Update – IMH 2024: British Army to declare AH-64E ‘operationally ready’

by Gareth Jennings

Seen at a media event at the type's Wattisham Airfield home operating station, the AH-64E will soon be declared to be IOC by the British Army. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

The British Army is to declare its Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter force to be “operationally ready” in the coming days, a senior official said on 28 February.

Speaking at the IQPC International Military Helicopter (IMH) 2024 conference in London, the official who was presenting under the Chatham House Rule said that with 38 of 50 remanufactured airframes now delivered back to the UK and the remainder arriving by the end of 2024, the AH-64E force as a whole will be declared to be ready for operations March.

“We are now nearing [the] end of our AH-64E fielding, and we will bring this capability to operational readiness next month,” the official said.


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RNLAF helps Luftwaffe prepare Chinook capability

by Gareth Jennings

A Dutch Chinook (foreground) arrived at Holzdorf Air Base in mid-April to help the Luftwaffe prepare for the arrival of its own Chinooks into the station from 2027. In the background is a Luftwaffe CH-53G currently based at the location. (Bundeswehr)

The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) is helping the Luftwaffe prepare for its upcoming Chinook heavy-lift helicopter capability, dispatching one of its own helicopters to the type's future operating station in mid-April.

The Bundeswehr said on 18 April that an RNLAF CH-47F Block 1 Chinook landed for the first time at Holzdorf Air Base (also known as Schönewalde), south of Berlin, to help the Luftwaffe prepare for the arrival of the first of its CH-47F Block II Chinook Standard Range (SR) air-to-air refuelling (AAR)-capable heavy-lift helicopters from 2027 to 2032.

“With the future stationing of the CH-47, Holzdorf Air Base will become a hub for helicopter transport. The [Luftwaffe] is gaining initial experience with the Chinook transport helicopter with its Dutch allies – in flight operations, refuelling, and training,” the Bundeswehr said.


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UK contracts H145 helicopters for Brunei, Cyprus missions

by Gareth Jennings

With the UK already flying the H145 with the UKMFTS training programme, it has acquired additional rotorcraft to take on its Brunei and Cyprus support missions. (Crown Copyright)

The United Kingdom has contracted Airbus to deliver six new Airbus Helicopters H145 rotorcraft to be used in Brunei and Cyprus.

Announced by the Defence, Equipment, and Support (DE&S) branch of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 18 April, the GBP122 million (USD152 million) award will see the helicopters acquired to replace the Airbus Puma HC2s (Helicopter Cargo 2) that are supporting the British Army's training mission in Brunei following the recent retirement of the Bell 212s, as well as the Pumas HC2s that performing search-and-rescue (SAR) and support duties at Royal Air Force (RAF) Akrotiri in Cyprus following the recent retirement of the Bell 412s.

Known as Jupiter HC2 in UK military service, the D3-standard five-bladed helicopters are to be delivered later in 2024. The MoD already operates the D2-standard four-bladed H145 in the trainer configuration, with seven Jupiter HT1 (Helicopter Training 1) aircraft in use with the UK Military Flying Training System.


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RAF, RAAF reform respective 80 Sqns as US-based F-35 data centres

by Gareth Jennings

The chiefs of the RAF and RAAF reconstituting their respective 80 Squadrons during a joint ceremony at Eglin AFB in the US. (Crown Copyright)

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) stood up their respective 80 Squadrons on 17 April to serve as US-based data units for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

Announced by the RAF, the two separate but linked squadrons were reconstituted during a joint ceremony at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB) in Florida.

“At the event, the [UK] Chief of the Air Staff, [Air Chief Marshal] Sir Richard Knighton, and [Australian] Chief of the Air Force Air Marshal Robert Chipman, formally awarded the dormant 80 Squadron number plates for each service to their respective teams within the Australia, Canada, and United Kingdom Reprogramming Laboratory [ACURL],” the RAF said.


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https://www.janes.com/defence-news/defence/latest/imh-2024-british-army-to-declare-ioc-for-ah-64e-force

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