Wednesday, January 26, 2011

847 NAS ready to make their Mark (9)

THE Jungly Lynx force are back in Afghanistan – this time with a new aircraft.
Since 847 Naval Air Squadron last deployed to Helmand in the winter of 2008-09, it has swapped the Lynx Mk7 for the Mk9 – better suited to the challenging Helmand environment.
It’s got souped-up engines which can cope with ‘hot and high’ – allowing the Lynx force to fly throughout the Afghan summer.
In addition, the new Lynx has been equipped with a larger and more powerful 0.50 calibre machine gun for the door gunner.
As for the mission facing the 50 or so personnel deploying from RNAS Yeovilton, well that’s pretty much as it was during the previous tour of duty in Helmand.
The main task is to ride shotgun for other Allied helicopters in theatre as they re-supply Forward Operating Bases.
The 847 aircrew are also likely to be called upon to conduct reconnaissance, convoy escort, airborne command and control, and fire support with artillery and fast jets.
All of which, of course, requires round-the-clock attention from engineers, technicians and support staff.

The squadron has undergone six months of training with the new Lynx to prepare them for this latest tour of duty, learning how to operate and maintain the Mk9.
Maj Dave Sutton RM of 847 B Flight said that although some of the personnel deploying were Afghan novices, others had “vast experience of operational deployments” and some had spent time on the ground in Afghanistan serving with Commando units.
“We have trained extremely hard for all eventualities and we are confident that we will provide both Coalition and Afghan allies with all that is required of us,” he added.
Already in theatre are substantial elements of the rest of the front-line Commando Helicopter Force, the Jungly Sea Kings of 845 and 846 NAS, also based at Yeovilton.
An 847 door gunner tests the M3M machine-gun on the new Mk9 Lynx
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