The Royal Navy has taken its first Wildcat maritime attack helicopter to the seas onboard HMS Lancaster, Western Gazette reported on Saturday.
The Type 23 frigate sailed from Portsmouth on Saturday, March 21 for a routine nine-month Atlantic patrol tasking.
201 Flight will build upon the groundwork established by 825 Naval Air Squadron to bring firsthand embarked experience to the Lynx Wildcat Maritime Force, from both a flying and maintenance perspective, which will set the scene for Wildcat deployments for many years.
This deployment will afford the Royal Navy the opportunity to understand and develop the aircraft and its support systems and maintenance procedures, refining the integration into the host platform, ensuring future deployments are as efficient as possible and provide maximum availability to the Ship.
The Wildcat is designed for a variety of roles – anti-ship, anti-submarine, ship protection, casualty evacuation, battlefield reconnaissance and general utility.
Lancaster's Commanding Officer Commander Peter Laughton said "In many ways it's a ground-breaking deployment for the Royal Navy, as we are taking new capabilities and equipment on operations for the first time.
The ship's new Wildcat helicopter is state of the art and will become the Royal Navy's primary maritime aircraft, Laughton added.
The ship will take over from HMS Dragon and expects to cover in excess of 30,000 nautical miles and visit up to eighteen different countries.
The deployment, which takes the ship across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, will build on the UK's strong ties with its allies.