Dramatic video shows the Royal Navy’s Hawk jet maritime aggressor squadron simulating missile attacks on NATO warships – including the new carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.
The jets from 736 Naval Air Squadron, based at RNAS Culdrose at Helston in Cornwall, have also taken part in a 22-aircraft engagement with RAF Typhoons and the latest generation of F35B Lightning fighters.
The squadron is used to test ship’s companies and fighter controllers in how to respond to hostile aircraft or incoming missiles.
One of the videos shows a Royal Navy warship turning sharply as part of defensive manoeuvres against a Hawk swooping down through the clouds. The sailors onboard will also practice deploying their anti-air defences to counter the real-time threat.
It is all part of two large exercises including the annual multi-national Exercise Joint Warrior, which is taking place off the east coast of Scotland during October.
The black-painted 736 squadron jets were operating from RAF Leeming in Yorkshire for a week before moving up to Aberdeen International Airport for the start of Joint Warrior.
The commanding officer of 736 Naval Air Squadron, Lieutenant Commander Jason Flintham, said: “Our role is to be the enemy – the bad guys if you like. It’s not easy, but we try to be as difficult as possible and push the abilities of our personnel to respond to a high-speed aerial threat.
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“In one situation, 736 squadron provided four Hawks as part of an 11 aircraft airborne threat against 11 RAF Typhoons. With 22 aircraft in the air fighting on this occasion, it was super exciting to be involved with and it demands much concentration and skill from my navy pilots.
“These large-scale exercises are key to the delivery of the UK’s carrier strike group, and 736 squadron is at the forefront of preparing our ships for future operations around the world.”
Another recent video from the Royal Navy shows new Carrier Strike Group – featuring HMS Queen Elizabeth – is at heart of the most powerful European-led maritime force in almost 20 years.
The £3bn warship in one of nine ships nine ships now carrying out exercises in the North Sea. She is joined by 15 fighter jets, 11 helicopters and 3,000 personnel from the UK, US and the Netherlands.
The Royal Navy says it is the first time the UK new Carrier Strike Group has assembled and “marks the beginning of a new era of operations”.