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Royal Navy aviators from RNAS Culdrose have been called upon to help Britons living in the South West of England who need urgent medical care or assistance during the Coronavirus pandemic.

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As part of the Royal Navy’s support to the NHS during the Coronavirus outbreak across the United Kingdom, the Maritime Merlin Force based at RNAS Culdrose, has been tasked to provide 24/7 helicopter support for the NHS and the South West Ambulance Services. This could involve the transfer of patients needing urgent assistance or the movement of equipment, supplies or personnel.

The team of highly trained Royal Navy aviators from 820 Naval Air Squadron, based in Cornwall, will be at high readiness to provide support across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Bristol, Somerset, the Channel Islands and the Isles of Scilly – serving a population of over 4,500,000 residents.

Three Merlin Mk2 helicopters and their crews have been set aside for the task, whilst others from the Culdrose Merlin Force will continue in their usual duties; protecting UK waters and safeguarding the Strategic Nuclear Deterrent.

820 Naval Air Squadron’s normal role is to defend the nation’s Carrier Task Group from threats above and below the waves. The skilled aviators are experts in Anti-Submarine Warfare, however the Mk2 Merlin is a very versatile aircraft that can be easily reconfigured to carry multiple stretchers, passengers and stores quickly, smoothly and efficiently over long distances.

The Merlin is always on hand in times of need, here is British Army Major Chris Dixon undertaking aerial flood damage reconnaissance of the south of England from Merlin helicopter.

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