The 20S squadron had been created from the Helicopter Section belonging to the 10S squadron (created in 1954) based at NAS Fréjus-Saint Raphaël on February 1st 1956 ; led by LV Rigoulot and equipped with 2 Hup-2s, a Westland 55 and 2 Sikorsky S-55s. In 1956, the CEPA took delivery of 4 HSS-1s sonar trials, 2 were fitted with the SACM and two with the AN/AQS-4. Mine sweeping trials took place in Brest in March 1957 involving 2 H-21 of the French Army. On December 2nd, Malpasset dike broke, causing the death of 433 people and the destruction of 9 helicopters :
The salvaged aircraft are an Alouette II and a Bell-47 (with floats).
SA-321G Super Frelon
The detachment is opened in 1965 . In July 1967, Super Frelon N° 102 is delivered to squadron 20S; 2 more aircraft arrive in October and November. In December, the ASW version is operational. That same month, squadron 27S is activated at the CEP (Pacific Test Center); 20S provides 4 SA-321s. In 1970, 20S only has 2 helicopters left.
In 1962, the CEPA designs the Pedro Alouette III. In 1969, tests start to study their deployments on C-67 corvettes. July 1st 1973, the detachment of SA-319B (MAD, Mk.44 and landing harpoon) is opened; the first aircraft is delivered October 18th. Febuary 1st 1974, Alouette III N° 2082 crashes, the Astazou XIV turbine is upgraded. September 9th the Alouette III-ASM (ASW) becomes squadron 34F. In October a detachment is sent on the Tourville frigate; in December 34F squadron moves to Lanvéoc-Poulmic. During summer 1975, Greek pilots are trained on the Alouette III in squadron 20S.
In 1971, the decision is made to send a few Lynxs to Fréjus. June 12th 1973, the detachment is officially opened. January 2nd 1974, testing of the ORB-31 radar starts. From March 19 to 22, British Lynxs perform tests on the Tourville ASW Frigate. Weapons tests are held in 1975 and 1976, and are followed by another detachment, this time on the Duguay-Trouin ASW Frigate. In 1977, Lynx prototypes N° 04 and 05 embark on the De Grasse ASW Frigate.
In January1960, the squadron owned :
In January 1962 :
In 1962-65, new tests concern mine sweeping, the Mk.44, VSV, ASW. The squadron also trains with the Hubert naval-commando (UDT). In 1968, squadron 27S is activated, and in 1970squadron 32F receives its Super Frelons.
Concerning the Lynx program: prototype N°05-04 is assigned to 20S squadron April 14th 1978. May 15-20, tests take place on the Geaorges-Leyguues ASW Frigate. September 28th, the 1st production Lynx flies. In 1978, 20S squadron flies 5 Lynxs that also help train 31F squadron pilots. August 1st 1978 the GIL (Lynx Interest Group) is created; it will close October 1st 1979, after having flown 2000 hours (including 400 by night) and trained 52 pilots (31F, 34F and 35F).October 16-17, the Lynx is tested aboard the Jeanne dArc ; this is followed by one-engine tests aboard the Foch carrier in June-July 1979. July 1st 1980, the detachment is closed.
Late June 1990, 2 AS-365F Dauphin are tested. In October 1993, the AS-565SA Panther is evaluated. In September 1992 the NH-90 detachment is opened at Fréjus, then moves to Chabeuil September 5th 1994. In 1990, the flightline is composed by :
On February 1st 1991, the 10S and the 20S merged.
Test & evaluate new helicopters and equipments (missiles, sonars, decoys...) of the French Navy.
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