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British Army declares first AH-64E regiment ‘ready for frontline'

An AH-64E flown by 3 Regiment during the recent Exercise ‘Iron Titan'. (Crown Copyright)

The British Army has declared the first regiment to transition to its latest Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter to be “ready for frontline” operations, the service announced on 23 October.

The Army Air Corps' (AAC's) 3 Regiment passed its validation tests during Exercise ‘Iron Titan', the British Army's largest land exercise for over 20 years, in September. The exercise saw 3 Regiment AAC validated in its core role of providing to 3rd (UK) Division (the British Army's warfighting division) an aviation deep-attack battlegroup, made up of AH-64Es and the Leonardo Wildcat AH1 reconnaissance helicopters of 1 Regiment AAC.

“The first regiment flying the… AH-64E… has been declared ready for frontline duty,” the army said. “To achieve validation, every single function that we deliver as a regiment has been tested in a realistic scenario that reflects the challenges of modern operations. We have shown how we can sustain ourselves and survive on the battlefield, while striking targets far behind enemy lines to give ground troops a decisive advantage.”

News of the milestone came 15 months after the AAC said that the first helicopters had arrived at the Middle Wallop site of the Army Aviation Centre that is to share the training burden alongside the type's main operating base at Wattisham Airfield in Suffolk, in the east of England.

The AAC is in the process of receiving 50 AH-64Es that are being remanufactured from the WAH-64D Apache Longbow AH1 helicopters by Boeing in the United States. Deliveries are scheduled to be completed in 2024.

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