Probe after helicopters get into a lather

An investigation is underway today after six Apache attack helicopters had to be dried-out and cleaned when they were accidently showered with foam.

WATTISHAM: An investigation is underway today after six Apache attack helicopters had to be dried-out and cleaned when they were accidently showered with foam.

The helicopters were inside an aircraft hangar at Wattisham Flying Station at Wattisham Airfield when the fire suppression system was activated.

The system automatically sprayed a large amount of foam throughout the hangar, coating the elite attack aircraft, which are operated by the Army Air Corps.

An MOD spokesman said the aircraft would soon be back in action after being cleaned up.


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He said: “Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, December 9, the fire suppression system was activated in one of the aircraft hangars at Wattisham which released a quantity of foam into that hangar.

“In reaction to the fire alarm, duty staff quickly removed six Apache from the affected hangar. The aircraft have been cleaned and dried and will shortly return to their scheduled programmes.”

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The spokesman said the impact on flying training and operations was “negligible” and confirmed that the matter was being investigated.

He added: “Investigations are now being conducted to identify what caused the fire suppression system to operate.”

Colonel David Turner, Wattisham Station Commander, said the foam burst was part of routine safety precautions.

He said: “This does not affect the operational capability of the Apache Helicopter Force, currently being used so successfully in Afghanistan.

“The Fire Suppression System is there to protect these aircraft from fire and we are confident would do so when necessary.”

Wattisham Airfield is home to 3 and 4 Regiments of the Army Air Corps, part of 16 Air Assault Brigade.

The regiments use AugustaWestland Apache attack helicopters that have a top speed of more than 180mph and can carry Hellfire missiles, CRV7 rockets and M230 chain guns.

Earlier this year Prince Charles visited the airfield and spoke to Apache pilots and ground crew after their return from Afghanistan.

Have you got a story? Call the newsdesk on 01473 324790 or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk

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