united kingdom 78 Squadron

Royal Air Force

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

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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 : FAU d/d jun97; ex RAF XR522; Gate Guardian Grupo 1 FAU at Carrasco air bas+
wa150 hc.2 1964 XR528 : RAF Wessex HC2 ff 04nov64, dd 10dec64; 78 Sq/F, /BZ by Sep 1971
- XR528 : preserved at Moravia, Kinloss, museum by Aug17
: 28aug17 at Morayvia, Kinloss, Scotland for display after renovation
wa285 hu.5 1965 XT463 : RAF; 30mar93 pictured as HC type with 78 Sqn on the ramp at RAF Akrotiri, +
: 1990-1993, worked on her, was not 78 Sqn but 84 Sqn
Royal Navy XT463 : Royal Navy Wessex HU.5 d/d 07sep65; to AEES Gosport for G/I as A2624, 28s+
: dd 7 Sep 1965, 845 Sq/R-B by May 1966; 848 Sq/VS-B by Sep 1974; 707Sq /WZ+
: to Fleetlands by Nov 1982, for conv to HU.5C for RAF
: to AESS Gosport by Oct 1996; to Predannack as /D on 19 Jul 1999, still the+
- XT463 : to Air and Ground aviation, Hixon autumn 2000
wa531 hc.2 1966 XT604 : ff 7 Jul 1966, dd 2 Aug 1966 to RAF. Wessex HAR.2; Khormaksar SAR Flt Nov +
- XT604 : To Air & Ground Aviation (Staffordshire). Acquired by M Lindsey 2002 a+
: preserved at East Midlands Aeropark
wa 865 har.3 1978 XZ599 : 26apr91 pictured (pic2) as /S in grey cammo at Lydd Airport. One of a num+
Vector Aerospace XZ599 : Vector Aerospace at Fleetlands, noted 01dec15; Stripped of all usable pa+
M.7007 ch-47d 1980 ZA671 : 78 Sq / J by Aug 1999
M.7013 ch-47d 1981 ZA713 : 78 Sq / EM by Aug 1999
b-848 ch-47c 1982 ZA717 : Fleetlands by Mar 1982; 18 Sq/BK May 1982; Chin Det until Mar 1983; 1310+
Boeing Helicopters N37056 : Boeing Vertol toward ZA717
- ZA717 : Feb18 fuselage acquired by the Newark Air Museum
b-852 ch-47c 1982 ZA721 : RAF Chinook HC1; MA033 dd 08jun82 last Chinook RAF first batch, test seria+
Boeing Helicopters N37061 : Boeing Vertol toward ZA721
50083 hc.3 2000 ZJ120 : 28/78 Sq/D by Oct09. Part of 1st detachment of RAF Merlin to Afghanistan; +
Royal Navy ZJ120 : RN /D HC.4 type asg 845Sq by Jul18, pictured (pic2)
50141 hc.3 2000 ZJ126 : 31Jul14 pictured (pic2) with 78 Sq/K markings on std side in the static di+
Royal Navy ZJ126 : Apr15 HC.3i type asg 846Sqn
: 10sep17 pictured under heavy rain on ferry stop at San Sebastian, Spain i+
: 22mar18 23:45hs callsign REN5 flying round Braintree Essex at 500 foot
: 13Jul19, in the static display at RNAS Yeovilton 2019
50169 hc.3 2001 ZJ130 : 28/78 Sq/O by Oct 2009. Part of 1st detachment of RAF Merlin to Afghanista+
Royal Navy ZJ130 : 02jul16 pictured (pic2) as 846Sq /O at RNAS Yeovilton during Air Day 2016
: 13Jul19 as /O in the Commando Assault finale at RNAS Yeovilton 2019
50089 mk512 2003 ZJ990 : 08jul12 HC.3A type pictured (pic2) as 78 Sqn /AA at RIAT air show
AgustaWestland UK ZJ990 : AW pre-delivery serial for military class tests
Royal Danish Air Force M-501 : 50089/DEN01 return to UK as ZJ990
Royal Navy ZJ990 : RN from Sep16; Sep17 pictured (pic3) asg 845Sq training mountain flying w+


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25-oct-6627-oct-66 Operation Fate

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