View Full Version : HMS Ocean Hosts Army's Apache Helicopters

10-14-2009, 12:31 PM
HMS Ocean Hosts Army's Apache Helicopters

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Source: MOD

Two Apache helicopters from 4 Regiment Army Air Corps have recently been conducting maritime aviation training in the North Sea onboard the Royal Navy's largest warship. The Apache aircrew, based at Wattisham Airfield in Suffolk, have recently returned from operations in Afghanistan and were onboard HMS Ocean learning to operate their aircraft from the ship's flight deck.

During the two-day embarkation, eight pilots conducted multiple day and night landings to achieve their deck qualifications. This now opens the way for further embarkations, increasing the operational capability of this already versatile aircraft.

HMS Ocean's Commanding Officer, Captain Simon Kings, said "Embarkations such as this will undoubtedly become more common in the future as current operations require the three Armed Services to co-operate more closely than ever before, with the flexibility to operate outside of their traditional roles.

"We were delighted to have the Army Air Corps back onboard, working alongside the Fleet Air Arm, and having now built up a pool of experienced Apache aircrew qualified to operate in the maritime environment, I look forward to seeing them onboard again in the near future."

Lieutenant Matt Punch RN is the maritime operations officer for 4 Regiment Army Air Corps at Wattisham. He commented "This is the second time such training has been conducted, previously undertaken in 2005. Due to our commitments in Afghanistan the chance to carry out such training is limited, but with HMS Ocean sailing past our front door we were able to make the most of this opportunity.

"We concentrated on the qualification of instructors last week so we are in an excellent position to carry out further maritime training in 2010. Operating from a ship's deck is a new challenge for our pilots who are more used to the dust of Afghanistan, but is well within the Apache's capability. It has been very successful; to carry out 128 deck landings in order to qualify eight pilots in only two days is more than we could have hoped for."

The Apache is a twin-engined attack helicopter developed by McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing). It entered service with the US Army in 1984 and has been in operation with the British Army since 2000. The Apache, more at home in the open desert than the open sea, has been used extensively during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

HMS Ocean is the Royal Navy's largest warship, with a displacement of 22,500 tonnes, and was built on the Clyde by Kvaerner Govan and fitted out at Barrow-in-Furness by Vickers Shipbuilders Ltd. She was launched on 11 October 1995 and was commissioned into the Royal Navy on 30 September 1998.

As an amphibious assault helicopter carrier, she is capable of rapid deployment anywhere in the world; her primary role being to carry and deliver an embarked military force of up to 500 troops supported by twelve medium lift helicopters, six attack helicopters and four landing craft.

HMS Ocean returned from her 27,000-mile (43,500km) TAURUS 09 deployment to the Far East on 3 August 2009, but after only four weeks' leave it was all hands on deck for a busy autumn programme that has seen the warship visit Jersey and Sunderland as well as conducting intensive flying operations with 702 Naval Air Squadron (Navy Lynx helicopters), 848 Naval Air Squadron (Navy Sea King helicopters) and 4 Regiment Army Air Corps (Apache helicopters) embarked.


10-14-2009, 02:14 PM
now that is going to be a sexy tag team.