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Army Air Corps Apaches to Estonia

Photo: Apache Attack Helicopters prepare to take off for Estonia from Wattisham Flying Station in the UK. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson bid farewell to Army aviators as they took off for Estonia, where they will be training alongside NATO forces working to reassure our allies and deter our adversaries. 3 Regiment Army Air Corps is deploying to the Baltics for three months, with Apache attack helicopters of 663 Squadron taking off from their base at Wattisham Flying Station in Suffolk today (Mon 15 Apr). The Apaches will be working in tandem with the Army’s Wildcat battlefield reconnaissance helicopters to provide valuable training opportunities to NATO allies on Estonia’s annual Exercise Spring Storm and to the UK-led battlegroup deployed on NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP). Before the Apaches departed from Wattisham, the Defence Secretary spoke with the soldiers who fly and maintain the aircraft to understand more about its capabilities and their mission.

 

Apache Attack Helicopters prepare to take off for Estonia from Wattisham Flying Station in Suffolk. UK MOD © Crown copyright 2019

A group of Apache attack helicopters of 3 Regiment Army Air Corps left Wattisham Flying Station on April 15 for Estonia to take part in exercises and training with NATO and UK forces.

The Apaches are deploying to Estonia, Latvia and Poland for three months, where they will work with NATO allies on Estonia’s annual Exercise Spring Storm and the UK-led battlegroup deployed on NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) mission. A group of Wildcat battlefield reconnaissance helicopters has already arrived at Tapa in eastern Estonia, it was announced on April 15.

The five helicopters, from 663 Squadron routed to the north and west of London, making a formation flypast over the Polish War Memorial at Northolt, before flying along the Thames heli-lanes and crossing the Channel.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, MP, who watched the formation depart Wattisham said: “The first deployment of Apache helis to Estonia underlines our position at the forefront of NATO. This is a world class machine operated by our world class aviators and this shows our commitment to NATO’s defence. Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to prepare for this.”

 

The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP, is shown the cockpit of an Apache attack helicopter by Maj Tim Pittaway, senior flying instructor for the Attack Helicopter Force at Wattisham Flying Station. UK MOD © Crown copyright 2019 

 

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