820 Naval Air Squadron has returned home to RNAS Culdrose following a six-month deployment on HMS Ocean, which took them through Europe and on to the Middle East.
During her time away, HMS Ocean steamed over 23,000 miles, visited 11 countries and took part in various International exercises with local and NATO countries.
HMS Ocean is a helicopter assault ship and 820’s Merlin helicopter was a potent addition to her arsenal, ready to react to any emerging tasking. For the Squadron, operating from the ‘Fleet’s Flagship’ was seen as a ‘dry run’ ahead of standing up as the first Carrier Squadron for HMS Queen Elizabeth.
With all 140 aircrew and engineers that make up 820 NAS having served on HMS Ocean over the last six-months, the focus now shifts on preparing for Carrier Operations on board the largest ship in Royal Navy history.
Preparations will continue ahead of deploying to Scotland in support of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s sea trials.
Just before the Ship entered her home port of Plymouth’s Devonport dockyard, the 820’s two Merlin Mk2 aircraft ‘hopped’ off as she sailed past the Squadron’s Cornish base.