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UK to replace Joint Helicopter Command with Joint Aviation Command

The UK is to transfer control of its battlefield rotorcraft such as the Puma HC2 (pictured) from the Joint Helicopter Command to the new Joint Aviation Command that is being set up to reflect the growing importance on unmanned aircraft in the future force mix. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

The United Kingdom's Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) is to be re-organised as the Joint Aviation Command (JAC) to better exploit the potential of unmanned aircraft systems (UASs), according to the head of the British Army.

General Sir Patrick Sanders, Chief of the General Staff, announced the move at the Royal United Services Institute Land Warfare Conference in London on 26 June.

โ€œBy the end of this year, Joint Helicopter Command will have evolved into a Joint Aviation Command,โ€ said Gen Sanders. โ€œThis new organisation will pioneer uncrewed aviation into the 2030s, reflecting the emergence of human-machine teaming technology and the rapid proliferation of uncrewed aerial systems.โ€

The general told the conference that the changing character of war is forcing the British Army to adapt its way of operating and organisation. โ€œWe have had the first glimpses of the revolution that artificial intelligence, robotics, and potentially quantum computing will bring,โ€ he said. โ€œWe will reprioritise investment towards remote and autonomous systems capabilities.โ€

Initially, the new JAC will take over the responsibilities and assets of the old JHC, which was stood up in October 1999 to control UK battlefield helicopters from the Army Air Corps, Fleet Air Arm, and the Royal Air Force (RAF). It subsequently brought the Royal Artillery's Thales Watchkeeper UAS-equipped regiment into its fold.

A senior RAF source told Janes

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