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The Fleet


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    As a Pilot in the Fleet Air Arm, you will fly either fast jets or helicopters. As an Observer, you will always command or be second-in-command of a helicopter crew.

    As a fast jet Pilot, you will be involved in:

    • ground attack
    • air reconnaissance
    • operating from aircraft carriers
    • projecting fire-power ashore in support of joint operations

    As a helicopter Pilot, your advanced flying skills in the Merlin, Lynx or Sea King aircraft, include:

    • landing on a moving ship's deck in heavy seas
    • airlifting casualties from the sea
    • detecting submarines and ship threats
    • low-level reconnaissance to check that the roads are safe for vehicles

    As a Observer in a Royal Navy Lynx, Sea King or Merlin, your role is to:

    • 'fight the aircraft', which means identifying threats or targets and directing the use of the weapons systems
    • make the navigational and tactical decisions that get the aircraft to the right place at the right time to achieve your mission
    • decide how best to deploy and use your aircraft's sensors and weapon systems to detect and prosecute your target
    • for those who operate the Sea King surveillance aircraft, detect threats to your forces and direct other units to neutralise them

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