.


846 Naval Air Squadron instructor, Petty Officer Ross Scullion said: "The challenge flying out of Norway brings is the unpredictability of the weather, it can change at a moments notice. 

"Also, flying at different altitudes."

During the exercise, both the pilots and aircrew perfect the basics of landing in tricky locations.

Lieutenant Ieuan Roden said: "The scenery is incredibly beautiful but that also brings with it the challenges of harder flying.

"There's more mountainous terrain, colder weather.

"Special features are like the bowl, which is like trying to fly down a trombone ... It's tight and compact when we're trying to get into specific landing sites.

On average the student pilots are five to six years into their training, and all being well, crews will receive their wings in October.