LECTURE: Rotary Wing Test Squadron

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Cdr Mario Carretta OBE BSc (Hons) MRAeS RN

Commanding Officer, Rotary Wing Test & Evaluation Squadron, Air Warfare Centre, MOD Boscombe Down

The Rotary Wing Test & Evaluation Squadron is a Tri-Service unit based at MoD Boscombe Down and now works as part of the Air Warfare Centre alongside QinetiQ within the Air Test and Evaluation Collaboration.  Primarily responsible for assisting with the provision of Release to Service recommendations for helicopters and their equipment, the Squadron has been involved in a number of high profile projects in recent years including the Chinook Mk3 and the Carson Blade modification for Sea Kings.  Future projects include Puma Mk2, Merlin Mk2, Wildcat and Chinook Mk4 and Mk6.  Amongst many changes to Test & Evaluation, one of the more positive is the drive towards better integration and this has led increasingly to the Squadron working as part of a combined test team with industry and members of the operational evaluation community.

After flying training on the Sea King HC Mk4, Cdr Carretta joined 846 NAS in 1989 and saw service in the Gulf War and the Kurdish relief operation that followed.  Selected for QHI training in 1992, he subsequently joined 707 NAS as a flying instructor.  In 1995 he joined 845 NAS as the Training Officer and served in the former Yugoslavia with both the UN and NATO.  Following test pilot training in 1997 he remained at Boscombe Down on the Rotary Wing Test Squadron, where he was involved mainly with Military Aircraft Release projects for support helicopters.  After 2 years as the Senior Pilot on 848 NAS, including a short period in command, he then completed a MoD assignment where he was the desk officer responsible for SAR and the Sea King/Puma replacement project.  In 2005 he assumed command of 846 NAS and led the Squadron during operations in Iraq, The Lebanon and Afghanistan.  He re-joined RWTS as the Commanding Officer in May 2008.

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One Response to “LECTURE: Rotary Wing Test Squadron”

  1. Neil Oddie says:

    I would like to attend the ‘Rotary Wing Test Squadron’ lecture on November 25th.
    Many thanks,

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