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.
|1986/07||RAF Mount Pleasant||EGYP|
|1956/67||Khormaksar / Aden International||OYAA|
78 Squadron List of helicopters
|C/N||Version||Built||In this Org||In 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+ || 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
| 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+ || XZ599 : Vector Aerospace at Fleetlands,
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+ || 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+ || 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; + || 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+ || 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+ || 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 || ZJ990 : AW pre-delivery serial for military class tests |
M-501 : 50089/DEN01 return to UK as ZJ990
ZJ990 : RN from Sep16; Sep17 pictured (pic3) asg 845Sq training mountain flying w+