Formed in 1943 in the USA, after training in torpedo bomber techniques, it returned to Cornwall in Apr 1944 under RAF Coastal Command. In Sep 1944, it embarked in HMS Victorious (38) for the Far East, returning via Australia after WWII. It disbanded in Oct 1945.
Its most recent role as an Airborne Early Warning unit began when it reformed from 778 Squadron at RNAS Brawdy in Jul 1952 with Skyraiders, operating in several Flights. These were exchanged for Gannets from Sep 1959 and by Dec 1960 the AEW.3 version had been introduced. It operated from various aircraft carriers until it disbanded at Lossiemouth in Nov 1978.
The units HQ Flight reformed from a nucleus of 824 Squadron D Flight with Sea King AEW.2 on 1 Nov 1984 at RNAS Culdrose. A Flight (airframes carried an Aardvark badge) followed on 31 May 1985 for a commission on HMS Illustrious and B Flight (airframes carried a Bee badge) for a tour on HMS Ark Royal, on 3 Mar 1986. Towards the end of Jul 1986, A Flt embarked on HMS Illustrious for a delayed GLOBAL 86 deployment. The Eyes of the Fleet were back in business.
During the early part of 1993, B Flt was deployed to the Adriatic in support of the UNPROFOR mission to Bosnia-Herzegovina. Its 3 Sea King AEW.2 operated amongst HMS Ark Royal, FNS Clemenceau, USS Theodore Roosevelt and the shore.
On 13 Dec 2006 in a ceremony at RNAS Culdrose, A Flight (Aadrvarks) and B Flight (Bees) which had been integral parts of the unit since 1953 and 1952 respectively were each elevated to full Squadron status, with 3 Sea King ASaC.7 airframes apiece. A Flight became 854 Squadron and B Flight became 857 Squadron.
Re-absorbed 854 NAS in Dec 2014 to become Normandy Flight when they rejoined the Eyes of the Fleet. On 11 Dec Normandy Flight deployed to the Gulf to relieve 857 NAS on RFA Fort Austin. 849 NAS is the last unit in the UK military to operate the Sea King (as the ASaC.7) until Sep 2018, when it will be withdrawn from service. The role is due to be replaced by the Crowsnest-equipped Merlin, which as of Sep 2018 is not yet ready for service; and 849 NAS disbanded in Apr 2020.
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News of 849 Squadron
Sea King Flypast Ends 49 Years of Service, 25-Sep-18 : #SeaKing Royal Navy retires their last Sea King, the Mk7 ASAC, with a 849 Squadron 3-hour flypast. Will be replaced by the Merlin Crowsnest next year
Exercise Deep Blue II in the Mediterranean, 20-Jul-16 : UK, US and France ships leaded by HMS Ocean helicopter carrier took part of antisubmarine exercise Deep Blue II in the Mediterranean. First time since 2012 HMS Ocean embarked an entire air group
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|2002/18||Sea King ASaC.7|
|1984/03||Sea King Sea King AEW.2|
|26-mar-17||06-apr-17||Exercise Joint Warrior 17-1|
|31-jan-17||02-feb-17||Exercise Unified Trident|
|20-jan-17||03-feb-17||Operation Skinners Gold|
|06-oct-16||21-oct-16||Exercise Joint Warrior 16-2|
|oct-11||oct-11||Staff College Sea Days 2011|
|may-10||aug-10||Exercise Auriga 2010|
|oct-06||nov-06||Operation Vela (Green Eagle)|
|28-aug-98||31-aug-98||International Festival of Sea|
|27-sep-88||04-oct-88||Fleet Review: Australia Bi-centennial Naval Salute|
|25-jun-77||28-jun-77||Fleet Review: Silver Jubilee of HM The Queen|
|15-jun-53||15-jun-53||Fleet Review: Coronation Review of the Fleet|