03/08/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/08/2019 09:59
At the ranges we've been operating the M3M weapons system, qualifying our weapons operators in their annual competencyPetty Officer Aircrewman Paul Iche
The Wildcat used its capability as a battlefield reconnaissance helicopter to clear landing sites, making way for the Norwegians' twin-engine utility warbird to deliver troops to the frontline or extract them.
While supporting the Norwegian aircraft, the Wildcat provided crucial air support, communicating closely with embedded units from the United States Marine Corps, to guarantee ground units had sufficient cover.
Alongside the Royal Marines, the Wildcat trained with 30 Commando XI's Surveillance and Reconnaissance Squadron, while work alongside the Apache of 656 Squadron also proved highly fruitful.
Together the two helicopters are becoming a deadly duo, with Wildcat finding targets using its reconnaissance abilities and Apache destroying it.
Before taking the fight into the cold, the Wildcat crews first undertook qualifications to be able to operate in the Arctic freeze.
That was made up of ten sorties, including mountain flying, snow landings by day, night and using night vision goggles.
On top of that, the Wildcat flew in tactical formation and trained in underslung loads.
For some of the aircrew, this was their first time operating overseas and the difficult conditions of Norway proved challenging.
Lieutenant Mark Hanson, said: 'Conducting snow landings at night using night vision goggles in a formation pair after a day of heavy snow proved to be challenging and a steep learning curve but, at the same time, was very rewarding.'
Completion of this phase was a significant achievement and meant the squadron could now operate in the Arctic effectively.