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14 avril 2014 1 14 /04 /avril /2014 16:35
Apache flies 50,000 hours on operations in Afghanistan

An Apache attack helicopter landing at Camp Bastion (library image) [Picture: Petty Officer (Photographer) Mez Merrill, Crown copyright]


14 April 2014 Ministry of Defence


The British Army's Apache attack helicopters, operated by the Army Air Corps, flew their 50,000th hour on operation in Afghanistan recently.

This represents a third of all UK Apache flying, a huge proportion of the total. Apache helicopters have been conducting operations in Afghanistan since 2006, deploying initially with 16 Air Assault Brigade, shortly after being introduced into service with the British Army. Since then the aircraft have been constantly deployed on Operation Herrick, the UK’s name for operations in Afghanistan, where they provide support to ground forces, tactical strike, reconnaissance, and armed escort to other helicopters.

To maintain Apache’s high tempo of operations, the aircraft are fully supported by air and ground crews from the Army Air Corps (AAC), and technicians from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME). All these soldiers perform a vital function, keeping the aircraft serviceable and airborne.

Ground crew prepare to refuel an Apache helicopter
Army Air Corps ground crew prepare to refuel an Apache helicopter at Camp Bastion (library image) [Picture: Corporal Jamie Peters, Crown copyright]

The current detachment, 664 Squadron AAC, part of 4 Regiment AAC, is commanded by Major Simon Wilsey, who actually flew the 50,000th hour. Major Wilsey said:

The operational tempo we have maintained over the last 8 years has been challenging, but the resilience of our soldiers, and especially that of their families supporting them, is outstanding. I am proud and lucky to command such high calibre, professional soldiers and such an amazing capability as the Apache.

The Apache will continue to play a key role with 16 Air Assault Brigade once operations in Afghanistan draw to a close and the brigade starts to focus on readiness for contingency operations.

Aircraft technicians service an Apache helicopter
Aircraft technicians from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers service an Apache helicopter in Afghanistan (library image) [Picture: Corporal Mark Webster, Crown copyright]

Commander of the Joint Aviation Group, Colonel Jaimie Roylance of the Royal Marines, said:

This immaculately versatile machine has, for nearly 8 years, been the most clinically precise and effective attack helicopter when it has needed to be. But, equally, and sometimes at the same time, it has been the most wonderfully effective keeper of the peace, and protector of the vulnerable in its escort and deterrent roles.

There is a vital role for the Apache now, but I am just as sure that there will be an essential role for this exceptional helicopter, and for the force which flies and maintains her, in the years to come after Afghanistan.

Ground crew reload ammunition onto an Apache
Army Air Corps ground crew reloading ammunition onto an Apache attack helicopter in Afghanistan (library image) [Picture: Corporal Jamie Peters, Crown copyright]
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24 septembre 2013 2 24 /09 /septembre /2013 11:50
photo UK MoD

photo UK MoD

Bordes, le 24 septembre 2013 Turbomeca (Safran)


Turbomeca (Safran) assurera l’entretien des moteurs RTM 322 motorisant les hélicoptères Merlin et Apache du ministère britannique de la Défense (UK MoD). Ce contrat de services innovant représente un montant de 367 millions de livres Sterling (environ 425 millions d’euros).


D’une durée de six ans, ce contrat, qui regroupe de multiples accords d’entretien, actuels au sein d’une seule et même offre globale, permettra au ministère britannique de la Défense de bénéficier d’un niveau de disponibilité garanti pour ses moteurs RTM 322. Ce contrat permettra également de réduire les coûts de réparation, et donc d’améliorer le niveau de service pour les opérations de première ligne.


L’entretien sera effectué sur quatre bases principales au Royaume-Uni : RAF Benson, RNAS Culdrose, AAC Wattisham et AAC Middle Wallop.


