Wattisham: Apache exercise hinges on French connection

British and French attack and support helicopters on a combined mission during Exercise Joint Warri

British and French attack and support helicopters on a combined mission during Exercise Joint Warrior. - Credit: Cpl Obi Igbo

THE working relationship between the British and French Army’s attack helicopters has taken off through a major military exercise.

Apaches from the Army Air Corps and Gazelles from the French Aviation Légère de l’Armée de Terre forged an operational partnership while training on Exercise Joint Warrior.

The helicopters were training to prepare 16 Air Assault Brigade and the 11e Brigade Parachutiste to be able to deploy on operations ranging from disaster relief to war fighting.

In the exercise, Apaches and Gazelles escorted helicopters carrying troops from 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment before the attack helicopters hit targets on the ground with cannon and missiles to clear the way for the infantry to assault a position.

The Apaches were flown by soldiers from 656 Squadron, 4 Regiment Army Air Corps, based at Wattisham. Officer commanding Major Piers Lewis said: “There’s a natural affinity between pilots and we speak the same vocabulary in the air, which has really enabled us to work together fluently. This exercise has put us in a good place if we are called on to do a joint operation.”


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