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230 Squadron

Armed Force
Royal Air Force
RAF Benson
Puma HC.2
Membership status
Full Member
Member since
Silver Tiger Tropy Wins
Balikesir AB
Hosted Tiger Meets
RAF Gütersloh

230 Squadron formed on 20 August 1918 at Felixstowe, Suffolk, on the east coast of England.  It was equipped with the Felixstowe F2A flying boat which served the squadron until it was first disbanded in 1923.  It was not until December 1934 that the squadron was reformed, this time in Wales, at Pembroke Dock with the Short Singapore III.  In late 1936 the squadron began its journey to Seletar, Singapore where it was to be based until the outbreak of the Second World War.

In March 1937 the Squadron Badge was approved by HM The King.  Inspired by the label on a bottle of the local brew (Tiger Beer) it featured a tiger under a palm tree which was adapted with the addition of the motto in Javanese ‘Kita Chari Jauh’ – translated as ‘We search far’ or ‘We seek afar’.

The next twenty years saw the squadron utilised all over Asia, Africa and the Far East gaining Battle Honours for its involvement in the Mediterranean for much of the Second World War.  The Sunderland flying boat was responsible for these missions after it replaced the Singapore in 1938. Notable missions in support of the Burma Campaign (1944) and the Berlin Airlift (1948) were of strategic significance. In 1957, the RAF’s flying boat era came to an end when the squadron was once more disbanded.  It was back in business merely a year later though, at Dishforth, England with the Scottish Aviation Pioneer CC1 and later Twin Pioneers (1960).

In 1962 the squadron began taking on a new guise....a helicopter squadron, equipped with the Westland Whirlwind HC10.  It had its first short spell at Gütersloh in West Germany a year later.  In 1971 a new era began with the Westland Puma HC1 at RAF Odiham. 230 Squadron joined the NATO Tiger Association in 1977.  In 1980 they moved again to RAF Gütersloh where in 1982 they hosted their first Tiger Meet. The Squadron relocated to Northern Ireland in 1992, where it supported the security forces in the peace process. In November 2009 it moved to RAF Benson, Oxfordshire, collocating with the ‘other’ Puma operators, 33 Squadron. 

The Puma HC Mk1 reached its Out of Service date with the Royal Air Force in December 2012.  After a life extension programme to deliver a significantly upgraded aircraft, the Puma HC Mk2 took to the skies with an RAF crew in September 2013. The Puma HC Mk2 boasts two new powerful engines, which provides a major increase in performance, especially in hot and high conditions, and an additional internal fuel tank that increases its range and endurance. The new glass cockpit includes a world-class four axis digital autopilot, secure communications and an advanced Flight Management System. Since spring 2015 the Puma HC2 has been operating in Kabul, Afghanistan as part of NATO’s RESOLUTE SUPPORT Mission and the United Kingdom’s Operation TORAL