Definitions

No._28_Squadron_RAF

No. 28 Squadron RAF

No. 28 (Army Co-operation) Squadron of the Royal Air Force operates the Merlin HC3/HC3A from RAF Benson.

History

No. 28 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps was formed on 7 November 1915. Initially a training squadron it became a fighter squadron equipped with the Sopwith Camel. After the end of World War I No. 28 was disbanded. No. 114 Squadron RAF in British India was renumberd as No. 28 and became an Army co-operation squadron. Remaining in Asia, during World War II it flew the Lysander and from December 1942 the Hawker Hurricane fighter-bomber. By 1943 the Squadron was operating in Burma until 1945 when it started to re-equip with the Supermarine Spitfire. After WWII the squadron operated as a fighter-reconnaissance unit as part of the Far East Air Force, moving to RAF Kai Tak, Hong Kong in 1949.

After disbandement in 1967, on 1 April 1968 a detachment of No. 103 Squadron RAF took No. 28's numberplate.

The Squadron operated the Westland Wessex from 1972. With this helicopter it was based at RAF Sek Kong from 1978 until 1996. The squadron returned to Kai Tai from then until the British withdrawal in June 1997 and was the last RAF squadron to leave the territory.

The RAF ordered 22 Merlin HC3 helicopters in March 1995, the first of which was received from GKNWestland now AgustaWestland on 7 March 2001. The Squadron officially reformed on 17 July 2001 at RAF Benson, the first time in its recent history that the Squadron had been stationed in the UK.

The Squadron's first operational role with the Merlin was in support of SFOR at Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The aircraft and personnel deployed on 1 April 2003, the same day that an initial operational capability was declared for the Merlin. The detachment ceased on 31 March 2004 and the Squadron then began to prepare for operations in Iraq.

The Squadron's commitment to Operation TELIC began on 1 March 2005. Several aircraft and a mix of aircrew, engineers and support personnel from 28 (AC) Squadron and RAF Benson, deployed using the historic No. 1419 Flight RAF to replace the Chinook's of No. 1310 Flight RAF at Basrah Air Station, Iraq. The Squadron retains this commitment to the present day.

Current role

On 3 December 2007 the Squadron was broken up to form the RAF Merlin Force which comprises 28 (AC) Squadron, the newly reallocated 78 Squadron and the Merlin Force Engineering Squadron. This followed the additional purchase of 6 Merlin HC3A from Denmark via AgustaWestland. The commensurate increase in aircrew and engineering personnel would have made a single Merlin Squadron too unwieldy.

The Squadron now consists of a HQ Flight, 2 Operational Flights and the Merlin Operational Conversion Flight. The current Squadron Commander is Wing Commander Rich Luck MA MCGI MRAes RAF.

Other aircraft operated

See also

References

External links

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