Motto: - 'Animis Opibusque Parati - Prepared in Minds and Resources'

Role: - Operational Airborne Surveillance and Control

Base: - RNAS Culdrose


857 Naval Air Squadron initially formed during World War 2 in 1944 as a Torpedo Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron of Mk II Avengers. They also embarked upon an Anti-Submarine course before travelling to the Far East in November 1944.

After attacking Sumatran targets, including Palembang, the Squadron regrouped in Australia, only to re-embark in February 1945 for two months of continuous attacks on islands in the East China Sea and Formosa. 857 NAS then sailed to Hong Kong where the Squadron was active against Japanese suicide boats in September 1945. The Avengers were left in Australia when the Squadron returned to the UK and disbanded in November 1945.

In 2006, ‘B’ Flight 849 NAS was re-badged as 854 NAS using the Sea King ASaCS Mk 7.

Current Squadron commitments include carrying out Maritime Surveillance Operations in the Middle East.

World War II

After the squadrons formation, it returned to the UK in June 1944 and re-trained as an anti-submarine unit. It sailed for the Far East in September 1944 embarked on HMS Rajah and transferring to HMS Indomitable in November 1944. The squadron attacked targets throughout Sumatra, the East China Sea and Formosa before sailing to Hong Kong on 1 September 1945.

The squadron moved to Australia post war, leaving its aircraft at HMAS Albatross, when it returned to the UK to disband on 20 November 1945.


The unit reformed with the Westland Sea King ASaC.7 on 13 December 2006 at RNAS Culdrose, from 849 Squadron, B Flight. Its first tour of duty was on board RFA Fort Austin for a five-month deployment to the Middle East and the Horn of Africa, with aims of denying the passage of the seas to Al Qaeda, pirates, traffickers and smugglers. The squadron then headed to NAS Norfolk in Virginia, United States, for exercises with United States Navy fighter planes and carrier battle groups.

857 NAS returned to the Middle East in the first half of 2008, replacing its sister squadron 854 NAS on Operation Calash. It returned to carrying out maritime security operations.[1] The squadron carried out operations in the North Sea on board HMS Illustrious, testing airborne early warning capabilities.

In 2011, several of the Sea Kings were stated to be part of the Response Force Task Group.


857 NAS will be decommissioned in the new year of 2015 and merge with its parent unit to form "Palembang Flight".


Avenger, Sea King


Palembang 1945, Okinawa 1945

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This webpage was updated 11th June 2021