A Fleet Air Arm Lynx has flown across the Atlantic to support the war on drugs in the Caribbean.
Admittedly, it was in the back of a C17 transporter. Had it tried to make it on its own, the little helicopter would have run out of fuel about 120 miles off Land’s End…
The Mk8 from 815 Naval Air Squadron spent 11 hours in the back of the giant Boeing jet before being offloaded at NAS Mayport in Florida ready for a seven-month deployment.
The Yeovilton-based helicopter will spend the summer and autumn in the Caribbean using tanker RFA Wave Ruler as her launchpad.
There she’s taking the fight to drug-runners and will also be on hand, as will the tanker’s ship’s company, should natural disaster strike the many islands in the region during hurricane season.
A 12-man team – including two Royal Marine snipers, aircrew, maintainers and controller – has deployed with the helicopter to form 206 Flight.
Once embarked on the fleet tanker, the first task was to get through Directed Continuation Training provided by a mobile FOST team who travel the globe to ensure ships on deployment are ready for any eventuality.
As well as the standard fire and flood exercises, the Rulers were tested on their ability to cope with a natural disaster, with the US naval air station providing the disaster zone.
The Lynx was used extensively to transfer personnel from ship to shore, carry out aerial surveys and carry stores and medical supplies, slung beneath the fuselage.
“It was a demanding and challenging exercise, but it also highlights the essential support that the RN, RFA and Fleet Air Arm can provide to hurricane-stricken communities,”
said pilot Lt Adam Rudkin.
206 Flight’s home for the next seven months is deployed as Britain’s Atlantic Patrol Ship (North) with a dual role to support the international effort to prevent drugs reaching US and Europe from Central and South America and to provide assistance in the event of storms wreaking devastation.
RFA Wave Ruler has a full medical team and sick bay, carries 2,000 emergency relief supply packages and can provide around 100 tonnes of fresh water every day should it be required by a community.
The tanker has recently been in Kingston, Jamaica to show off what she can offer in the event of a disaster, discuss the counter-narcotics mission with local defence forces and appear on local TV (watched apparently by four out of five Jamaicans).
Source: royal-navy , June 20, 2011;