Two Apache helicopters from 664 Squadron, Army Air Corps, perform landing practice onboard HMS Illustrious. Photo Dean Nixon UK MoD
Mar 21, 2015 - defense-update.com
The British Army will most likely cannibalize the 16 helicopters, providing key spare parts and subsystems to maintain the remaining operational fleet until the next major upgrade of the British Apaches.
The UK has mothballed a quarter of its AgustaWestland-Boeing WAH-64 Apache Longbow AH.1 helicopters following the end of combat operations in Afghanistan. According to IHS Jane’s, 16 of the Army’s 66 Apaches were placed into storage, leaving a force of 50 helicopters.
The Army currently operates four squadrons at Wattisham Airfield in Suffolk, home for the 3rd and 4th Air regiments and 653 Operational Conversion Unit (OCU). The Army has not announced yet, whether the reduction will draw the stand down of some operational units or implemented proportionally across the fleet. In its Strategic Defense & Security Review of 2010 and 2012 planning round the Ministry of Defense identified the need to reduce the number of Apache helicopters after completing the drawdown in Afghanistan, an action that has been implemented since January 2015.