Portsmouth ship’s new addition goes on the prowl

The Wildcat helicopter in action

The Wildcat helicopter in action

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SLEEK and dark, she lurks beneath the surface of the sea, stalking her prey.

HMS Dragon sits in the background, while the submarine, which has not been identified for security reasons, shadows the ship.

The newest helicopter in the Royal Navys arsenal came through its toughest test yet as it spent a fortnight taking part in Europes biggest naval war games.

Wildcat  which will provide the aerial eyes and punch of the Royal Navys frigates and destroyers for the next quarter of a century  joined HMS Dragon on Exercise Joint Warrior.


Submarine (unidentified for security reasons) shadowing Dragon, as seen from the Wildcat.

It is the first time the helicopter  normally based at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset with 700W Naval Air Squadron  has spent such a concerted time at sea, and the first time it has taken part in the exercise aboard a ship.

From next year, Wildcat will start to replace the Lynx as the mainstay of aerial operations by the Royal Navys Type 23 frigates and Type 45 destroyers, superseding a helicopter which in various variants has served the Fleet Air Arm with distinction for 40 years.
Although it looks similar to its predecessor, Wildcat is a different aircraft, from the way it handles, t
The newest helicopter in the Royal Navys arsenal came through its toughest test yet as it spent a fortnight taking part in Europes biggest naval war games. Wildcat  which will provide the aerial eyes and punch of the Royal Navys frigates and destroyers for the next quarter of a century  joined HMS Dragon on Exercise Joint Warrior. Submarine (unidentified for security reasons) shadowing Dragon, as seen from the Wildcat. It is the first time the helicopter  normally based at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset with 700W Naval Air Squadron  has spent such a concerted time at sea, and the first time it has taken part in the exercise aboard a ship. From next year, Wildcat will start to replace the Lynx as the mainstay of aerial operations by the Royal Navys Type 23 frigates and Type 45 destroyers, superseding a helicopter which in various variants has served the Fleet Air Arm with distinction for 40 years. Although it looks similar to its predecessor, Wildcat is a different aircraft, from the way it handles, t

It’s all part of one of the navy’s biggest exercises, Exercise Joint Warrior, which takes place every two years off the coast of Scotland.

For the sailors on board Portsmouth-based HMS Dragon one of the toughest challenges was given to the crew of their embarked helicopter.

The Wildcat is the newest helicopter in the Royal Navy’s arsenal, and provides the aerial eyes for the ship.

From next year, the Wildcat will replace the Lynx helicopter as the mainstay of aerial operations by the navy’s Type 23 frigates and Type 45 destroyers.

But for now, one of them has joined the crew of Dragon to take part in naval war games.

Captain Iain Lower, the commanding officer of HMS Dragon, said: ‘This year has already been another of many firsts for Dragon, and we were delighted to assist in this way to bring on the capability of this aircraft.

‘It was fantastic for all of my sailors to work with the Wildcat team and to have the aircraft aboard a Type 45 for such a long period.

‘A brand new aircraft on the navy’s newest warship is more evidence of the exciting future ahead of us.’

Although it looks similar to its predecessor, the Wildcat is a different aircraft.

The helicopter’s time on board HMS Dragon is the first time that type of aircraft has spent such a lengthy time at sea, and is the first time it has taken part in an exercise on board a ship.

Wildcat is expected to be declared operational in 2015, and is due to deploy for the first time in May next year.

Lieutenant Dave Neyland, the Wildcat pilot on board HMS Dragon, said: ‘On this deployment, our focus was working on tactical development. The chance to be at sea with so many other ships and submarines, from across the world, was not one to be missed.’

HMS Dragon will soon pay a high profile visit to her twin city of Cardiff, where her sailors will receive the freedom of the city.

The destroyer will then deploy again in October, less than a year after returning from her last operational tour.

As reported in The News, HMS Dragon deployed to the Gulf to carry out maritime security operations there.

 

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