united kingdom 820 squadron

Fleet Air Arm
820 NAS :

1933 to present    


820 squadron
Originally formed from 450 Flight in Apr 1933 as a Fleet Spotter unit but it became an Anti-Submarine unit during WWII when it served with distinction, disbanding in Mar 1946. Further commissions came and went and it disbanded once again in Dec 1957, bringing its history as a fixed-wing unit to a close.

820 Squadron was the second anti-submarine helicopter unit to form in Jan 1958 with the Whirlwind HAS.7 at RNAS Eglinton. The first HAS.7s experienced a series of engine problems and whilst in the Far East, engines were swapped over. The unit disbanded at Sembawang on 8 May 1959, when the HAS.7 was grounded. Once HAS.7 operations were resumed, it reformed in the UK at RNAS Culdrose in Nov 1959, still with Whirwind HAS.7s, where it disbanded again in Oct 1960. It re-emerged with Wessex HAS.1 at Culdrose in Sep 1964 and deployed in Dec 1964 to the Far East via the Indian Ocean on HMS Eagle (R05), finally returning in Jun 1968.

During May 1969, the Wessex HAS.1 was phased out for 4 of the more capable Wessex HAS.3, which deployed with HMS Blake (C99) and the occasional Fleet Tanker auxiliary over the next few years. In Dec 1972, the Sea King HAS.1 replaced the Wessex in the anti-submarine role and spent Sep 1974 to Jun 1975 embarked on HMS Blake. These in turn were updated by the Sea King HAS.2 in Jan 1977 and the short-lived HAS.2A in Jan 1979, prior to transferring to HMS Hermes (R12) in Jan 1980.

It disembarked from HMS Hermes (R12) to RNAS Culdrose in Mar 1980 and replaced the HAS.2As with the Sea King HAS.5 in Nov 1980 in time to work up with HMS Invincible (R05), embarking in Feb 1981. The Squadron was involved in intensive flying in the South Atlantic, operating briefly from San Carlos during Jun 1982. After a brief Far East tour, the unit returned to the UK in Mar 1984 when HMS Invincible developed mechanical difficulties.

Further deployments followed, including the transfer to HMS Ark Royal (R07) during early 1986 for later deployments to the Far East and Australia. On 10 Jan 1991, it embarked HMS Ark Royal with 10 Sea Kings to patrol the Mediterranean gateway to the Suez Canal during the Gulf War. The unit was a key player during 1993 in the NATO intervention in Bosnia and then transferred to HMS Illustrious (R06) in Autumn 1994, followed by service in the Gulf during late 1998. The Merlin HM.1 was cautiously introduced as a single Flight from Sep 2001 and dual operation with the Sea King HAS.6 continued until Mar 2003 when the Sea King was finally retired after recovering embarked flights (such as RFA Fort Austin), leaving 820 Squadron to become a Merlin only unit, officially from Sep 2003.

During the 2014 Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, embarked 3 Merlin HM.2 in Oct, on RFA Argus and departed Falmouth for Sierra Leone.

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News about this Rotary Wing Unit :

Royal Navy Merlin Deliver Aid in Fight Against Ebola, 26-Nov-14 : The fliers of 820 Naval Air Squadron stepped in to fly urgent supplies in for the UN’s World Food Programme in the ongoing international effort to stem the tide of the disease.

Royal Navy Merlin Mk2 in Exercise Deep Blue, 16-Jun-14 : Exercise Deep Blue is a high tempo, multi-aircraft exercise, putting the Merlin Mk2 through its paces operating from sea and conducting anti-submarine warfare.

Locations of this unit:

1965/66SG SembawangWSAG
1964/nowRNAS CuldroseEGDR
1959/60RNAS CuldroseEGDR
1958/59SG SembawangWSAG
1958Eglinton / LondonderryEGAE
1958MT Hal Far

Models served in this unit: Login to Edit    

2013/now eh.101     Merlin HM.2
2003/13 eh.101     Merlin HM.1
1989/03 sea king     Sea King HAS.6
1980/90 sea king     Sea King HAS.5
1977/80 sea king     Sea King HAS.2
1972/77 sea king     Sea King HAS.1
1969/72 wessex     Wessex HAS.3
1964/69 wessex     Wessex HAS.1
1957/60 whirlwind     Whirlwind HAS.7

