Phantom F4K Royal Navy
Aircraft Carrier Fighter/Supersonic Interceptor
Ground Attack/Strike.

Commission of 1977/1978

  • HMS Ark Royal Sails from Devonport for Post Refit Acceptance Trials the Air group including 892 Sqn Phantom F4K's conduct DLP's.
  • 19th June, trials complete sailed for the Queens Silver Jubilee at Spithead June 28th 1977.
  • Rehearsals and much painting at Spithead 20th/28th June 1977.
  • 30th June Plymouth Sound. Embark mini CAG (Carrier Air Group) including 3 Phantom F4k's of 892 Sqn for pre-final deployment flying trials
  • Navy Days at Devonport followed by leave and modification refit.
  • 1st Sept 1977, sailed from Devonport after refit. For her final deployment.
  • Passage off West Coast of Ireland. Air group embark 5th September.
  • Workup 5th/15th September in Moray Firth. Visit Leith 15th/20th September, then second workup in Moray Firth 20th/28th including night flying.
  • HRH Prince Charles visits 21st September 1977. He experiences a catapult shot, courteously of 809 Buccaneer Sqn.
  • Visit Hamburg 30th September/5th October.
  • 7th/14th October Third Phase Workup in the Moray Firth and ORI.
  • Cdr M.H.G. Layard relieves Cdr R.J. Northard as Cdr (Air)
  • Passage West Coast Ireland
  • Ex Ocean Safari 17th/28th October 1977, starting in Bristol Channel areas progressing through the bay of Biscay, off Lisbon and back to UK waters.11 ships of 8 countries participate. 400 hours of continuous flying operations.
  • Passage to Gibraltar 28th October to 1st November.
  • Gibraltar1st/2nd November
  • Flyex off Sardinia 4th November
  • Malta5th/12th November
  • 12th November passage to Toulon an Ex Isles D'or 15th/26th November. 7 nation exercise including USN CVA Saratoga.
  • Naples28th November 5th December
  • Flyex enroute and at Gibraltar 5th/10th December
  • Air Group disembark Bay of Biscay 12th December
  • Plymouth"C" buoy 15th December 1977. Fog delayed entry. Berthed 16th December at Devonport for leave and DAMP. (Dockyard Assisted Maintenance Period) until February 1978
  • 24834 Nautical miles steamed during deployment
  • 21st February sailed post DAMP sea acceptance sea trials. Lyme Bay, Portland.
  • 22nd Feruary/5th March air group on board.
  • Sea Inspection 27th February
  • 5th March at Plymouth for Families day.
  • Final leave given before the final deployment 5th April 1978 sail Devonport for Westlant deployment 1978. The Final One.
  • 6th April, Air group embarked.
  • 12th April, position off the Azores
  • 17th April, Air group disembark and ship berths at Roosevelt Roads Puerto Rico
  • Sail from Roosevelt Roads
  • 20th April/8th May, Work Up and Atlantic Fleet Weapons Range. Live Missile firing.892 Sqn fire Sparrow and Sidewinders at drone aircraft.
  • 9th/15th May visit the US Virgin Islands, anchored off Charlotte Amalie
  • 15th/30th May 1978 Passage to and work up in the Jacksonville sea areas.
  • Ex Solid Shield. Strike USS John F. Kennedy 23rd/24th May
  • 30th May/14th June 1978. Visit Fort Lauderdale
  • 14th/23rd June Jacksonville Sea areas for private flyex
  • 14th June, 1000th Cat shot and Deck Landing 1978 recorded.
  • 22nd June Air group disembark prior ships visit to Mayport 23rd June/8th August
  • 8th/13th August passage to Norfolk Virginia area and flyex
  • 14th August/21st August visit Norfolk
  • 23rd August leave USA and sail eastward to the Azores, Ex Common Effort until 31st August.
  • 4th/19th September, Ex Northern Wedding.Position 61N20W. 200 ships, nine nations, including USS Forrestal
  • 19th September enter Moray Firth
  • Passage to Gibraltar 20th September/2nd October
  • 2nd October leave Gibraltar for last time flying the 450ft Paying Off Penant
  • 2nd/16th October Ex Display Determination. Ships of 6 nations and USN carriers Forrestal and J.F. Kennedy. 2000 cat shots and arrested landings recorded
  • 16th/21st October 1978 visit Naples
  • 21st/27th November Flyex south east of Sicily
  • 27th October/6th November visit Athens
  • 2nd/6th November Flyex south east of Sicily, exercise with USS Saratoga
  • 6th/16th November Malta. 10,000 people line the grand harbour so see the final farewell.
  • 16th/18th November private flyex south of Sardinia.
  • 18th November 1978, the last fixed wing recoveries are made on board HMS Ark Royal.
  • 20th/25th November visit Palma, Mallorca
  • 27th November 1978, the last fixed wing catapult launches in Royal Navy aviation occur as the squadrons disembark off the south coast of Spain.
  • 28th Nov/4th December. Passage to Devonport
  • Monday 4th December 1978. Ark enters Plymouth sound in procedure Alfa flying the 450 ft paying off pennant. Thousands of people lined the vantage points of Plymouth Sound.
  • 0850 hrs. Captain Anson orders "Ring off main Engines" The reply came so "Engines rung off for the last time, Sir".
  • 42255 Nautical Miles steamed on this final deployment.
Fleet Air Arm Royal Navy
Phantom F4K
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