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British AH Mk.1 Apache helicopters make Arctic debut


The British Army’s Apache attack helicopters are making their flying debut inside the Arctic Circle. Facing temperatures dropping to -30C and white-out flying conditions, 656 Squadron 4 Regiment Army Air Corps (4 Regt AAC) is taking part in Exercise Clockwork at Bardufoss in Norway.


British AH Mk.1 Apache helicopters make Arctic debut A key role for 4 Regt AAC is to maintain a force of Apaches on standby to provide an aviation strike capability to the Royal Marines of 3 Commando Brigade, the British military’s extreme cold weather warfare specialists (Picture source: British MoD)


4 Regt AAC is part of Attack Helicopter Force, based at Wattisham Flying Station in Suffolk, and is in itself part of Joint Helicopter Command, which brings together helicopters from the Royal Navy, Army and RAF. The Apaches are flying alongside the Wildcat battlefield reconnaissance helicopters of the Commando Helicopter Force, learning how to operate together in some of the harshest weather conditions. Training in the Arctic builds on the Apache’s battle-winning abilities that have already been proved on combat operations in the maritime and desert environments.

A key role for 4 Regt AAC is to maintain a force of Apaches on standby to provide an aviation strike capability to the Royal Marines of 3 Commando Brigade, the British military’s extreme cold weather warfare specialists.

The AgustaWestland Apache is a licence-built version of the Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter for the British Army Air Corps. The first eight helicopters were built by Boeing; the remaining 59 were assembled by Westland Helicopters (now part of Leonardo) at Yeovil, Somerset in England from Boeing-supplied kits. Changes from the AH-64D include Rolls-Royce Turbomeca engines, a new electronic defensive aids suite and a folding blade mechanism allowing the British version to operate from ships. The helicopter was initially designated WAH-64 by Westland Helicopters and was later given the designation Apache AH Mk 1 (also written as "Apache AH1") by the Ministry of Defence.