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.
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…
I wonder what will happen this time?