Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) currently consists of three Naval Air Squadrons (NAS); 845, 846 and 847 NAS.The Sea King Mk4 aircraft of the Commando Helicopter Force will gradually be retired from service by April 2016. Its replacement, the Merlin Mk4 will be derived from Merlin Mk3 airframes currently in service with 846 NAS and 28 Sqn Royal Air Force at RAF Benson and will be operated by 845 NAS and 846 NAS when fully transferred from the RAF. 847 NAS operate the Wildcat AH1.
The Naval Air Squadrons of CHF are integrated under the command of a Headquarters, established to operate helicopters afloat or ashore in support of the UK armed forces. It is a combined Royal Navy and Royal Marine force that flies Sea King, Merlin and Wildcat helicopters that specialises in amphibious warfare.
The pilots are well-trained as they combine commando combat and survival skills with advanced flying skills. They operate Sea King, Merlin and Wildcat helicopters in extreme climates and conditions and their ability to work in terrain ranging from arctic to tropical jungle is second to none. Operations in Borneo in the 1960s earned them the moniker ‘Junglies’ from the troops on the ground, which current and veteran Junglies covet to this day.
CHF’s home base is RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset, with 846 NAS based in RAF Benson until 2015, but all the squadrons deploy regularly on detachments and exercises around the world.