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  • Westland Scout
    united kingdom Army Air Corps

    Del'd: 150 - 1961 to 1994


    British Scout Helicopter, Border Surveillance Hong Kong 1980
    The Scout was the British Armys first turbine powered helicopter. The first firm order came from the Army Air Corps, a pre-series batch of P.531-2 Mk.1s basically similar to c/n S2/5311 being ordered in 1959. The first of these was flown in Aug 1960, and in the following month an order for 66 was placed by the Army for the type as the Scout AH Mk.1. Delivered from spring 1963, these were fitted with Nimbus 101 or 102 engines and skid landing gear but engine problems prevented them from becoming fully operational until 1963, leading to a small order for Alouettes as an interim measure. Indeed, so poor was the initial engine life that a number of fixed-wing Austers were kept on in some units to supplement time in the air, for the number of Scouts on charge. The Scout replaced the Skeeter, both at home and abroad and it was employed for duties that included passenger or freight transport, liaison, search and rescue, and training.

    The first 16 Scout AH.1 were delivered to Singapore by HMS Bulwark in Apr 1964. The Scout saw service in Borneo and Aden in 1964-65 - at the expense of planned deliveries to BAOR (Germany) - and later in the Falkland Islands, the latter also in the CASEVAC, resupply and Special Forces insertion roles.

    Six Scouts from 3 Commando Brigade Air Squadron RM were in action at the start of the Falklands war along with 3 from 656 Squadron Army Air Corps. 3 more joined 656 Squadron when 5 Infantry Brigade landed. One Scout was shot down during operations. Some Scouts served in Hong Kong, where they were fitted with above-cabin flotation gear because of extensive over-water operations.

    During its deployment to Northern Ireland, the Scout AH.1 was robust and useful. It served between 1969 and 1982, until phased out in favour of the Lynx.

    Although its characteristics were not outstanding, the Scout was used as a light observation and scout helicopter to supplement ground reconnaissance forces in the British Army, a role which was played by the Bell 206 in many other armies and has been superseded by the Westland Lynx. About 150 Scouts served with the British Army and the Royal Marines until Apr 1994.

    666 Squadron at Topcliffe, not 660. Ssgt I/c a/e 1972 to 1974
    658 Sqn then 664 Sqn, Minden, Longkesh, Aldergrove, REME CPL 1976-1977

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    YearsUnitsbold : Current base of the Unit
    1986/94666 Squadron (Volunteers)AAC Netheravon
    1978/94660 SquadronHK Sek Kong
    DE Soest
    1975/    Historic Aircraft Flight AAC Middle Wallop
    1973/78651 SquadronDE Hildesheim
    DE Verden
    1971/81669 SquadronDE Detmold
    Long Kesh
    DE RAF Wildenrath
    1969/834 REGT
    1969/81652 SquadronAldergrove
    Long Kesh
    Long Kesh
    DE Bunde
    1969/80662 SqDE Waterloo Barracks, Münster
    1969/79661 SquadronDE Hildesheim
    Long Kesh
    DE Detmold
    1969/78657 SquadronColchester Kirkee
    Long Kesh
    DE Bournemouth Barracks
    1969/78665 SquadronColchester McMunn
    1969/77660 SquadronLong Kesh
    DE Soest
    RAF Topcliffe
    1969/??27 FltDE Bunde
    1969/??663 Squadron
    1968/691 FltDE Detmold
    1964/693 FltCY Nicosia (Lefkosia)
    1964/67653 Squadron YE Khormaksar / Aden International
    1964/??656 SquadronMY Kluang
    ??/82655 Sq Aldergrove
    AAC Ballykelly
    RAF Topcliffe
    Long Kesh
    DE Detmold
    ??/81659 Squadron AAC Dishforth
    YU Film City
    MK Petrovec
    AAC Wattisham
    Long Kesh
    DE Detmold
    Long Kesh
    Long Kesh
    AAC Ballykelly
    DE Osnabrück