The Army's aircraft enable our soldiers to carry out vital roles including reconnaissance missions and casualty evacuations, as well as troop transport and high-tech, anti-tank combat. The Apache attack helicopter is probably the most sophisticated piece of equipment in the world available to front-line troops.
AH-64E - Apache attack helicopter
Designed to find and destroy air defence units, tanks and armoured vehicles, the Apache attack helicopter has utility beyond its primary role, capable of a wide range of battlefield tasks that include Intelligence, Surveillance Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR), Escort/Force Protection and Command and Control (C2). The Apache can operate in all weathers, day or night and has significantly enhanced the Army's Air Manoeuvre capability.
Using the distinctive Longbow radar located above the main rotor blades, the Apache can detect and classify up to 256 potential targets, display 128 of these to the crew and prioritise the top 16 threats, all in a matter of seconds. It carries a mix of weapons that include a 30mm chain gun, 70mm rockets and Hellfire missiles to provide choice for the commander and flexibility during the mission.
In addition to the Longbow radar, the aircraft is equipped with optical and thermal imaging sights that are used to visually identify potential targets and pilot the aircraft at night and in low visibility conditions. Range and endurance can be increased using wing-mounted fuel tanks to provide a more persistent presence across a wider area. To increase its survivability, the Apache is fitted with a state of the art, fully integrated Defensive Aid Suite to protect the aircraft and crew.
In service date
2 x General Electric T700-GE-701D Turboshafts
Radius of Action
Main rotor diameter
16 x Hellfire missiles
76 x Hydra-70 rockets
1,200 x 30mm cannon rounds
The Army Wildcat Mk1 helicopter will perform a range of tasks on the battlefield including reconnaissance, command and control, transportation of troops and material, and the provision of force protection.
It is fitted with new Light Helicopter Turbine Engine Company (LHTEC) CTS800-4N engines, which are significantly more powerful than those in its predecessor, the Lynx, enabling it to operate in extreme conditions and at high altitudes.
The Wildcat is fitted with a nose mounted MX-15 Wescam Electro Optical Device (EOD) enabling it to detect targets by day and night at significant range.
The name Wildcat recalls the name given to the Grumman F4F which was widely used during the Second World War. The aircraft ceased operational service in 1945 but some flying aircraft remain, including one in the collection of the Imperial War Museum Duxford.
Light Helicopter Turbine Engine Company (LHTEC) CTS800-4N
291 kph (180 mph)
Watchkeeper - Uncrewed Air System
Watchkeeper is a certified Uncrewed Aircraft System (UAS) equipped with a configurable intelligence and reconnaissance payload. Watchkeeper is operated by the Royal Artillery (RA) and maintained by the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME).
The system provides the Army’s Land Tactical Deep Find capability which is an essential element of the Future Land Combat System. Watchkeeper supports Corps and Divisional understanding and the ability to enable long-range targeting of enemy activity, during the day and at night.
It is built in the UK, and has been used successfully in Afghanistan, where it played a crucial protective role for British troops. Since the first flight in 2010, Watchkeeper has accumulated close to 4,000 flying hours.
Watchkeeper is an intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) asset, that can collect, process and disseminate high quality imagery intelligence as part of a layered and integrated ISTAR ecosystem. The radar can detect movement across thousands of square kilometres using Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) functionality and, in Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) mode, it can provide high-quality images, including through cloud, from long ranges. It has day and night cameras with the power to identify targets from significant stand-off ranges and a laser sub-system for range-finding, target marking and target designation to support long-range strike. Radar and camera imagery from Watchkeeper can be networked to senior commanders and analysts, troops on the ground and to pass targets to other ISTAR assets or strike assets.
Watchkeeper is a system of systems, consisting of Air Vehicles (AV), Ground Control Stations (GCS), ground equipment for take-off and recovery, and Ground Data Terminals. It is designed to operate in range of ground and air conditions and is equipped to support a wide range of military and security missions. Uniquely, it’s high stand-off sensors and resilience communications systems make it survivable in high-threat environments while it’s certification means it can fly in the UK and in the full range of operations and theatres.
The Watchkeeper system was built in the UK by Thales, with a UK supply chain supporting British manufacturing jobs. The system has undergone rigorous flight testing in west Wales and continues to be developed and improved.
The 47th Regiment Royal Artillery, based at Larkhill, Wiltshire is responsible for Watchkeeper, with troops from that Regiment being trained in how to safely and effectively operate the system.
Troops undertake a bespoke UAS pilot training programme within the Regiment, with a pilots’ aptitude test selecting the best candidates to go forward for further training. A state-of-the-art simulator is used to train all pilots ahead of live flying which is currently being conducted in Fort Bliss, Texas. Fully qualified soldiers who have completed all necessary qualifications earn the prestigious Army Watchkeeper Pilot brevet (wings) to wear on their uniform.
Across the Regiment, soldiers and officers fulfil four main roles:
Aircrew: Pilots and mission controllers, supported by Image Analysts from the Intelligence Corps, fly the aircraft and deliver the mission.
Groundcrew: Groundcrew prepare, launch and recover the aircraft and ensure it is safe to fly.
Engineers: REME aviation engineers maintain all elements of the system in line with aviation engineering standards.
Support staff: Specialist flight operations, logistics and administration personnel provide essential support to the deployed detachment.
6.5 metres long,
10.9 metres wingspan
|Range from ground station
Airbus 135 'Juno'
The Juno is a helicopter produced by Airbus Helicopters and first entered service on 12 May 2017.
The modern aircraft is the training helicopter of choice for the tri-service Defence Helicopter Flying School based out of RAF Shawbury and first was used by students in 2018.
This twin-engine helicopter is the perfect platform for instructing all the different flying techniques required of new pilots.