FROM THE WEBSITE: The Fleet Air Arm (FAA) operates all the Royal Navy’s aircraft. A vital element for many of the wide and varied roles undertaken by the Royal Navy, FAA roles range from humanitarian operations, through to securing the seas, fighting terrorism and landing troops onto hostile shores.
The Fleet Air Arm uses technologically advanced aircraft and world-leading expertise to act as the spearhead of the entire Royal Navy.
In order to continue this proud tradition, the Fleet Air Arm has recently added a fearsome new weapon to its arsenal: the F35 Joint Strike Fighter. Capable of performing multiple roles, from ground attack to air superiority, this cutting-edge fixed-wing fighter jet is set to become an essential part of the Fleet Air Arm’s offensive strike capabilities by the end of the decade.
— Catherine, Princess of Wales was appointed Commodore-in-Chief by King Charles in August 2023.
September 18, 2023 – Visiting Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton – The Princess of Wales visited the Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton in Somerset, UK. This air station is one of the Royal Navy’s two principal air stations and is known to be one of the busiest military airfields in the UK. Recently, King Charles appointed Catherine as the new Commodore-in-Chief of the Fleet Air Arm, previously held by The Duke Of York. During her first visit, she spent three hours at the air station, where she got a first-hand introduction to the world of naval aviation.
The Princess was introduced to Royal Navy air traffic controllers trained to operate at sea and shore bases, providing a range of air traffic control services to support aircraft movements from the air station safely and across the skies in the vicinity of Yeovilton. Later, she moved on to a hangar where she spoke with junior personnel and learned about their different roles within the Fleet Air Arm. She also met Survival Equipment Technicians who provide and maintain survival equipment and deliver specialist training on its use, which is essential for aircrew safety. The Princess looked over some of the flotation and flying equipment used by personnel, including trying out an aircrew life jacket.
The Princess of Wales was also shown around the Merlin Mk2, the Navy’s primary Anti-Submarine Warfare helicopter, during her visit. Personnel from 700X Naval Air Squadron also introduced her to the Banshee drone. The drone is used to develop tactics to defend the nation’s aircraft carriers against air attacks.
The Royal visit ended at the Wildcat Training Centre, where personnel learn and practice various skills, including aircraft engineering, flying, and weapon loading. The Princess met a Wildcat’ Flight’ and witnessed weapon loading on the training Wildcat. She also took a ‘flight’ in the state-of-the-art Wildcat helicopter simulator.