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historyClick to view Historic Timeline2009 marks the Centenary Year of Naval Aviation. It was on 7th May 1909 that the Admiralty first set aside £35,000 for the development of an airship, beginning a process that was to lead to the formation of the Fleet Air Arm as we know it today.

Those hundred years have seen a breathtaking development from flimsy aircraft that struggled to leave the ground to supersonic stealth fighters. As technology has developed, so too has ideology; Naval Aviation began the 20th century as an interesting sideshow in the armament of the Royal Navy, and ended it as the centrepiece.

The aircraft carrier now marks out the premier league navies from the rest. It is the punch of the nation and a symbol of its power. Countless Prime Ministers have found that the carrier has been indispensable to the execution of their foreign policy: Thatcher sent hers to the Falklands; Major sent his to Bosnia; Blair sent his once to Sierra Leone and twice to Iraq.

Those are only the most recent crises and there were numerous
others even between those. In many of these conflicts, success
was not only helped by carrier-borne aircraft – it depended on them.

Fly Navy 100 is a programme of events and publications that aims
to celebrate and commemorate this remarkable centenary. It aims
to showcase among both the public and the Service communities
the endurance, flexibility, and above all potency, of Naval Aviation.

Update: St Paul’s Service of Thanksgiving, 8th May 2009

The application form for this event will close on 17th April.  Tickets are currently still available; please apply using the on-line form by following the link below.  We aim to contact all successful applicants soon after the closing date, and tickets will be sent out 2-3 weeks before the event to the primary applicant’s postal address.

8 May: Centenary Service at St Paul's Cathedral