AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, congratulates 28 (AC) Squadron on winning Flight International’s Aviation Excellence Award in the Armed Forces category. The award was accepted on behalf of the Squadron by 28 (AC) Squadron Commanding Officer, Group Captain Andy Turner and Warrant Officer Phil Lamb, at the ceremony held in Singapore in conjunction with the biannual Asian Aerospace exhibition.
Speaking at the ceremony after accepting the award Group Captain Andy Turner paid tribute to the skill and dedication displayed by all members of the Squadron which had contributed to the success of the EH101 Merlin HC Mk.3 helicopters first major combat deployment to Iraq, where the aircraft has demonstrated its outstanding capabilities in support of Iraqi and coalition security forces.
Commenting after hearing the news of the award, Alan Johnston, Managing Director Military Programmes at AgustaWestland said “We at AgustaWestland congratulate the men and woman of 28 Squadron on winning Flight International’s Aviation Excellence award. The instant operational success of the EH101 Merlin after its deployment to Iraq is a tribute to 28 Squadron and we are proud to support you.”
The citation read …. The Middle East has proved to be a testing battleground for men and equipment like few others; challenging them immensely even before contact with the enemy. Brutal heat, all pervasive sand, and lengthy supply lines conspire against the military aircraft operator – particularly helicopter units. So it is no surprise that there were grave doubts in senior military circles about deploying a relatively new type to the region. But from the day they self deployed their aircraft a remarkable 3,500 miles, tonight’s winners have comprehensively defied the doubters. Exceeding the expectations of commanders and even the aircraft’s makers, their unit quickly reached and sustained an 89% availability rate. They have operated without loss in a high -threat area and developed innovative tactics. For their deployment to Iraq, the winners of the Armed Forces category are 28 Squadron of the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force with their AgustaWestland Merlin helicopters.