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Merlins’ Far East adventure

Photo: Merlin Mk3A helicopters of 845 Naval Air Squadron inserting French, American and Japanese troops from FS 'Mistral' during Ex Arc 17 on the island Tinian in the Far East. All photos Crown Copyright

 

Two Royal Navy Merlin Mk3A helicopters and personnel from 845 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) were recently embarked on the French Navy amphibious assault ship FS Mistral as part of the French Jeanne D’Arc 17 (JDA 17) task group in the Far East.

845 NAS, part of the Commando Helicopter Force, is based at RNAS Yeovilton, Somerset. The squadron was embarked on the French ship to provide aviation support for the duration of the deployment.

Around 60 Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel exercised with their counterparts from other countries during the five-month annual French naval deployment to the Indian Ocean and Far East, including the first ever four-part maritime exercise involving France, Japan, the UK and US.

The two-stage exercise named Forager Deux and Arc 17 took place in the sea and in the skies near to Japan, Guam, and Tinian, with the purpose of enhancing joint operating between the UK and international partners and deepening defence co-operation.

As part of a week-long practice assault, the Merlin Mk3 moved 330 French, Japanese and American troops to and from Tinian.

 

FS Mistral and HMAS Parramatta during the Jeanne D’Arc 17 deployment in the Far East. Helicopters comprise an SH-60 Seahawk of the Australian Navy and an AS365F Dauphin from FS Mistral.

 

Merlin Mk3A helicopters of 845 Naval Air Squadron inserting French, American and Japanese troops from FS Mistral during Ex Arc 17 on the island Tinian in the Far East.

 

A Merlin Mk3A helicopter of 845 Naval Air Squadron conducting HI-Line (Heave In) training on the flight deck of HMAS Parramatta in the Far East during Jeanne D’Arc 17 (JDA 17).

 

Pictured on FS Mistral is a Merlin Mk3A helicopter of 845 Naval Air Squadron conducting Vertrep training with FS Courbet.

 

Merlin Mk3A helicopters of 845 Naval Air Squadron extracting French, American and Japanese troops from Runway Able on the island Tinian to FS Mistral during Ex Arc 17.

 

A POACMN firing a General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) during a GUNEX from a Merlin Mk3A helicopter of 845 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) in the Far East.

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