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Happy New ‘M’

9 January 2017
The Merlin Helicopter Force at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose has a new man at the top – or ‘M’ as Commander Merlin known.

Commander Mike Currie is charged with taking the Merlin Force into a new and exciting era in 2017.

Experienced aviator, Commander Currie is looking forward to the challenge ahead and happy to be re-joining RNAS Culdrose at a very exciting time; this year will see the Royal Navy’s first new aircraft carrier sail into Portsmouth. 

This will be a new era for maritime aviation, and one in which the Cornish based Air Station will play a key part, providing many aircraft for the flagship but also a great deal of the aviation training too.

It is a very busy time for us. As well as getting ‘Carrier ready’, our aircraft and aviators continue to deliver on operations both abroad and in home waters.

Commander Mike Currie RN

Mike said: "I am absolutely delighted to be back at Culdrose as the Merlin Force Commander.

“It is an honour and a privilege.

“Merlin helicopter support to the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers is just around the corner - soon 820 Naval Air Squadron will land a Merlin helicopter on HMS Queen Elizabeth. 

“This is hugely exciting for the Royal Navy and the Fleet Air Arm.”

Having delivered back-to-back deployments across the globe for many years, it has been a very busy few years for the Merlin Force at RNAS Culdrose.

With 80% of his force deployed or at high readiness to deploy, Mike is ready for the action.  

He said: “It is a very busy time for us. As well as getting ‘Carrier ready’, our aircraft and aviators continue to deliver on operations both abroad and in home waters. 

“The proven capabilities of the Merlin helicopter keep it very much in demand within defence. 

“This presents me with several unique but positive challenges, but we are ready for them.”

Commander Currie, an experienced Merlin operator himself, is no stranger to Culdrose having completed tours on 824, 829 and 814 Naval Air Squadrons.

Originally from Scotland (Mike was educated in Kilmarnock and graduated from Glasgow University with a BSc (Hons) in Mathematics and Physics), Mike joined the Royal Navy in 1998. 

Originally a Sea King Anti-Submarine Warfare Observer, he converted to the Merlin helicopter in 2001 and was assigned to the newly formed 824 Naval Air Squadron 02 Flight.  

With attachments to several Culdrose based Merlin Squadrons, Mike has served on many operations from counter-narcotics in the Caribbean, maritime security in the Middle East, security operations for the London 2012 Olympics and Operation Telic in the North Arabian Gulf. 

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