Military Affiliations

820 NAVAL AIR SQUADRON (820 NAS)

Background

In 2015, the Broderers embarked on their first affiliation with the Royal Navy in the shape of 849 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) which was part of the Fleet Air Arm. 849 NAS had been an airborne early warning squadron since 1952, flying fixed winged Skyraiders and Gannets from the aircraft carriers until 1978, and airborne early warning Sea King helicopters from 1982 to 2018. Beginning its transition to operating Crowsnest, the Royal Navy’s new airborne early warning system, the Sea King was retired in favour of the Merlin Mk2 helicopter and in April 2020 849 NAS was subsumed as part of 820 NAS and the Broderers are now formally affiliated to 820 NAS.

820 NAS has an impressive pedigree. Originally formed before World War 2, it saw distinguished service during the war, including crippling the Bismark, and numerous operational deployments since including the Falkands in 1982, Bosnia and Sierra Leone. Now dedicated to the new carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, 820 is an integral part of the Carrier Task Group and including the new Airborne Surveillance and Control capability provided by the Crowsnest helicopter, hitherto of 849 NAS.

Current Squadron News

The new Commanding Officer of 820 NAS Cdr Ian Varley was himself a former pilot in 849, and for the remainder of 2020 all eyes were firmly focussed on the inaugural operational deployment of the Maritime Task Group in spring 2021to be led by HMS Queen Elizabeth. Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 virus, it was a busy year and in the autumn they embarked in Queen Elizabeth for the second time to take part in the largest UK led Task Group exercise for some years, and in December the RN Carrier Strike Reactive Task Force formally won its operational spurs.

As the Task Group deployment approaches 820 remains at high tempo, preparing aircraft, refining tactical skills in the simulator and making sure everything is ready for formal acceptance of the new Airborne Surveillance and Control (ASaC) Merlin Mk2s alongside the Anti-Submarine variant. All their helicopters and most of their personnel will embark for the 7 month deployment, joining UK and US Lightning jets (Harrier replacements), RN Wildcat (Maritime Attack) and “Junglie” (Commando) Merlin helicopters.

Sadly, the restrictions of Covid have meant we have yet to meet 820 at home in person, having had to cancel all our London activities, and it is unlikely we will now be able to visit them at their base in RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall before they deploy. We look forward to making this happen just as soon as we can, and in particular to being able to present them with the ceremonial pennant which was embroidered in fine needlework by Fine Cell Work.

 

Livery Point of Contact

Peter Mosse