Latest Royal Navy News

Royal Navy submarine hunters grapple with the ‘enemy below’ in the fjords

Around 100 men and women from 824 and 814 Naval Air Squadrons, normally based at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose near Helston in Cornwall, made the journey north for Exercise Green Eel – or Gruner Aal as it known by the Norwegians.

The detachment was based near Bergen in the west of Norway. The Haakonsvern Helikopterbase nestles on top of a steep, rocky hill topped with pine trees and stunning views to the fjords and naval base below.

With its modern, Scandinavian-designed buildings, the Royal Navy sailors dubbed the facilities ‘Tracy Island’, for its likeness to the futuristic headquarters from TV puppet show Thunderbirds.

Three Merlin Mk2 helicopters took part in a series of exercises against Norwegian and German submarines.

The commanding officer of RNAS Culdrose, Captain Stuart Irwin, said: “The ability to work closely with our allies in Norway during Exercise Green Eel has been a superb opportunity for all involved and gave us excellent access to train with live conventional submarines.

“First and foremost, this was an opportunity for our trainee aircrew on 824 Naval Air Squadron to complete the final stages of operational flying training in the Merlin anti-submarine warfare helicopter.

“It gave them the experience of locating and tracking real submarines and enhanced the skills and techniques they will now take to the Merlin Helicopter Force’s frontline squadrons.”

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