Royal Navy launches probe after aircraft technician smuggled his girlfriend onto military base

ROYAL Navy top brass have launched a probe after an aircraft technician’s girlfriend was found hiding in a cupboard after he smuggled her onto a military base.

Friday, 22nd January 2021, 1:23 pm

The woman was reportedly caught hiding semi-naked among her boyfriend’s jumpsuits at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset.

The airbase is the home of the Commando helicopter force and its Merlin helicopters, as well as a number of Wildcat helicopters – which are earmarked to join Portsmouth-based aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth when she deploys to the Far East later this year.

The airman is said to have sneaked his lover into the establishment in the boot of his car when he returned from Christmas leave.

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Pictured: 845 NAS depart from RNAS Yeovilton to embark in HMS Queen Elizabeth. Credit: LPhot Dan Rosenbaum FRPU(E)

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The under-fire technician admitted to his superiors the woman – who was born in Indonesia but is a Dutch citizen – is his girlfriend, reports have claimed.

Fears have since been raised the woman could have exposed vital secret information about the airbase and about naval operations including the deployment of HMS Queen Elizabeth.

But the Ministry of Defence denied there was any suggestion of espionage.

HMS Queen Elizabeth embarked two squadrons of F-35B stealth jets: the UK's 617 Sqn and US Marine Corps fighter attack squadron 211. Alongside eight Merlin helicopters, it is the largest air group to operate from a Royal Navy carrier in more than thirty years, and the largest air group of fifth generation fighters at sea anywhere in the world.

A spokesperson for the MoD told Mail Online: 'The Royal Navy takes any breach of security or Covid guidelines extremely seriously.

'We are investigating the incident but the individual is a European national and there is no suspicion of espionage.'

The Sun reported the woman was escorted from the base by armed guards and is said to have left the UK immediately.

Pictured is the formation flypast for the commissioning of HMS Queen Elizabeth at HMNB Portsmouth. Her Majesty the Queen formally commissioned her namesake aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth into the Royal Navy fleet, where a flypast consisting of two Wildcat HMA Mk2, Merlin Mk2, Sea King Mk7 and Merlin Mk3 flew overhead during the service

A navy insider told the paper the ‘unauthorised foreign national on Ministry of Defence property' was 'an astonishing breach' in security.

According to The Sun, the technician, who is serving with 847 Naval Air Squadron, told navy bosses he first met the woman on holiday in 2019.

An investigation has since been launched by the MoD and discussion about the penalty for the technician are ongoing.

The naval base will provide helicopters that will join HMS Queen Elizabeth and her carrier strike group in the summer.

The £3.2bn aircraft carrier is expected to undertake a freedom of navigation mission in the South China Sea during her deployment.

The 65,000-tonne vessel will be escorted by two Type 45 destroyers from Portsmouth, two Type 23 frigates and supported by RFA Fort Victoria and a Tide-class tanker.

A British submarine and American destroyer are also expected to join the task group.

Queen Elizabeth will also embark two squadrons of F-35 stealth jets – one team from the UK and one from the US Marine Corps, as well as nine Merlins Mk2s of the 820 Squadron based at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall.

There will also be an unspecified number of Wildcat helicopters - which are based at Yeovilton.

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