Joint Helicopter Command
The Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) was formed in 1999 to bring together under one command the battlefield helicopters of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force. The JHC operates over 250 aircraft including the Sea King and Lynx helicopters of the Royal Navy's Commando Helicopter Force; the Chinook, Puma and Merlin helicopters of the Royal Air Force and the Apache, Lynx, Gazelle and Bell 212 helicopters and the Islander/Defender fixed wing aircraft of the Army Air Corps (AAC).
The principle Army formation under command is 16 Air Assault Brigade, the newest and largest brigade in the British Army. Formed in 1999 and based in Colchester, the brigade has already served in Macedonia, Iraq and Afghanistan. 16 Brigade is the Army's primary rapid reaction formation, equipped and manned so that it can be used throughout the spectrum of conflict from humanitarian tasks, such as disaster relief at one extreme, through to high intensity warfighting at the other.
The JHC includes all front-line elements of the Army Air Corps. 1 and 5 Regiments AAC are based in Germany and Northern Ireland respectively. 3, 4 and 9 Regiments AAC are part of 16 Air Assault Brigade. 6 and 7 Regiments AAC are Territorial regiments; 7 Regiment AAC (V) operates within the United Kingdom from its base at Netheravon, Wiltshire and the newly created 6 Regiment AAC (V) is based at Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk. In addition to the regiments, the Army Air Corps have a number of independent flights under the command of JHC; these are based in Canada, Belize and Brunei.
Overall the JHC employs over 15,000 personnel, some 8,000 of whom are in 16 Air Assault Brigade. This figure includes over 900 volunteer reserves from the Territorial Army and Royal Auxiliary Air Force, and 380 MOD civilian staff.
The Headquarters of the Joint Helicopter Command is co-located with the Headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief Land Forces at Wilton near Salisbury.