A soldier from Great Yarmouth has gone from tinkering with motorbikes to working on the British Army's state-of-the-art AH-64E Apache attack helicopter.
After finishing his studies at Cliff Park High School, Jude joined the Army three years ago and did his basic training at Army Foundation College Harrogate.
“I didn’t want to go to university and get in debt, and I wanted a bit of a different career that gave me good skills and qualifications - the Army seemed to fit that,” the 19-year-old said.
“I went down the engineering route because I always had motorbikes growing up and would take them apart and try and put them back together again, with varying degrees of success! I’ve made quite a step up from that to be working on the Apache.”
Jude was deployed on Exercise Iron Titan on windswept Salisbury Plain, as part a team of technicians living and working in the field to keep the Apaches in flying and fighting condition.
The AH-64E is the most advanced and capable attack helicopter in the world and, for me as an engineer, I want to be working on the best technology." LCpl Jude Webster
3 Regt AAC
During the exercise he said: “At Wattisham, we’re working in an enclosed hangar with all the tools and spares we need to hand - being out in the field makes it that much harder to do the job,” he said. “We have to plan more, think about the kind of jobs we might have to do and make sure we deploy with everything needed to keep the helicopters flying, but also be willing to improvise."
“Living in the field, we also have to work to keep ourselves in good condition to be able to do our job. There’s no room for error because we’re not firing blanks on exercise, we’re doing our actual job with a lot of responsibility to ensure aircraft are well-maintained and safe to fly.”
After the exercise, Jude was going to the USA for a three-week course to develop his technical knowledge of the AH-64E, which entered service with the Army in 2021.
“The AH-64E is the most advanced and capable attack helicopter in the world and, for me as an engineer, I want to be working on the best technology,” he said. “The aircraft is still new to the Army and we’re still learning about its capabilities.”
The British Army is recruiting right now to fill 10,000 jobs across the UK with more than 200 roles to choose from, covering everything from frontline combat and cyber security to helicopter pilots, chefs and vital support roles.
If you’re aged 16 to 50 and if you want to find out more about a career in the Army, read more here.