The effectiveness of the Commando Wildcat helicopter in amphibious missions and NATO exercises stands out in the Baltic.
Operation Rondache: Commando Wildcat on the front line
In Operation Rondache, the 847 Naval Air Squadron stood out in its role in supporting the Navy. The mission made it possible to demonstrate the wide range of functions that the Wildcat can perform, from transporting troops and materials to reconnaissance tasks and support for precision air strikes.
This operation, key in NATO’s annual exercises, served to highlight the security of the Baltic region. The Wildcat worked in conjunction with 45 Commando of the Royal Marines, proving its usefulness in different warfare scenarios.
A simulated 48-hour battle ensued, involving more than 30 ships, aircraft, thousands of soldiers, and the Commando Wildcat. The latter was tasked with ensuring the safe landing of amphibious forces and providing combat air support and supplies to troops on the ground.
Commando Wildcat Versatility: Key for Commanders
Pilot Capt. Dave Lewis stressed the importance of commanders at all levels understanding the value the Wildcat brings to combat operations. The helicopter offers great flexibility and allows for high situational awareness on the battlefield.
The Royal Navy is convinced of the need to promote the use of this helicopter, considering it a crucial asset of the Commando Helicopter Force.
The mission in the Baltic provided a deeper insight into the capabilities of the Wildcat, which has been in service with the squadron for nearly a decade.
Collaboration with the Dutch Korps Mariniers
Back home, the squadron had the opportunity to work closely with the Dutch Korps Mariniers. This cooperation took place in and around Den Helder in preparation for the golden jubilee of the Anglo-Dutch amphibious force.
The Wildcat pilots used the trip from Poland to Amsterdam to continue their training, highlighting their ability to drop Marines with pinpoint accuracy.
After several days of exercises and demonstrations, the detachment is now back in Somerset, where it will review the lessons learned during its training in the Baltics.
Lessons learned and next steps.
Post-mission analysis will provide valuable lessons for future operations. Experiences in the Baltics have helped to understand better logistical challenges, such as managing two helicopters on a flight deck designed for one and the importance of greater integration with the rest of the Royal Marines and NATO allies.
The Royal Navy has highlighted the multifaceted capabilities of the Commando Wildcat helicopter through its deployment to the Baltic Sea in Operation Rondache. This aircraft has been used for a variety of roles, ranging from transporting troops and materiel to scouting for hostile forces, precise air strikes, and stealth delivery of raiding parties. Its versatility and effectiveness have been proven in actual field operations, providing essential support to the Royal Marines.
The Commando Wildcat plays a critical role in amphibious missions, ensuring that amphibious forces make it safely ashore and are firmly grounded until reinforcements, vehicles and materiel arrive. Provides combat air support, escorts raid ships or troops, and delivers supplies to troops on the ground. Its use is key in the successful execution of amphibious operations.
Operation Rondache provided an opportunity to highlight the utility and multi-role capability of the Wildcat. It was learned that it is essential to make commanders at all levels aware of the capabilities of this helicopter in order to maximize its use. In addition, the need for further battlefield integration with the Royal Marines and NATO allies was highlighted.
At the Anglo-Dutch Jubilee, the Wildcat pilots had the opportunity to work alongside the Dutch Korps Mariniers. During the three days of demonstrations, the Wildcats demonstrated their ability to launch Marines with pinpoint accuracy onto landing craft or into the water to swim to shore, known as “helicasting.”
Following its deployment to the Baltics, the Commando Wildcat will continue to play a crucial role in the Commando Helicopter Force, providing support to Royal Marines around the world. Lessons learned from its Baltic deployment, including managing two helicopters from one flight deck and further integration with the Royal Marines and NATO allies, will inform its use in future operations.