Le RTM 322 étant aujourd’hui 100 % Turbomeca*, l’entretien des moteurs exploités par le ministère britannique de la Défense relèvera de la responsabilité de Turbomeca UK, basée à Fareham dans le Hampshire. Olivier Andriès, PDG de Turbomeca, a déclaré : « Grâce à ce contrat, les forces armées britanniques bénéficieront d’un niveau de disponibilité et de capacité plus élevé de leur flotte d’hélicoptères, avec un gain en efficacité et en rentabilité. »


Air Commodore Mark Sibley, responsable de la maintenance des hélicoptères Apache et Chinook du ministère britannique de la Défense, a ajouté : « La flotte Merlin et Apache a été largement exploitée en Afghanistan et constitue un élément clé de nos forces armées. Ce contrat apporte de multiples avantages pour nos équipages : une disponibilité et fiabilité accrues à coûts réduits. »


* Le 2 septembre 2013, Safran (NYSE Euronext Paris : SAF) a finalisé l’acquisition à Rolls-Royce de la participation de 50 % de cette dernière dans leur programme commun de turbines d’hélicoptère RTM 322.




    Les moteurs RTM 322 équipent les hélicoptères Merlin de la Royal Air Force (force aérienne britannique) et de la Royal Navy (marine royale britannique), de même que l’hélicoptère de combat Apache de l’Army Air Corps (l’aviation de l’armée de terre britannique).

    Le moteur RTM 322 Mk100 est entré en service en 1999 sur la flotte d’hélicoptères Merlin HM Mk1 de la Royal Navy à l’issue d’un appel d’offres.




Turbomeca (Safran) est le motoriste leader pour hélicoptères, avec la plus large gamme de moteurs au monde et 70 000 turbines de sa conception produites depuis l’origine de la société. Pour 2 500 clients répartis dans 155 pays, Turbomeca assure un service de proximité grâce à 16 établissements, 30 centres de maintenance certifiés et 18 centres de réparation & révision, et 90 représentants commerciaux et techniques. Le siège social est basé à Bordes (Pyrénées-Atlantiques). Microturbo, la filiale de Turbomeca, est leader européen des turboréacteurs pour missiles, engins-cibles et groupes auxiliaires de puissance.

Plus d’informations sur www.turbomeca.fr et www.safran-group.com

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7 mai 2013 2 07 /05 /mai /2013 15:50
A French Army Gazelle and an Apache from the Army Air Corps [Picture: Corporal Obi Igbo, UK MoD]

A French Army Gazelle and an Apache from the Army Air Corps [Picture: Corporal Obi Igbo, UK MoD]

3 May 2013 Ministry of Defence


The working relationship between the British and French Army's attack helicopters has taken off during a major military exercise.


Apaches from the Army Air Corps and Gazelles from the French Army have forged an operational partnership during demanding training on Exercise Joint Warrior in the West Freugh area of Scotland.

The helicopters were taking part in joint training to prepare 16 Air Assault Brigade and the 11th Parachute Brigade, the British and French Army’s rapid reaction forces, respectively, to be able to deploy side-by-side on contingency operations ranging from disaster relief to war-fighting.

Two missions tested the ability of the attack helicopters to work together. Under British command, Apaches and Gazelles escorted helicopters carrying troops from 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment. The attack helicopters then hit targets on the ground with cannon and missiles to clear the way for the infantry to assault a position.

Apache and Gazelle helicopters
Apache and Gazelle helicopters during a training mission on Exercise Joint Warrior [Picture: Corporal Obi Igbo, Crown copyright]

A similar escort mission under French leadership saw targets identified and marked by Gazelles for the Apaches to strike, and vice-versa.

Gazelle pilot Captain Pierre-Alain Goujard said:

To be appointed as the air mission commander for such a huge air assault was both an honour and a challenge. How would we deal with target handovers, troop-lifts and relief in place all at once?

But what could have seemed either over-ambitious or tentative proved to be efficient. Our procedures are near identical, our aircraft have complementary capabilities and, last but not least, language hasn’t been a factor.

This training has shown that joint working between French and British attack helicopters is a hard fact, not just politics.

An Apache and a Gazelle helicopter
An Apache from the Army Air Corps and a French Army Gazelle in action [Picture: Corporal Obi Igbo, Crown copyright]

The Apaches were flown and maintained by soldiers from 656 Squadron, 4 Regiment Army Air Corps, which is based at Wattisham in Suffolk.

Officer Commanding 656 Squadron, Major Piers Lewis, said:

This is the first time we have worked alongside French Gazelles and we’ve really taken forward the integration of our aviation forces. To fly side-by-side on missions and exchange targets between us on our first attempt at joint operations is a fantastic achievement.

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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