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  • united kingdom 78 Squadron

    Royal Air Force

    Part of BFSAI British Forces South Atlantic Islands

    1916 to 2014    


    78 Squadron
    Formed on 1 Nov 1916, 78 Squadron began its rotary wing career on 7 Jun 1965 at Khormaksar in Aden with nine Wessex HC.2 (delivered by RFA Sir Lancelot). It operated in support of British and South Arabian troops in Aden, developing new capabilities including the fitting of bomb racks and grew to operate 14 Wessex (including a SAR flight) by Jul 1967. As the situation deteriorated in Aden, it eventually withdrew in two waves to Sharjah in the UAE; the first 8 Wessex via HMS Fearless between 17 and 23 Oct 1967 and the second by 6 Wessex, on HMS Intrepid on 29 Nov 1967. On arrival, the SAR Flight detached and moved to RAF Muharraq (eventually to become COMSAR Bahrein) and 78 Squadron continued to operate in hot and sandy conditions. These eventually led to the units Wessex being temporarily repatriated singly to the UK by RAF Belfast freighters from Nov 1968 for a full strip down, clean out and re-assembly. Wessex strength had fallen to six airframes by Mar 1971 and the unit disbanded at RAF Sharjah on 21 Dec 1971 as part of Britains withdrawal from the Gulf.
    When 78 Squadron reformed as part of the Falkland Islands Garrison, it amalgamated the Chinook HC.1s from 1310 Flight and the Sea King HAR.3s from 1564 Flight into the new unit.
    It reformed at RAF Stanley in the Falkland Islands on 2 May 1986. 78 Squadron operated Chinook HC.2 and Sea King HAR.3As. Until 2004, the Sea Kings wore an overall grey for Combat SAR and utility missions, since then they reverted to the more usual high visibility yellow paint scheme.
    From Nov 2007, the Squadron was reformed at RAF Benson as part of the Merlin force to fly the Merlin HC3a.
    78 Squadron was reformed at RAF Benson on 3 Dec 2007, from a flight of 28 Squadron (then on detatchment in Iraq) and with the Merlin HC3, which will be supplemented with ex RDAF Merlins from 2008, into a Merlin pool; airframes are to be shared with 28 Squadron. 78 Sq was disbanded on 30 Sep 2014, and its Merlins were handed over to a newly reformed 846 NAS.

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    2007/14RAF BensonEGUB
    1986/07 RAF Mount PleasantEGYP
    1986 Port StanleySFAL
    1967/71AE RAF Sharjah
    1956/67YE Khormaksar / Aden InternationalOYAA


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    2008/14EH101 Mk.512
    2007/14Merlin HC.3
    1995/06414 - H-47D Chinook
    1986/95CH-47C Chinook
    1986/07Sea King

    78 Squadron List of helicopters

    Help Us

    C/NVersionBuiltIn this OrgIn other Org
    wa125 hc.2 1963 XR500 : 9 Oct 1967, visited newly commissioned RFA Stromness, off Aden while opera+
    wa144 hc.2 1964 XR522 : ff 22 Apr 1964, dd 1 May 1964 . 78 Sq/O by 1965, HOCF/BW by Sep 1970, 84 S+
    Uruguayan Air Force 071
    wa150 hc.2 1964 XR528 : RAF Wessex HC2 ff 04nov64, dd 10dec64; 78 Sq/F, /BZ by Sep 1971
    - XR528
    wa285 hu.5 1965 XT463 : RAF; 30 pictured as HC type with 78 Sqn on the ramp at RAF Akrotiri, Cypru+
    : 1990-1993, worked on her, was not 78 Sqn but 84 Sqn
    Royal Navy XT463
    - XT463
    wa531 hc.2 1966 XT604 : ff 7 Jul 1966, dd 2 Aug 1966 to RAF. Wessex HAR.2; Khormaksar SAR Flt Nov +
    - XT604
    wa 865 har.3 1978 XZ599 : pictured (pic2) as /S in grey cammo at Lydd Airport. One of a number of +
    Vector Aerospace XZ599
    M.7007 ch-47d 1980 ZA671 : 78 Sq / J by Aug 1999
    M.7026 ch-47d ZA711 : pictured (pic1) in the hangar at RAF Mount Pleasant with 78 Sq coded A
    M.7013 ch-47d 1981 ZA713 : 78 Sq / EM by Aug 1999
    b-848 ch-47c 1982 ZA717 ET : w/o following gearbox failure in Falklands as 78 Sq /ET; to 9238M Cranwel+
    : pictured (pic1) at RAF Mount Pleasant coded C with 78 Sq a few days before+
    : pictured (pic2) at RAF Mount Pleasant coded C with 78 Sq a hours after cra+
    Boeing Helicopters N37056
    - ZA717
    b-852 ch-47c 1982 ZA721 : RAF Chinook HC1; MA033 dd 08jun82 last Chinook RAF first batch, test seria+
    EP : w/o RAF Mount Pleasant, Falklands crashed during post servicing air tes+
    Boeing Helicopters N37061
    50083 hc.3 2000 ZJ120 : 28/78 Sq/D by Oct09. Part of 1st detachment of RAF Merlin to Afghanistan; +
    Royal Navy ZJ120
    50141 hc.3 2000 ZJ126 : pictured (pic2) with 78 Sq/K markings on std side in the static display a+
    Royal Navy ZJ126
    50169 hc.3 2001 ZJ130 : 28/78 Sq/O by Oct 2009. Part of 1st detachment of RAF Merlin to Afghanista+
    Royal Navy ZJ130
    50089 mk512 2003 ZJ990 : HC.3A type pictured (pic2) as 78 Sqn /AA at RIAT air show
    AgustaWestland UK ZJ990
    Royal Danish Air Force M-501
    Royal Navy ZJ990


    aug-13 Cougar 13
    25-oct-6627-oct-66 Operation Fate

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