Wildcats Demonstrate Firepower On Exercise In Scotland

The helicopters, that provide battlefield support for Royal Marines, carried out the training in exercise areas on the Moray Firth.

Wildcats from 847 Naval Air Squadron have been demonstrating their firepower on Exercise Terminal Strike in Scotland.

The RNAS Yeovilton-based squadron flew to RAF Lossiemouth, which is just a short flight across the Moray Firth to RAF Tain.

The former air base now serves one of the few live weapons ranges in the UK – 2,300 acres of land which includes static and moving targets and a mock village for aircraft to attack.

The Wildcat can deliver 1,100 rounds per minute with the M3M .50 heavy machine-gun in the rear of the helicopter or can call in airstrikes with a qualified Forward Air Controller (Airborne).

During the training, the helicopters called in repeated strikes from RAF Typhoons, Diamond Twin Stars (propeller-driven close air support trainers) and other Wildcats on 150 occasions, assisting troops exercising on the ground, including shooting 10,000 rounds of .50 ammo.

Wildcat pictured at RAF Lossiemouth (Picture: Royal Navy).

Exercise Terminal Strike was not just a test for the air crew, but also the men and women supporting them, assessing their ability to deploy at short notice.

Engineers carried out maintenance in weather approaching zero degrees and rainy conditions.

With only minimal supporting equipment, the exercise proved the Commando Wildcat's ability to operate in unforgiving environments, the Royal Navy said.

The detachment returned to base in Somerset with two more personnel qualified as airborne Forward Air Controllers and a third re-validated for another 12 months. 

Cover image: Wildcat flying over snowy Scottish peaks (Picture: Royal Navy).