Construction Numbers found for 820Sq Help Us    

C/NVersionBuiltIn this OrganisationIn other Org
    wa157 has7 1957     XK910 : 845Sq/A by Sep 1957 to Jan 1958, 820Sq/320/W by Jan 1958 to c Jun 1958, Ha+
    wa 8 has.1 1959     XM327 : HAS.3 819 Sq/531 by May 1968; 820Sq/411-BL by Feb 1972 still Jun 1972; 73+
Westland XM327 : HAS.1 Westland development & trials airframe from late 1959, conv HAS.3 be+
    wa 14 has.1 1960     XM833 : 814Sq/272-V by Jul 1968, 814Sq/272-H by 1969, 820Sq/412-BL by May 1969 sti+
    wa 18 has.1 1961     XM837 : Now HAS.3, 814Sq/271-V by Oct 1967, 814Sq/271-H by May 1968, 820Sq/411-BL +
Ministry of Defence (MoD) XM837 : spent winter of 1960/61 in Churchill, Canada with A&AEE for icing / cold w+
Westland XM837 : Westland trials and evaluation airframe until very early in 1966, when it +
    wa 19 has.1 1961     XM838 : 737 Sq/520-PO by Sep 1968 still 1969. 820Sq/412-BL by Aug 1971 still Jun 1+
    wa 25 has.1 1961     XM844 : to Westland for HAS.3 conversion 1965 completed by 1967. 737Sq/535-PO by +
    wa 30 has.1 1961     XM871 : As HAS.3, 820Sq/410-BL by Aug 1971 until at least Sep 1972, Engadine Flt/4+
    wa 55 has.1 1962     XP104 : 820Sq/412-BL by Apr 1969, 820Sq/410-BL by Sep 1969 still Aug 1971, w/o 6 J+
    wa 92 has.1 1962     XP159 : 820Sq/297-E by Nov 1964, 814Sq/341-V by Apr 1965, 814Sq/270-V by Jul 1966,+
    wa 99 has.1 1963     XS120 : 1965/67 pictured as /66-E with 820Squadron
    wa100 has.1 1963     XS121 : HAS.1 A&AEE by Aug 1964, 820Sq/295-E by Nov 1964, ditched in Malacca Strai+
    wa101 has.1 1963     XS122 : 820Sq/290-E by Jul 1965, 820Sq/060-E by 1966, to Yeovil for conv to HAS.3 +
    wa102 has.1 1963     XS123 : 820Sqn Wessex HAS.1 as /291-E ditched and sank in the Malacca Strait, whi+
    wa103 has.1 1963     XS124 : Jan65 pictured as 820Squadron /297-E after disembarked in Sembewang during+
    wa104 has.1 1963     XS125 : Dec64 as 820Squadron /293-E departed on HMS Eagle tour to the far east
    wa105 has.1 1963     XS126 : 820Sq/294-E by Nov 1964, 815 Sq/056 by Aug 1966, to Yeovil for conv to HAS+
    wa249 has.1 1965     XS869 : 1967 820Sqn /64 FAA aboard HMS Eagle (R05) ditched into sea, recovered to +
    wa 631 has.1 1969     XV643 : HAS.1 f/f 10jun69, d/d 29oct73; conv to HAS.2A; then to HAS.5; and finall+
    : HAS.5, 820Sq/015-R by Jun 1986, 820Sq/009-R by 1988, 814Sq/265-N by May 19+
Her Majestys Government XV643 : f/f 10 Jun 1969, HAS.1 A&AEE Boscombe Down by Aug 1969
: G.I. BDRF DARA St. Athan /262 by Aug 2002 still 2003 still Jan 2005, BDRF/+
    wa 635 has.1 1969     XV647 : ff 06 Sep1969, dd 26 Sep 1969 to RN as HAS.1 700Sq(S) Sq/585-CU 1969, 706S+
    wa 642 has.1 1969     XV654 : f/f 9 Dec 1969; d/d 5 Jan 1970 as HAS.1; 706Sq/593-CU by Sep 1977; Conv to+
    : 18-22mar88 type:HAS.5 820Sqn./R-018 embarked HMS Ark Royal R07.
Ministry of Defence (MoD) XV654 : MoD; 08jun91 type:HAS.6 NARO./R-018 ex 820Sqn.
    wa 646 has.1 1970     XV658 : Conv to HAS.5. 706Sq/596 by Sep 1982, 820Sq/016-N by Dec 1982. Ditched in +
    wa 651 has.1 1970     XV663 : RN; 08jun91 type:HAS.6 NARO./R-015 ex 820Sqn.
    wa 653 has.1 1970     XV665 : f/f 17 Jun 1970, d/d 2 Jul 1970 to RN as HAS.1 826Sq/143-E by 1971; Conv t+
    wa 662 has.1 1970     XV674 : conv to HAS.6 type; 2000 820Sqn /L-015; 2001 still
    : 820Sq/015-L by 2003; To HMS Sultan /015 by Mar 2005; sold to RAN Nov 200+
    wa 667 has.1 1971     XV696 : HAS.1 820Sq/411-BL by Dec 1972 still Sep 1973 still Feb 1977
    wa 671 has.1 1971     XV700 : 18-22mar88 type:HAS.5 820Sqn./R-011 embarked HMS Ark Royal R07.
