The first regiment equipped with the British Army’s new Apache AH-64E attack helicopters has achieved readiness for frontline deployment.
The Army stated in a press release that during Exercise Iron Titan, 3 Regiment Army Air Corps (3 Regt AAC) underwent comprehensive testing, evaluating all aspects of the unit, including logistics, command and control procedures, and the operation and maintenance of the state-of-the-art AH-64E in field conditions.
This exercise validated 3 Regt AAC in its core mission, providing an aviation deep attack battlegroup, comprising AH-64Es and the Wildcat reconnaissance helicopters of 1 Regiment Army Air Corps, to the 3rd (UK) Division, the British Army’s principal warfighting division.
In this role, the AH-64E plays a pivotal role in shaping how the Army will operate in the future, as outlined in the Future Soldier transformation program.
Over a span of six weeks, 3 Regt AAC deployed from its base at Wattisham Flying Station in Suffolk to establish temporary facilities at Nesscliffe in Shropshire, before moving to Eaglescott and Chivenor in Devon.
During the exercise, strike missions were executed by the AH-64Es on simulated enemy positions spanning from Otterburn in Northumberland to Lydd in Kent.
Throughout the exercise, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) technicians maintained the aircraft, while ground crews efficiently operated Forward Arming and Refuelling Points, akin to a military Formula 1 pit stop, ensuring the aircraft’s fuel tanks and weapons pylons remained fully operational.
Lieutenant Colonel Rich Simcock, Commanding Officer of 3 Regt AAC, emphasized the significance of the AH-64E, stating, “The AH-64E is the most advanced attack helicopter in the world, and the step change it brings in lethality, agility, survivability, and its ability to communicate and integrate with other capabilities is nothing short of revolutionary.”
“To achieve validation, every single function that we deliver as a Regiment has been tested in a realistic scenario that reflects the challenges of modern operations. We have shown how we can sustain ourselves and survive on the battlefield while striking targets far behind enemy lines to give ground troops a decisive advantage,” Lt. Col. Simcock added.
The AH-64E, which replaced the Apache Mk. 1 in 2021, offers enhanced flying performance with new drivetrain and rotor blades. It features improved sights and sensors, advanced communication systems for data sharing with other helicopters, unmanned aircraft systems, and ground forces, as well as embedded maintenance diagnostic systems to increase aircraft availability.
3 Regt AAC’s remarkable progress underscores the commitment and dedication of personnel, including aircrew and engineers who underwent training courses and developed new procedures to harness the AH-64E’s advanced capabilities.