British Army, Army Air Corps, 3 Regiment (3 Regt AAC), Apaches on Exercise Talon (Crown Copyright, 2018)

Army Air Corps on Ex Talon Python

3 Regiment Army Air Corps Training with Apache and Wildcat Helicopters

3 Regiment Army Air Corps (3 Regt AAC) will fly formations of up to four Apaches and two Wildcats from their base at Wattisham Flying Station in Suffolk on simulated missions to find and strike targets in Scotland and the North of England. Running from 12-23 November, Exercise Talon Python will bring Apache and Wildcat crews together for training for the first time.

Apaches from 3 Regiment Army Air Corps

3 Regt AAC’s Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Nick English said: “This is the culmination of a steady progression of training. It will test the skills of both air and ground crew, our logistic skills, mission planning and communications.”

The Apache Attack Helicopter can operate in all weathers, day or night and detect, classify and prioritize up to 256 potential targets in a matter of seconds. It can deliver hard-hitting and effective support to ground forces during battle.

It can also carry out reconnaissance. From high above the action, it can observe enemy forces and pass information to troops on the ground.

On Wednesday, 14th November, the aircraft replenished at a Forward Arming and Refuelling Point (FARP) set up at Kendrew Barracks, Cottesmore.

Wildcats from 659 Squadron, 1 Regiment Army Air Corps

Captain Stuart Jump, Operating Officer of 659 Squadron, said “This exercise is important because it’s the first time that Wildcat and Apache have worked together in a sustained role.”

659 Squadron AAC is a squadron of the British Army’s Army Air Corps. Part of 1 Regt AAC, 659 Squadron is headquartered at
RNAS Yeovilton. Now equipped with Wildcat helicopters, the Squadron previously flew the Lynx.

The Wildcat can provide a range of tasks including reconnaissance and transportation of troops. During the exercise it will be providing force protection on the Exercise. The groundcrew will include Petroleum Specialists, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and Communication Specialists. The soldiers will need to conduct a site survey analysis, study the wind direction at the location, complete routine fuel testing and calculate expected resupply.

Lt Col. English told Forces.net that “There’s still quite a few people who have operated in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last ten to fifteen years, but of course that sort of finished three, four, five years ago. So lots of our junior soldiers haven’t had that experience before. [Exercises] are really important in terms of helping them understand the lessons that we’ve learnt from fifteen years ago.”

Lt Col. English kept Twitter followers up to date on Exercise Talon Python as it happened.

The Exercise has been reported under the names Talon Python (British Army website) and Iron Python (CO 3 Regt AAC). 27 Regiment RLC, 101 Logistic Brigade (Iron Vipers) provided support during the Exercise.


Sources: British Army; Forces.net; CO 3 Regt AAC

Image: Pictured are four Apache attack helicopters operated by 3 Regiment Army Air Corps during Exercise Talon Gravis in June 2018 (Crown Copyright, 2018).

Army aviators have demonstrated the range and power of the punch their Apache attack helicopters can deliver. Exercise Talon Gravis has seen 3 Regiment Army Air Corps (3 Regt AAC) launch formations of up to eight Apaches from their base at Wattisham Flying Station in Suffolk to find and strike targets on land and at sea more than 300 miles away. Flying against simulated enemy air defences, missions have ranged from a daylight attack on shipping in the English Channel off Plymouth to hunting armoured vehicles on Salisbury Plain under the cover of darkness. The Apaches were replenished at a Forward Arming and Refuelling Point (FARP) – the military equivalent of a Formula 1 pit stop – set up at Keevil airfield on Salisbury Plain. 3 Regt AAC’s role is to provide an aviation deep manoeuvre battlegroup – made up of attack, reconnaissance and transport helicopters – to 3rd (UK) Division, the British Army’s high readiness warfighting division.