Thursday, 30 July 2020

UK Royal Navy aviators thanked for work in the Caribbean

THE governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands has thanked Royal Navy aviators for supporting security patrols.
Photo Royal Navy / Crown copyright

Personnel from 815 Naval Air Squadron’s 203 Flight met Nigel Dakin following a number of night-time patrols in their Wildcat helicopter supporting the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Service.

Having successfully completed a number of night time patrols working along with officials at Provo Radar Station and the police, the Royal Navy 203 Flight met with Governor Dakin, so he could learn more about their work.

Along with members of the TCI government, they were shown the advanced surveillance equipment on board, and taught how the helicopter is manned and maintained.

In a meeting with the whole team, all took precautions to protect themselves by maintaining social distancing and wearing face coverings.

The Governor was joined by Vaden Williams, Minister for Immigration and Labour, and Desmond Wilson, the Permanent Secretary for Border Control and Employment, and they were then taken for a flight around Provo, North, Middle and East Caicos Islands. 

The Wildcat left mother ship RFA Argus to work alongside the Turks and Caicos police and make use of the helicopter’s cutting-edge sensors and radars, making it a world-class aircraft for reconnaissance and patrol sorties.
Photo Royal Navy / Crown copyright

The advanced sensors make the aircraft adept at searching and finding any targets on land or at sea, and this is particularly useful at night, when illicit drug-trafficking is known to take place in the region.

Flight Observer Lieutenant Smith, and Pilot Lieutenant Jim Carver demonstrated how the aircraft sensors work and how they are used for counter illicit trafficking operations.

The 203 Flight team were in turn given a tour of the Provo Radar station that they had liaised with on their patrols by local Radar operator Rodman Johnson.

Lt Carver said: “We are here in the Caribbean to support British Overseas Territories as part of the enduring Atlantic Patrol Tasking (North) during the core hurricane season, and supporting other nations with maritime security.

“We have disembarked into Turks and Caicos Islands to conduct scheduled maintenance and to conduct flying in direct support to maritime security operations.”

As well as assisting police with patrols, scheduled maintenance will prepare the Wildcat for hurricane season.

The UK Task Group in the Caribbean is ready to respond with humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the event of a natural disaster, and the Wildcat is an important part of a wider Tailored Air Group (TAG) that also has three Merlin helicopters embarked on RFA Argus. They form a formidable team which also includes 3 Commando Brigade’s Crisis Response Troop from 24 Commando Royal Engineers and fast boat operators from 47 Commando Raiding Group.

There is also a land-based element of the task group – along with patrol ship HMS Medway – with Security Assistance Teams from 30 Commando Information Exploitation Group working from the Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos.

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