Wildcat helicopters called in repeated strikes from Typhoon jets, Diamond Twin Stars (propeller-driven close air support trainers) and other Wildcats on 150 occasions, assisting troops exercising on the ground, including shooting 10,000 rounds of ammunition, say the Royal Navy.

In a news release, the Royal Navy say that Wildcats from 847 Naval Air Squadron used exercise areas on the Moray Firth to train.

“Among a range of battlefield functions, the squadron’s Wildcats provide close air support either with the M3M .50 heavy machine-gun in the rear of the helicopter – it can deliver 1,100 rounds per minute with devastating effect on enemy forces – or by calling in air strikes. For that it requires a qualified Forward Air Controller (Airborne) – perhaps the most challenging role aircrew train for, as the pilot must coordinate the safety of other helicopters, drones and fast jets, and integrate them with indirect fire, all in close proximity to friendly forces on the ground.

Wildcat over the barren Scottish landscape

A couple of months after guiding F-35 jets from HMS Queen Elizabeth on bombing runs at Garvie Island off Cape Wrath, the squadron flew north from its home at RNAS Yeovilton to RAF Lossiemouth. From there it’s just a short flight across the Moray Firth to RAF Tain, a former air base which now serves one of the few live weapons ranges in the UK – 2,300 acres of land which includes static and moving targets and a mock village for aircraft to attack.”

The detachment subsequently returned to base in Somerset with two more personnel qualified as airborne Forward Air Controllers, and a third re-validated for another 12 months. You can read more on this from the Royal Navy here.

Last time we published a story like this (about the aforementioned bombing runs at Garvie Island off Cape Wrath), I predicted that ‘The National’ would jump at the chance to report that the UK had attacked Scotland. Fast forward a few days…

Newspaper fosters outrage over weapon being dropped on range

I wonder what will happen this time?

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Daniele Mandelli

Twin Stars? “propeller driven CAS trainers”

Last I heard RAF had a pair operated by a contractor over Afghan for cheap ISTAR.

Interesting they are still about?

Barry Larking

‘The Highland Clearances Mk II”?

George Royce

Oh lord, here comes the CyberNats.

Captain P Wash

So, Was it a success ?


Hopefully the bombing of the mock parliment in Edinburgh will be just as successful.


Wonderful photograph, I got quite emotional. Nice to see that the Wldcat is integrating itself into the armed forces. Are they Navy FACs or Army? Did some spotting with binoculars in a Wasp, bit different now I expect.


Mate some pilots and observers are trained and in date for FAC work, while it could be Army/marine JTACS on the airframe. Still use binos mate along with large amount of lithium battery draining kit……lol….binos are so light compared.

The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken

Newspaper? Is that what they are calling it ???? ??????????

Andy P

Nicely played George, cast up your previous trolling of the Nats to trigger posters on here. Hopefully it will all feed off each other nicely for some spleen venting.


Morning Andy. I for one promise to behave if a barney gets started up here considering the time of the year and the need that most of us have for a bit of peace and goodwill after a bloody awful year! btw-don’t theRAF also bomb English villages on the plains of Salisbury?

Andy P

Morning Geoff, I’ll be trying to sit on my hands too, as for the ‘bombing’ of English villages…. no idea, I did think the only bombing ranges were up in Scotland but I might be wrong, I know a lot got shut over the years.

Its the kind of thing that is only going to ‘trigger’ the more foaming on both sides of the argument though.


George are you trying to drag Harold out of his lockdown tissue riddled, Stena Stairlift accessible bedroom? You are naughty…..

john melling

Taunting comrade Harold …OMG that’s so funny 😉


HMS Prince of Wales had an internal leak and it severely damaged the electrical system according to Save the Royal Navy. It won’t be sailing until at least spring now.

John Stott

I was regularly strafed by Harriers and A10’s whilst driving my tractor in fields near RAF Holbeach years ago. This caused the emerging East Anglian freedom movement to disband. So question, is this a policy to discourage the SNP? I will stop there as my mind runs riot with vulgar veteran humour about politicians from certain places.

Andy P

On a cadet camp in the 80’s we had a trip to the range at Holbeach, when the A10”s were coming in for a run the boys in the tower said we should go out to the ‘balcony’ to watch them. Pretty spectacular it was too, you saw the puff of smoke out the front of the plane, the dirt kick up from around the targets then the sonic wave hit the metal rails like a lightning bolt and we all leaped back crapping ourselves. Now if I was a cynical type, I’d say those buggers did it on purpose….… Read more »

John Stott

Yes, they used to show off, sadly it’s very dead now. A decade ago it was really busy and interesting on a daily basis. I emailed 1Sqn and had a reply to the effect that GR7 jocks liked a “moving” target, on replying they were shooting at an ex-rock on a tractor I received an amusing reply about only shooting at John Deere tractors, they left Massy Fergusons alone. I then replied my JD was equipped with Rapier and they left me alone for a few weeks lol!