Yeovilton Air Day 2005


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Commando Assault Demonstration



The finale for Air Day is a large-scale spectacular display involving aircraft (naturally), ground vehicles and soldiers. I thought I would use these to illustrate a modern potential crisis.

The following is a totaly ficticious story by myself to give some insight into how a modern crisis may by dealt with, militarily. Gone are the days when an invading power had to land on the beach and fight inwards. Naval power projection was about 20-30 miles at the start of the 2nd World War - the range of the biggest guns. Sixty years on and we now have Ballistic missiles capable of travelling 4,000 miles and aircraft travelling hundreds of miles and back - all launched from floating platforms in the sea. We no longer talk of 'beachheads' but 'bridgeheads' - many miles inland....

Consider this potential situation:

A dictatorship in Africa has pushed the hand of the UN. The situation is deteriorating...

A UK Naval task force whilst conducting an exercise in the Indian Ocean, has been requested to present a 'show of force' just off the coast, by the UN.
The task force is lead by an Invincible-class through-deck cruiser carrying her compliment of aircraft. A detachment of Sea King’s and Merlin’s from NAS Culdrose are embarked along with Chinooks from an RAF Squadron. 800 Sdn's FA.2 Sea Harriers are present and flying round the clock to provide air cover.
Acting as escort are a flotilla of Type 23 Frigates and type 42 Destroyers, each with a Westland Lynx embarked.

Several days later the 'rogue' country declares the UN sanctions unjust and tries to break them by smuggling goods aboard cargo ships and trying to slip past the UN forces.


The ‘cargo ship’ (carried
along the runway on the
back of a trailer) is being boarded.

Detected by the UK Fleet, a lynx is sent out with a detachment of Marines to board and investigate the cargo ship.

The Westland Lynx HMA Mk.8 deploys its Marines, in this instance by abseiling a rope.
Whilst on board they discover UN sanctioned items and attempt to take over the ship. However the owners have barricaded themselves in and are heavily armed, overpowering the Marines and dumping them overboard.



The Lynx picks them up from the sea and reports the situation back to the fleet - reinforcements in the shape of four Lynx’s are called in.

A four ship flight of Lynx’s
armed with cabin-mounted 30mm machineguns, and Sea Skua
 Air-to-Surface missiles.


Refusing to surrender the ship is strafed by machinegun fire and finally knocked out by Sea Skua missiles.
See the red smoke and flame - that’ll teach the bad guys!!



Incensed by the sinking of their ‘innocent’ cargo-ship the dictator wants an eye-for-an-eye, and orders one of the UK(UN) ships to be attacked.


Westland Seaking ASAC.7
XV707 / 84 (cn WA.678) lifting off.
BAe Sea Harrier behind on stand-by for hostile-interception.

Expecting trouble the task force raises its alert level.
A Seaking is launched to monitor ahead of the fleet for aggresive air activity and Combat Air Patrols (CAPs) are stepped up.
and Merlins are deployed to monitor for sub-surface activity.

Royal Navy Westland Merlin HM.1
deploying its dipping-sonar.


Unable to get close enough to threaten the task force the dictator orders his troops to conduct retailiatory strikes against the members of his country who support the UN.
Well, we can’t just sit back and watch while it happens can we!


Royal Marines
Westland Lynx AH.7
XZ182 (cn 058) Of 847 Squadron

The Marines use their Lynx’s for forward air support and observation.

The first troops arrive - highly trained squads secure the area.

Westland Sea King HC.4
ZD476 / WU (cn WA.931) Deploying troops

Westland Sea King HC.4

Once a bridgehead is secured more soldiers and equipment are brought in for support, including Land Rover jeeps, 105mm heavy artillery guns and ammunition. The soldiers use smoke to hide their movements and as signals to aircrews.

Westland Sea King HC.4
Soldiers are providing covering fire (blanks for today!)


RAF Boeing CH-47 Chinook HC2.A
ZH894 (cn M4457)

Westland Sea King HC.4
carrying 105mm gun



Sea Harriers provide air cover for the helicopters.



The bad guys are overrun and surrender.. hurrah!

With the bad guys defeated the aircraft are free to fly past for the admiring crowds :)


RAF Westland EH-101 Merlin HC.3
ZJ131 (cn 50173/RAF15)


RAF Boeing CH-47 Chinook HC2.A
ZH894 (cn M4457)

RAF Westland EH-101 Merlin HC.3
ZJ131 (cn 50173/RAF15)

Westland Merlin HM.1
Boeing CH-47 Chinook HC2.A
2x Westland Sea King HC.4

RM Westland Lnyx Mk.7
RN Westland Lynx Mk.8


And home in time for tea and medals!


all pictures on this page ©2005 M.Greenough
Taken at Yeovilton Naval Air Station 17th September 2005

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