The Wildcat squadron has been in Norway since January as part of the annual Exercise Clockwork, with Apache helicopters recently joining.
Exercise Clockwork, run by Commando Helicopter Force (CHF), prepares naval service aviators to support Royal Marines while they operate in cold weather say the Royal Navy.
According to a news release:
“It is the first time the Apaches, of 4 Regiment Army Air Corps’ 656 Squadron, have worked in the region and their six weeks at Bardufoss air station gave 847 NAS the chance to test the capabilities of a class of aircraft they have never worked with before.
Both were put through their paces, learning to operate effectively and safely in the harsh, icy conditions of Norway, where temperatures can reach -30C.”
Pilot Lieutenant Mark Hanson is in Norway for the first time. The 29-year-old said:
“It has been really good out here and thanks to the engineers, we have been able to do lots of flying.
The environmental qualifications see us do mountain flying, snow landings and allows us to get used to the pressures of operating in a cold environment. The weather is a big factor and the first few times flying in the snow is a little disorientating.
“We do prepare in the UK with simulators but there is only so much you can do. A lot of it is learning once you’re out here and in the environment for real. One of the challenges I have found is recirculation when landing because the snow limits visibility. That is why the Aircrewman are invaluable in helping us.”