    wa 674 has.1 1971     XV703 : RN HAS.1 f/f 14jun71, d/d 03aug71; 1976 824Sq/050-R recovered the rotorles+
Vector Aerospace XV703 : Oct06 Vector Aerospace
    wa 677 has.1 1971     XV706 : 28Sep99 type:HAS.6 820Sqn./L-011 embarked aboard HMS Illustrious R06.
    wa 839 has.2 1976     XZ571 : 28Sep99 820Sqn./L-016 embarked aboard HMS Illustrious (R06)
    : 2000 type:HAS.6 820Sqn./L-016; 2001 still
    : Conv. to HAS.6 820Sq/016-L by 2003; stored HMS Sultan by Dec 2004; Sold t+
    wa 842 has.2 1976     XZ574 : RN; 1998 type:HAS.6 820Sqn./L-015 embarked aboard HMS Illustrious R06.
    : 28Sep99 type:HAS.6 820Sqn./L-015 embarked aboard HMS Illustrious R06.
    wa 877 has.5 1979     XZ917 : 06Mar81 coded N.016 of 820Squadron, HMS Invincible collided with XZ915 whi+
    wa 878 has.5 1979     XZ918 : ff 3 Apr 1979, dd 6 Jun 1979, HAS.5 820Sq/020-N by Jan 1985, ditched in Me+
    : 28Oct82 noted RNAS Culdrose as N.020 of 820Squadron, HMS Invincible; 07Jun+
Royal Australian Navy N16-918 : dd 25 Jun 1996 to RAN as N16-918. Purchased as replacement for N16-124 and+
: Nickname Desmond....(22)
    wa 881 has.5 1979     XZ921 : 28Oct82 noted RNAS Culdrose coded N.017 of 820Squadron, HMS Invincible; 26+
    wa 888 has.5 1980     ZA127 : 820Sq/361-N by Dec 1980, 820Sq/011-N by Feb 1982, 810Sq/511 by 1986, 810Sq+
    wa 889 has.5 1980     ZA128 : 28Sep99 820Sqn./010 embarked aboard HMS Illustrious R06.
    wa 894 has.5 1981     ZA133 : RN HAS.5, f/f 03apr81, d/d 14may81; 824Sq B Flt Arthur SeaSearcher trials +
    : 28Sep99 type:HAS.6 820Sqn./L-013 embarked aboard HMS Illustrious (R06)
    wa 939 has.5 1984     ZD630 : 28sep99 type:HAS.6 820Sqn./012 embarked aboard HMS Illustrious R06.
    : 2001 type:HAS.6 820Sqn./N-012
    wa 940 has.5 1984     ZD631 : 18-22mar88 type:HAS.5 820Sqn./R-019 embarked HMS Ark Royal R07.
    wa 942 has.5 1984     ZD633 : 28Sep99 HAS.6 type 820Sqn /L-014 aboard HMS Illustrious (R06) at Amsterda+
    50037 hm.1     ZH827 : conv to HM.2 type MCSP20; Jul14 820Sq (0)15
    50040 hm.1 1998     ZH828 : RN from 1999 50040/RN08 in 2004 /CU-013 820Sqn. ; 2006 /CU-013 820Sqn. ; O+
    50053 hm.1 1999     ZH831 : RN 50053/RN11; ff 04 Feb 1999; dd 11 Mar 1999, to CU; 700Sq(M)Sq /541 by+
    : 2007 820Sqn /14 ; 2008 814Sqn /14 ; 2009 814Sqn /11
QinetiQ ZH831 : Sep14, AEW prototype, fitted with dual Crowsnest ASaC sensors from the Loc+
    50085 hm.1     ZH840 : conv HM.2 type MCSP19; Aug14 820Sq /(0)14
    50087 hm.1 1999     ZH841 : RN 50087/RN21; 824Sqn; 2004 820Sqn /CU-012; 2011 829Sqn /502
    50125 hm.1 2000     ZH850 : 17oct14 820Sqn /80 embarked RFA Argus for Sierra Leone
    50127 hm.1     ZH851 : 50127/RN31; 19jul11 pictured as /13 of 820Sqn at RNAS Culdrose
    50147 hm.1     ZH856 : conv HM.2 type MCSP16; Feb14 820Sq /(0)13
    50164 hm.1     ZH860 : conv HM.2 type MCSP27; Sep14 820Sq /(0)16
    50171 hm.1     ZH862 : RN 50171/RN42; 2003 824Sqn ; 2004 820Sqn /CU-010
    50179 hm.1     ZH864 : RN 50179/RN44.; 2003 824Sqn.; 2004 820Sqn./CU-011
    : 19jul11 pictured as 820Sqn /17 being towed at RNAS Culdrose
    : May12 as 820Sqd /17 at RNAS Yeovilton
    : conv HM.2 type MCSP14; Sep14 820Sq /(0)12
    50 C/N found for 820Sq

Participated in operations :

17-oct-142015 Operation Gritrock
20062006 Operation Vela (Green Eagle)
15-jan-0328-may-03 Operation Telic
07-may-0015-jun-00 Operation Palliser
27-sep-8804-oct-88 Fleet Review: Australia Bi-centennial Naval Salute
02-apr-8217-jun-82 Operation Corporate
25-jun-7728-jun-77 Fleet Review: Silver Jubilee of HM The Queen
28-jul-6928-jul-69 Fleet Review: Ships of the Western Fleet

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