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  • united kingdom Royal Air Force


    As a result of the Smuts reports of Jun and Oct 1917 which reviewed the future of air fighting arrangments, the Air Force (Constitution) Act of Nov 1917 created the Royal Air Force by amalgamating the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service on 1 Apr 1918. It was an unpopular decision, but driven through against almost overwhelming opposition, largely by Sir Hugh Trenchard and a small group of ex-Army officers. A period of contraction occurred after World War I, followed by an expansion programme from 1934. Then in May 1939, the units of the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Air Force were returned to Royal Navy control.
    The RAF was active in many types of flying but the first steps with rotary wing machines, initially in 1926 with the assessment of the Cierva C8 at Farnborough, were followed in 1934 by the introduction of Cierva C30A autogyros, for Army Co-operation purposes but found a later role as a means of calibrating the ground breaking new radar equipment used in the various Chain Home family of systems. These were followed by the Cierva C.40 (aka Rota II) and then the first true helicopter as the Hoverfly R-4 in 1945 and the introduction to service of the Sycamore and Dragonfly by the end of 1953. On 1 Sep 1957, the RAF relinquished its Air Observation Post (AOP) Squadrons and Light Liaison Flights to the newly formed Army Air Corps.
    Since 1 Oct 1999, when Joint Helicopter Command was formed, the RAF has committed 7, 18, 27, 33 & 230 Squadrons with their Chinook, Puma and (from 2002), 28(AC) Squadron with its Merlin helicopters to this tri-service organisation.
    With effect from Nov 2007 78 Sqn was re formed at RAF Benson to fly the Merlin HC3A.  The RAF brought these six Merlins from the Danish Air Force to boster the Support Helicopter Force.
    Following an outcome of the 2010 Defence SDSR, 78 Sq (Joint Helicopter Command) passed its Merlins in Sep 2014 to 846 NAS as part of the fleet transfer to the Commando Helicopter Force.

    Model Types

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      B CH-47F Block II2023
      AW AW109SP GrandNew2015
      B CH-47F Chinook2014
      B Chinook HC.42012
      EC Puma Mk2 242012
      SNIA AS350 Ecureuil 12010
      Agusta A109E Power22009??
      AW EH101 Mk.512620072015
      AW AW109E Power320062016
      AW Merlin HC.32220012015
      EC AS350BB Ecureuil2619972018
      Bell 412 151996
      SNIA AS355 ecureuil 2319932006
      B 414 - H-47D Chinook 491993
      B-V CH-47C Chinook 4219801995
      Westland Sea King 2519782016
      SNIA SA341D Gazelle HT.33019731997
      SNIA SA330 Puma 5519712012
      Westland Wessex HCC.4219691998
      Westland Sioux1519661982
      Westland Wessex7719632003
      Bristol Type 192 Belvedere 2619601969
      Westland Whirlwind13519551981
      Bristol Type 171 Sycamore9319531972
      Westland dragonfly1619531958
      Westland Dragonfly HC.41219521958
      Westland Dragonfly HC.2419501954
      Pitcairn PA-3951942??
      Cierva C.401938??
      Cierva C.302519341945

    Bases and Locations

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    Base / HeliportUnits on this Location
       MY Butterworth66 Squadron
       ML Gao1310 Flt 2018/   
       MY Kuching66 Squadron
       CY RAF Akrotiri84 Squadron 1972/   
       RAF Benson28 Squadron 2001/   
    33 Squadron 1997/   
    22 Squadron 2020/   
    230 Squadron 2009/   
    606 (Chiltern) Squadron, RAuxAF 1996/   
    PCOCU 2015/   
       RAF Cosford1 SoTT 1993/   
       RAF Northolt32 (The Royal) Squadron 1969/   
       RAF Odiham7 Squadron 1982/   
    18 Squadron 1997/   
    27 Squadron 1993/   
    Joint Helicopter Support Unit (JHSU) 1982/   
       RAF Shawbury60(R) Squadron 1997/   
       RAF Valley202 Squadron 2016/   
    SARTU 1962/   
       Thorney Island202 Squadron

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