Exercise Talon Gravis has seen 3 Regiment Army Air Corps (3 Regt AAC) launch formations of up to eight Apaches from their base at Wattisham Flying Station in Suffolk to find and strike targets on land and at sea more than 300 miles away.
Flying against simulated enemy air defences, missions have ranged from a daylight attack on shipping in the English Channel off Plymouth to hunting armoured vehicles on Salisbury Plain under the cover of darkness. The Apaches were replenished at a Forward Arming and Refuelling Point (FARP) - the military equivalent of a Formula 1 pit stop – set up at Keevil airfield on Salisbury Plain.
3 Regt AAC’s Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Nick English said: “On its own, a single Apache is a very complex and capable aircraft to operate; the more aircraft that are flying on a mission brings more complexity but also more capability. This has been challenging training that has tested the full range of the Regiment’s skills, from mission planning and command to ground crew maintaining Apaches in the field. I am hugely impressed by how everyone has pulled together to provide a powerful demonstration of our ability to operate in mass against deep targets by day and night.”
3 Regt AAC’s role is to provide an aviation deep manoeuvre battlegroup – made up of attack, reconnaissance and transport helicopters - to 3rd (UK) Division, the British Army’s high readiness warfighting division.