united kingdom Army Air Corps

AAC - British Army


The Army Air Corps role is to fly combat missions, provide combat support and combat service support to the UK Field Army and NATO ground forces. Its role has recently been supplemented by the formation of Joint Helicopter Command, which has integrated the RAF troop and vehicle carrying support helicopters under a single command. The AAC is organised into six Regiments (each with two or three Squadrons), one Training Regiment and a number of independent Squadrons and smaller Flights.
Originally, the Royal Flying Corps was part of the Army before it was merged with the Royal Naval Air Service in April 1918 to form the Royal Air Force. It would be nearly forty years later that the Army was to control its own air support again. Army flying within the RAF had experimented with the pre-war Rota autogyros and the Hoverfly II around 1946 for co-operation trials. The Army Air Corps (AAC) itself was formed on 1 Sep 1957 by the amalgamation of the ex RAF Air Observation Post (AOP) squadrons and the ex RAF Light Liaison Flights, which themselves formed when the glider units from the Second World War were disbanded.
Despite the effort in formulating, lobbying and planning the Army Air Corps, the transition from the RAF when it actually happened from 1 Sep 1957, was poorly handled. There were shortages of air and ground crew, with a drop in volunteers for secondment from other units (partly as a result of the initial effects of the end of National Service, in Apr 1957) and it took over a year before maintenance of the relatively small fleet could be assumed by the REME.

In response to a general lack of confidence in the newly formed AAC from the front line, the looming manpower crisis (brought on by a lack of secondments), and a perceived need for immediate response to air support requests, Major-General Pat Weston, instigated a 5 year programme of integration on 11 Nov 1964, to decentralise and administer, operate and maintain light aircraft at unit level (eg 17/21 Lancers) as an Air Troop, near the front line.
The integration strategy succeeded in providing a responsive service and boosting confidence in and awareness of, the expanded capabilities of the AAC. But it severely taxed the ability of the maintenance organisation to keep complex machines flying when widely dispersed, without the logistic benefits of having economically viable concentrations of spares and skills in a relatively few locations. By 1967 it was clear that some pulling back from full integration at lowest level was required and a re-organisation was instigated, which was largely complete by 1971 during which time Air Troops were brought under administrative control of Flights and Squadrons, units were amalgamated and assigned to support higher level field formations.
The first purpose-built helicopters (the Skeeter AOP) entered AAC service in Oct 1958 for light liaison and observation duties but their use in supporting ground forces began in anger around 1962 in Aden, Malaysia and Kenya with the Alouette II, Scout and Sioux.


The British Army Wildcat Helicopter, 20-Dec-19 : #Wildcat Review of the Leonardo AW159 operated by the British Army Air Corps. The 1st Regiment is the Army’s reconnaissance force and operator of the Wildcat AH.1

British Merlin and Apache RTM322 Engines, 24-Jun-19 : #RTM322 Safran signed three-year contract extension with UK’ Ministry of Defence to support over 400 RTM322 engines used by Royal Navy Merlin and British Army Apache fleets

Wildcat and Apache in Norway for Exercise Clockwork, 09-Mar-19 : #WinterTraining Royal Navy’ 847 Naval Air Squadron Wildcats and Apaches from AAC 656 Squadron in Norway for annual winter training during arctic NATO exercise Clockwork

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Model Types

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  B AH-64E Apache2022
  AW AW159 Wildcat AH1 2011
  AW Lynx AH9A2220092015
  EC AS365N3 Dauphin 262008
  Westland WAH-64 Apache672000
  EC AS350BB Ecureuil1219972018
  Bell 212 91995
  Agusta A109 Hirundo419822009
  Westland Lynx 14019772018
  SNIA SA341B Gazelle AH.12121973
  Westland Sioux19319651978
  Agusta AB475019641978
  Saunders Roe Saro P.531319611963
  Westland Scout15019611994
  SNIA SE3130 Alouette II1719581988
  Saunders Roe Skeeter6719581967

Bases and Locations

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Base / HeliportUnits on this Location
   AAC Dishforth659 Squadron 2008/   
661 Squadron 2013/   
672 Squadron 1992/   
   AAC Middle Wallop670 Squadron 1989/   
668 Squadron
671 Squadron
673 Squadron 2003/   
Historic Aircraft Flight
D&TS 1967/   
   AAC Wattisham653 Squadron 1993/   
656 Squadron 2007/   
662 Squadron 1993/   
663 Squadron 1993/   
664 Squadron 2007/   
3 REGT 1993/   
4 REGT 1995/   
   Aldergrove655 Squadron 1991/   
665 Squadron 1986/   
651 Squadron 2008/   
5 REGT 1993/   
   BN Anduki Airfield7 Flt 1998/   
   CA CFB Suffield29 Flt 2001/   
   Credenhill658 Squadron 2013/   
   DE Detmold659 Squadron 1977/   
   KE Nanyuki Airport25 flt 2013/   
   RAF Odiham657 Squadron 2000/   
   RAF Shawbury660 Squadron 1997/   
   RNAS Yeovilton652 Squadron 2013/   
1 REGT 2013/   

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