Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton has welcomed home not one but two Lynx Helicopters, as they landed simultaneously after months away on their very different global deployments.
HMS Daring circled the globe, sailing 44,000 miles during a nine-month deployment with Lynx Flight 200 on board and was re tasked mid operation to assist in the Philippines
HMS Westminster Lynx Flight returns from a successful 6 ½ month deployment in the Indian Ocean and Gulf conducting maritime security operations, counter piracy and counter narcotics patrols, covering 36,500 nautical miles.
As Flight Commander Joe Harper brings Daring’s Lynx in to land it marks his last operational flight after 38 years in the Royal Navy, clocking up 6500 flying hours.
Lieutenant Commander (Lt Cdr) Harper will now bid fond farewell to The Royal Navy. He said “It’s been a fantastic way to bring to a close my 38 year career.
“We were exercising in the South China Sea when she was re-tasked to the Philippines. Once we received our tasking the plan was immediately drawn together and the aircraft prepared for what was going to be an extremely busy period.
“It was a devastating situation but a thoroughly rewarding experience for the whole ship’s company.”
Since in May last year Daring has visited 21 different ports, crossed the Atlantic Ocean, supported anti-piracy operations in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Aden and tracked ballistic targets during trials in the Pacific Ocean.
When Daring headed west it was to a place no Type 45 had been before – the Panama Canal.
Daring saw successful science and technology trials in the Pacific Ocean with the US Navy, and made for Australasia to exercise with an international fleet of 18 warships from 12 nations.
She joined ships from around the world in Sydney Harbour to celebrate the Royal Australian Navy’s 100th birthday, one of around 40 warships from 17 countries, gathered for a spectacular International Fleet Review and the Lynx was involved in the 27 helicopter flypast.
The Flight Pilot Hamish Walker said “The airborne view of Sydney Harbour and the iconic bridge was truly fantastic but being surrounded by other aircraft and trying to remain in formation didn’t allow me to fully appreciate it.”
After her relief efforts in the Philippines Daring continued east for more joint exercises with the Japanese Navy and in the East China Sea with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (Navy).
HMS Westminster during her maritime security patrols boarded or visited 348 traditional sailing vessels, promoting security and reassuring the maritime community.
Now home, both Lynx teams are looking forward to catching up with family and friends, having a well deserved break.
After 38 years in the Royal Navy accumulating 6500 flying hours, no one has earned it more than Lt Cdr Joe Harper!
Press Release, March 3, 2014; Image: Royal Navy