|By Dave Taskis|
Built by Westland at Yeovil (up to XZ337, c/n 1677) and Weston-super-Mare (XZ338, c/n 1682 onwards).
Also used by Royal Marines.
In July 2016 was announced that the current 34 AAC Gazelles AH.1 ( 19 in use and 15 in routine maintenance ) will remain in service until 2025 under new support contracts to be signed with Cobham Aviation Services, Airbus Helicopters, Leonardo Helicopters and Safran Helicopter Engines.
I also served at Wolfenbuttel with these Gazelles. The REGN nos were xx384, xx386 and xx388.
An interesting read.I was also attached to the 17/21 and 16/5 Lancers Air Squadrons from Apr 1972 until Jun of 1975 as a REME Aircraft technician.Have flown in all of those aircraft as Tech/Observer and was also part of the crews that flew the delivery flights of XX384 and XX388 to Wolfenbüttel from RNAY Wroughton in late April 1975.The Gazelle felt like an F1 racer compared to the Sioux which was flown with the 17/21st.I have been a keen military aircraft historian since my school days and in the majority of books I have about the AAC there is very little recognition of the Independent Air Sqdns/Troops and Flights that operated from the mid 60,s to the late 70,s.Only those that served with these types of units know the truth.The two best postings that I ever had. Steve Szrama. -
I served with several independent Air Squadrons/Troops as an Aircraft Tech starting with the Royal Scots Greys as well as Wolfenbüttel with Steve Szarma The Gazelle was a very simple aircraft to look after and reliable. It transformed what could be done for reconnaissance with its speed and maneuverability and later, with the Ferranti sight and teamed with Lynx, what was possible in HELARM. It was also very survivable and hit the deck at close to VNE in Canada once with the crew "walking away". In several other crashes I knew of its composite structure seemed to absorb/attenuate shock well so while the aircraft might almost disintegrate many severe crashes were survivable. I would love to see its service with 17/21 and 16/5 Lancers added in to the historical record, for example besides taking our aircraft to NI for Op Banner we took it to Berlin from Wolfenbüttel (flew from Hanover) in an RAF Belfast, before 7 Flt had them, and were up and running within the hour after arriving at RAF Gatow. We flew completely around Berlin indeed I believe the photo on the web attributed to 7 Flt hovering in front of the Brandenburg gate is actually our (Lancers) aircraft, we certainly took photos like that. Our Gazelle also visited the Olympic stadium there but I have not seen any photos since. Michael Thomas -
UK Gazelle Support Contract Through 2022, 08-Mar-18 : Vector Aerospace, a StandardAero company, to provide maintenance support for the 26 UK Army Air Corps Gazelle at Fleetlands between April 2018 and June 2022
Gazelle 40 years training British military pilots, 15-Jul-14 : Farnborough, UK – The important role of Airbus Helicopters in the ab-initio training of British military rotorcraft pilots is being marked by Airbus Helicopters during this week’s Farnborough Airshow.