Wattisham Airfield is the home to the British Army’s Apache helicopter gunship fleet in the form of 3 Regiment and 4 Regiment Army Air Corp (AAC). Both these regiments have been taking turns in deploying to Afghanistan as part of Op HERRICK in support of the ISFA ground forces.The British Apache is build under license by Westland in the UK and has a number of differences from the US version. All of the fleet are the Longbow version feature the prominent fire control radar on top of the rotor. They use a more powerful Rolls Royce engine (featuring 25% more power than the US version but is limited by the gearbox in the amount they can use). They also feature a folding tail and blades to allow for them to be deployed onboard aircraft carriers but the most important difference is the HIDAS (Helicopter Integrated Defensive Aid Suite).
You may have noticed that all the Apaches in the photos are looking very clean. They don’t stay in this condition for long when they are deployed to Afghanisatan. Here is what they look like when they return:
Also noted at Wattisham Airfield was this Chinook with a rather interesting history. The Chinook in question is code BN or Bravo November as most people refer to it.
Bravo November was the only Chinook to survive the sinking of the Atlantic Conveyor in the Falklands Conflict. It was also the first British helicopter to land Royal Marines ashore in the Iraq.