the Griffin HAR2 

After completing elementary flying training, RAF students selected for rotary-wing training proceed to the Defence Helicopter Flying School (DHFS) at RAF Shawbury alongside their colleagues from the Royal Navy and Army. Basic and advanced helicopter flying is undertaken on new Squirrel HT1 and Griffin helicopters. For RAF students, training includes an advanced multi engine rotary-wing training course and a Search and Rescue introduction.

The aircraft itself is a modern version of the famous 'Huey' family of helicopters used by many armed forces around the world. The Griffins used by the UK forces entered service in 1995 at the newly-created Defence Helicopter School at RAF Shawbury replacing Gazelle and Wessex helicopters used in the flying training and search and rescue training roles.

Four aircraft are now in use with No 84 Squadron at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, having replaced the squadron's Wessex helicopters in the search and rescue role during 2003. 


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Formed as a training unit at Beaulieu on 7 January 1917 , Number 84 Squadron joined the other RFC fighter squadrons in France in September and immediately began offensive patrols over the Western Front with its SE5As. During 1918, the unit gained a well-deserved reputation for its ability to destroy enemy observation balloons. It was during this time that Captain WA Beauchamp Proctor DSO MC DFC was awarded the VC for his tenacity and courage throughout a two-month period of non-stop flying between 8 August and 8 October 1918 , during which he was credited with the destruction of 22 aircraft and 16 balloons.


No 84 Squadron reformed in Egypt on 20 February 1953 , this time as a transport squadron flying Valettas, and these were employed on troop-drops during the Suez campaign in 1957. Three years later, the distinctive Beverleys arrived, and these remained on strength until replaced by Andovers in August 1967. These aircraft served until, following the British withdrawal from the Middle East , the Squadron was disbanded in October 1971. On 17 January 1972 , two Whirlwind detachments based in Cyprus were combined to form a new 84 Squadron, and the unit has remained there ever since, receiving Wessex helicopters in 1982. In 1983, these aircraft were used to evacuate UN peacekeeping troops from Beirut , and remained on standby to provide assistance to the international force both on Cyprus and in the Near East . Then, in January 2003, No 84 finally ended Wessex operations with the retirement of the last four of the type in RAF service. They have been replaced by Search and rescue-equipped Griffin HAR2s.

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