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British Warship, IAF Helicopters Release date 03.01.2018
The HMS Ocean, a British amphibious assault ship, visited Israel in the beginning of December. As part of the visit, a "Yanshuf" (Black Hawk) landing was simulated onboard the helicopter carrier
Eitam Almadon & Hadas Levav

The HMS Ocean is the Royal Navy's fleet flagship and sole helicopter carrier. In early December, it visited Israel and docked in the Port of Haifa. As part of the carrier's visit, a helicopter landing test was performed using the "Yanshuf" (Black Hawk) helicopter – the first test of its kind.

Photography: Royal Air Force

The test was performed by the IAF Flight Test Squadron in order to develop the helicopter's carrier-landing capabilities. It was performed 21 miles from Israel's shoreline and included familiarization with the carrier, its procedures and its limitations in order to perform the mission as safely as possible.

"The test began with a preliminary tour of the carrier in which the test crew underwent a thorough briefing and then examined the deck to study the landing point and the relevant markings. Later, a demonstration landing was performed using a British 'Merlin' (AW-101) helicopter, with the Israeli test pilot present in the cockpit. The crew was then flown to Palmahim AFB", said Lt. Col. (Res') G', the test's leader. "The recommendations and instructions we received will allow for similar activity on the carrier in the future".

Photo courtesy of the IAF Internatioal Affairs Branch

First Time
"This is the first time a 'Yanshuf' helicopter has landed on a helicopter carrier", said Lt. Col. G', Commander of the "Rolling Sword" Squadron from Palmahim AFB, whose helicopters participated in the test. "A landing of this sort includes all sorts of challenges. When an aircraft lands on a warship, it's influenced by electromagnetic interference as well as winds and turbulence".

According to Lt. Col. (Res') G', "The test is important to the development of 'Yanshuf' capabilities. We tested landing from a low-altitude, landing in proximity to other helicopters and communication with the warship's personnel. Many of the markings on deck could have been wrongly interpreted, but the preliminary tour prevented that".

Photo courtesy of the IAF Internatioal Affairs Branch

New Capabilities
The test is of great importance for the IAF. "We're learning a lot from communicating with the carrier's personnel, exchanging knowledge on a personal level", declared Lt. Col. (Res') G'. "The test is also relevant to our future cooperation with other air forces. It allows us to assist our partners at any time and any place in the Mediterranean Basin".

Lt. Col. G' emphasized the advantages of cooperating with the Royal Air Force. "We have a lot to learn from training with the Royal Air Force".