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Wildcat helicopter on British Navy HMS Richmond frigate completes Fleet Operational Sea Training

According to a Tweet published Navy Lookout on January 15, 2021, Wildcat HMA.2 helicopter from the 815 Naval Air Squadron from the British Navy, embarked on the HMS Richmond Type 23 frigate has completed FOST (Fleet Operational Sea Training) training in preparation for deploying with UK Carrier Strike Group later this year.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 A wildcat helicopter of 815 Naval Air Squadron embarked HMS Richmond frigate has completed FOST training in preparation for deploying with UK Carrier Strike Group later this year. (Picture source Navy Lookout)

The 815 Naval Air Squadron is a squadron part of the British Royal Navy, based at RNAS Yeovilton (HMS Heron) in Somerset. The squadron consists of AgustaWestland Wildcat HMA.2 helicopters and is the largest helicopter squadron in Western Europe.

The 815 Naval Air Squadron responsible for generating, deploying and supporting the ships' flights, which embark in Type 23 Frigates, Type 45 Destroyers, RFA (Royal Fleet Auxiliary) ships and imminently on the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers and the provision of the Maritime Interdiction (MI) Flight at an exceptionally high state of readiness, for Maritime counter-terrorism duties.

The AW159 Wildcat is an improved version of the Westland Super Lynx designed to serve in the battlefield utility, search and rescue, and anti-surface warfare roles. The helicopter was manufactured by AgustaWestland, an Italian helicopter design and manufacturing company. In 2016, it merged into Leonardo where it became the company's helicopters division under the Leonardo Helicopters brand.

In the British Navy, the Wildcat HMA Mk2 is used in anti-surface warfare, force protection, and counter-piracy. It will also be able to carry out an anti-submarine role. It is armed with up to 4 Sea Venom missiles as well as 20 Martlet Lightweight Multirole Missile and pintle mounted 12.7mm machine gun. The Sea Venom is a new generation of medium-range anti-ship missile developed for shipborne helicopters of British and French navies.

The HMS Richmond (F239) is Type 23 frigate in service with the Royal British Navy. She was launched on 6 April 1993 and commissioned in June 1995. The ship is fitted with a flight deck and enclosed hangar that accommodates one Westland Wildcat HMA2 or one Westland Merlin HM2 helicopter.