NAVAL aviators aboard Portsmouth-based HMS Liverpool during the war in Libya have been honoured by the navy for their starring role in the conflict.
Lynx 217 Flight has been awarded the Fleet Air Arm Osprey trophy for its part in the missions to topple Colonel Gaddafi last year.
Liverpool’s helicopter came under fire from the regime’s guns and, although the aircraft was not hit, it was badly shaken by the force of shells exploding.
The aviators were instrumental in calling in fire from Liverpool’s main 4.5-inch gun and scoured the area for small boats laying mines in the approaches to the besieged port of Misrata.
The Lynx was airborne for more than 270 hours during the war thanks to the efforts of a seven-strong band of maintainers, pilot Lieutenant Alistair Crawford and his commander and flight observer, Lieutenant Phil Barron.
‘It was a brilliant team effort,’ said Lt Crawford, adding: ‘The Fleet Air Arm is often at the forefront of operations that have a maritime dimension.
‘HMS Liverpool’s role was key to many of the successes in the allied operations. It is vital that helicopter operations are an integrated part of the ship and our flight was involved in the thick of it.’