The UK Royal Navy’s latest helicopter, the Wildcat, has landed on the navy’s commando carrier HMS Ocean for the first time during Exercise Joint Warrior in the North Sea.
The attack helicopter was commissioned last year at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton in Somerset, and began its operational deployment at sea this year.
The new helicopters are scheduled to replace the Lynx helicopter. The Wildcat features a variety of upgrades and improvements compared to its predecessor.
UK Royal Navy leading airman Ryan Lawson said: "The Wildcat had a unique appearance compared to other Lynx aircraft that we are used to seeing.
"I personally feel privileged and honoured to say that I was one of the very first people to marshal the next generation of naval aircraft onto the flight deck of HMS Ocean."
Featuring a redesigned tail rotor system, the helicopter will benefit from enhanced strength and stealth.
It also has an improved cockpit with facilities including high tech communications, armoured seats and full 360 degree colour surveillance radar.
The helicopter is capable of operating in a variety of roles, including anti-ship and anti-submarine protection, casualty evacuation, battlefield reconnaissance, and as a general utility helicopter.
The amphibious assault ship HMS Ocean is assigned to deliver troops to the centre of the action by helicopter, or by landing craft.
With a 170m-long and 32.6m-wide flight deck, the vessel will be able to operate six helicopters.
The vessel currently carries 380 personnel, including nine Assault Squadron Royal Marines, who operate four landing craft.
Image: Wildcat has many improvements when compared to the Lynx helicopter, making it a significantly more capable aircraft. Photo: courtesy of Royal Navy.