Lynx Defender returned home to Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton following a nine-month deployment to the Middle East.
During their 263 days away from the UK, 239 Lynx Flight from 815 Naval Air Squadron home base Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton, Somerset has been deployed in HMS Defender and their families waited to welcome them home.
Commanding Officer of 815 NAS Commander (Cdr) Phil Richardson welcomed home his Flight and said; “These are magic moments, it’s an amazing afternoon here at 815 with 239 Flight coming back from 9 months away in HMS Defender, they’ve had a fantastic deployment and it’s wonderful to welcome them home safe today, they have done a great job.”
The Type 45 Destroyer with Lynx flight embarked has visited 19 ports in 11 countries, participated in two major international maritime exercises, represented the UK at the International Indian Fleet review, and conducted numerous boarding operations, one of which resulted in a major drugs bust street value estimated at £5.6 million!
On transit home the Type 45 destroyer intercepted a suspect fishing dhow off the south coast of Oman.
Defender was tasked to search for a suspect Dhow believed to be carrying illegal narcotics.
After two days of intensive search and boarding operations, with assistance from US Maritime Patrol Aircraft, the Dhow was eventually located.
With support from the Lynx Helicopter the dhow was secured by a Royal Marines boarding team.
After a lengthy boarding and detailed search the Dhow was found to be carrying over a tonne of hashish being trafficked across the Indian Ocean and destined for the European market.
Flight Commander Lieutenant (Lt) Hamish Walker said; “It’s been a fantastically productive deployment over 9 months and the drug interception on the way home was the icing on the cake!”
The ship has travelled 47,538 nautical miles, the equivalent of going more than twice around the world.
To cover this distance, she has used 10,551,000 litres of fuel, enough to fill 4.2 Olympic-size swimming pools.
It is not just the ship that requires fuelling, during the deployment the 248 sailors on board have consumed 75,600 eggs, 19,000 kg of potatoes, or the equivalent of 16 mini Coopers, and 54,720 sausages weighing 3420 kg, which would cover three miles if laid end to end.