Garvie Island – a rocky outcrop off Cape Wrath at the north-west tip of Scotland – was hit by two practice 500lb Paveways, dropped by US Marine Corps pilots operating from HMS Queen Elizabeth, say the Royal Navy.
— Royal Navy (@RoyalNavy) October 9, 2020
“Directing the runs was 847 Naval Air Squadron, whose Wildcat helicopters provide wide-ranging battlefield support for commandos on the ground. In this case Lieutenant Dom Savage was in a Wildcat acting as the airborne Forward Air Controller, directing the F-35s of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 – operating from the flight deck of the UK’s new carrier, alongside Royal Navy and RAF F-35s of 617 Squadron. Working hand-in-hand with the Wildcat crew was a specialist commando unit, 148 (Meiktila) Battery Royal Artillery, who ‘paint’ the target – pointing a laser beam at it.”
According to a Royal Navy release, it played out like this:
Lt Savage: “Avenger 1-1, cleared hot.”
F-35 pilot: “Avenger 1-1, cleared hot.”
F-35 pilot: “Avenger 1-1, one away. Time away: 30 seconds.”
F-35 pilot: “Ten seconds.”
F-35 pilot: “Hulk [call-sign for the 148 Battery Observer], laser on.”
F-35 pilot: “Avenger 1-1, splash.”
Lt Savage: “Observing good effects on target.”
847 is the only helicopter squadron in the UK military’s inventory capable of acting as spotters for ground-based and naval gunfire and calling in air strikes, say the Royal Navy.