RNAS Culdrose (also known as HMS Seahawk) is located near Helston on the Lizard Peninsula of Cornwall, and is one of the largest helicopter bases in Europe.
RNAS Culdrose Satellite View
Culdrose is home to Royal Navy Merlin helicopters which are deployed on Royal Navy vessels.
750 Naval Air Squadron provides Basic Observer Training, operating the Beechcraft Avenger T1 and 700X Naval Air Squadron operates Unmanned Aerial Vehicles such as the ScanEagle UAV.
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RNAS Culdrose Scanner Frequencies
Approach - 282.575, 134.050
Radar - 279.700, 375.700
Director - 231.775, *123.300
PAR - 336.300, 336.525, *123.300
Tower - 370.650, *122.100
Ground - 241.925
ATIS - 278.900
*= NATO Common Frequency
Aircraft & Squadrons
Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose operates the Royal Navy Merlin helicopter squadrons which are deployed on Royal Navy vessels and military operations. 814 Naval Air Squadron and 820 Naval Air Squadron operate the Royal Navy Merlin HM2 helicopter primarily in the carrier based anti-submarine warfare role. 824 Naval Air Squadron is the Merlin Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) which provides training on the Merlin and includes the Merlin Training Facility encompassing pilot, observer, aircrewman and engineering training as well as a Simulator.
There is a Merlin Depth Maintenance facility providing maintenance for the Royal Navy Merlin helicopters and an Engineering Training Section. The Naval Flying Standards Flight (Rotary Wing) assesses pilots, observers and aircrewmen. 750 Naval Air Squadron provides grading and Basic Observer Training, operating the Beechcraft Avenger T1 and 700X Naval Air Squadron operates Unmanned Aerial Vehicles such as the ScanEagle UAV.
1700 Naval Air Squadron provides qualified specialist personnel to man, operate and maintain all Royal Naval controlled systems in all aviation capable platforms in both the Royal Navy and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. The Royal Naval School of Flight Deck Operations provides professional training for all naval aircraft handlers including RAF & Army who are involved in operating aircraft at sea. RNAS Culdrose is also home to the HMS Seahawk Volunteer Band.
814 Naval Air Squadron - Merlin HM.2.
820 Naval Air Squadron - Merlin HM.2.
824 Naval Air Squadron OCU - Merlin HM.2.
750 Naval Air Squadron - Avenger T.1.
700X Naval Air Squadron - ScanEagle UAV.
The Royal Navy Hawk T1 was retired at the end of March 2022. A Farewell Flight of Royal Navy Hawk T1 jets took place on Thursday 17th & Friday 18th March 2022.
The first Merlin 'Crowsnest' helicopter entered service with 820 Naval Air Squadron in March 2021.
The Culdrose Air Day
was held here every year but was cancelled in 2017 in order to focus resources on delivering their primary roles; to protect the strategic nuclear deterrent, support counter terrorism and be ready to defend the Royal Navy's carrier task groups.
RNAS Culdrose was built and commissioned as HMS Seahawk in 1947. It was originally designed to be a wartime airfield lasting about ten years. It was to become a Naval Fighting School but soon developed other roles. Initially, Culdrose operated the Firefly, Anson and Sea Fury.
Culdrose was later used for trials of the Navy's first jets, training of airbourne early warning crews with the Skyraider AD-4W and later the Gannet AEW 3, and as a base for carrier based aircraft. In the 1960s, Culdrose operated the Sea Vixen, Sea Venom and Sea Hawk. It was also the main helicopter training base for the Royal Navy with Hillers, Whirlwinds, Dragonflies, and later the Wasp and Wessex helicopters.
In 1970, a rebuilding program began at Culdrose, and in 1972 Culdrose was home to the Royal Naval Observer School and 750NAS (Observer Training Squadron) operating the Sea Prince aircraft. The Sea King helicopter was also based here in the 1970s.
More recently the stations emphasis has changed from fixed wing aircraft to helicopters, although its role has remained largely the same. The airbase puts £100 million into the Cornish economy and is the largest single-site employer in Cornwall. Presently, Culdrose operates Merlin helicopters. The Royal Navy Hawk T1 was retired at the end of March 2022.