British Army Wildcat Reconnaissance Helicopters (RH) operated by 659 Sqn, 1 Regiment Army Air Corps (AAC) began their 2-month deployment, arriving at Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania on 12 March 2022.
The 1,500-mile journey from Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton, Somerset, took the four Wildcat Mk1 helicopters over some notable landmarks including the airfield and camp in Gutersloh, where 1AAC had been stationed 1993-2016.
During the transit across Europe, the 1AAC RH conducted a ‘handover in the sky’ with their Attack Helicopter (AH) colleagues from 4AAC in the skies over Germany prior to their arrival in Lithuania.
Upon arrival, 659 Sqn began the hand-over process from Aviation Task Force 1 (ATF-1) who had previously been operating the Apache Mk1 AH as part of Exercise SABRE STRIKE alongside NATO Forces.
With the aim of building on the relationships and interoperability created by ATF1, the 1AAC Wildcat helicopters, crews and aviation support teams will maintain a UK battlefield helicopter presence in the region.
This deployment will bring about a change in posture from an Aviation Task Force to a Combat Liaison Team (CLT), supporting the enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) battlegroups.
The deployment of British Army RH will demonstrate the role and capabilities of the Wildcat Helicopter to allied personnel already deployed at Siauliai Air Base, increasing the awareness of UK battlefield helicopter’s interoperability.