Royal Marines have been testing their ability to rescue ‘downed’ pilots from aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, say the Royal Navy.
According to a news release, earlier in the month around 80 Royal Marines from Lima Company of 42 Commando were launched on Merlins from HMS Queen Elizabeth headed for Dartmoor.
Lieutenant Tom Lennon highlighted how important the pilot recovery role is to Carrier Strike Group operations:
“After many years of land-centric campaigns, 845 NAS is getting fully back into the business of specialist amphibious operations,” he said. We occupy a unique position, with a foot firmly in both the maritime and land camps, bringing ship-to-shore air manoeuvre expertise to the UK Carrier Strike Group.”
According to the release:
“The commandos used their search and rescue techniques to track down the stranded pilot in the undergrowth and bring them back to the Merlins and safely to the carrier. The specialists in delivering these Royal Marines in to the thick of the action and quickly and safely extracting them is 845 Naval Air Squadron of CHF and their upgraded Merlin MK4 helicopters.
CHF’s role on the carrier is to act as the wings of the Royal Marines but also in a search and rescue role, in addition to moving personnel and stores around the Carrier Strike Group or forwards on to land.”