Airforces - Typhoon school

(Jacob Rumans) #1

NEWS United Kingdom

// APRIL 2018 #

THE ROYAL Navy aircraft
carrier HMS Queen
Elizabeth (R08) arrived
back in Portsmouth on
February 27 after successful
first-of-class rotary-wing
trials in the Atlantic.
The tests involved two

Merlin HM2 and two
Chinook HC5 aircraft and a
team of 56 aircrew, analysts
and engineers from the
Air Test and Evaluation
Centre (ATEC) at MOD
Boscombe Down, Wiltshire.
Chinooks landed on board

the vessel for the first time
on February 2 as the UK’s
future flagship prepared to
sail from Portsmouth. The
Chinook crews included
RAF, Royal Navy and
Royal Marines personnel.
Three days later, 820

Naval Air Squadron (NAS)
became the initial squadron
to embark in the carrier,
with its two Merlins. The
unit’s helicopters have been
working with the ship since
her maiden voyage from
Rosyth last June. This,

however, was the first time
820’s aircraft, equipment
and personnel were all
permanently embarked.
Another two Merlin HM2s
provided force protection.
According to a navy press
release: “A thousand deck
landings were carried
out in a range of sea and
weather conditions, with
the specially equipped
helicopters gathering data
to identify the operating
limits of the aircraft from the
carrier at sea. Both aircraft
types flew an average of ten
hours a day.” The Chinooks
recorded 450 deck landings
and the Merlins 540.
Data from the tests will
be used to produce Ship
Helicopter Operating Limits
(SHOL) information for
types including the Merlin
Mk2, 3 and 4, Chinook,
Apache and Wildcat.
The warship’s Commander
Air, Cdr Mark Deller added:
“We have been operating
on the likely limits that this
ship will operate to and
therefore have seen most of
the weather conditions that
we are likely to be exposed
to. The ship has held up
well, the deck is good and
consequently the aircraft
have behaved themselves,
so all good news.”

First T-6C Texan IIs arrive at Valley

THE FIRST two new T-6C
advanced turboprop
trainers touched down
at RAF Valley, Wales on
February 16. The Texan
IIs are part of a planned
fleet of ten that will provide
tuition for fixed-wing Royal
Air Force and Royal Navy
pilots from next year.
The T-6Cs were ordered
as part of the UK Military
Flight Training System
(UKMFTS) private finance
initiative, a partnership
between the UK Ministry of
Defence (MOD) and Ascent
Flight Training Ltd. Affinity
Flying Services Limited – a
50:50 joint venture of Elbit
Systems UK and Kellogg
Brown and Root Limited –
received a £500m contract
from Ascent in February
2016 to provide and
maintain the aircraft. The
initial example for the RAF
first flew on May 28 last
year (see First T-6 for RAF
takes flight, July 2017, p8).
Group Captain Nick
Tucker-Lowe, RAF Valley
Station Commander, said:
“Today marks the arrival
of the first Texan aircraft

which will enhance the
MOD’s basic flying training
provision for the next
generation of RAF and

Royal Navy fighter pilots
from 2019 onwards. I
am delighted that RAF
Valley will be the home of

basic flying training and
that the Texan fleet will
offer our trainee fighter
pilots a first-class lead-

in aircraft to prepare them
for their advanced jet
training on our existing
fleet of Hawk T2 aircraft.”

Above: RAF T-6C ZM326 ‘326’ (N2770B) arrived at Edinburgh Airport together with ZM325 (N2843B) on February 15. The
aircraft had fl own there from Kefl avík International Airport and continued the next day to RAF Valley. Chris Melaisi

HMS Queen Elizabeth completes initial rotary-wing trials

Merlin HM2s from 820 NAS and MOD Boscombe Down land on HMS ‘Queen Elizabeth’ to carry out fl ying trials. In the
foreground is ZH826, which previously conducted fi rst-of-type performance trials aboard HMS ‘Illustrious’ in 2012. Crown Copyright
Free download pdf