Suffolk’s Apaches get ready for major exercise

Troops from 3 Regiment Army Air Corps rehearse setting up a forward arming and refuelling point with

Troops from 3 Regiment Army Air Corps rehearse setting up a forward arming and refuelling point with Chinook and Apache attack helicopters. Picture: CORPORAL ROB KANE / MOD CROWN - Credit: Corporal Rob Kane

Soldiers from Suffolk’s Wattisham air base have been preparing to take part in a major European exercise.

Troops from 3 Regiment Army Air Corps rehearse setting up a forward arming and refuelling point with

Troops from 3 Regiment Army Air Corps rehearse setting up a forward arming and refuelling point with Chinook and Apache attack helicopters. Picture: CORPORAL ROB KANE / MOD CROWN - Credit: Corporal Rob Kane

The Apaches of 3 Regiment Army Air Corps, bolstered with Wildcat reconnaissance helicopters and RAF Chinook support helicopters, will be part of a British contingent of more than 2,500 troops taking part in Exercise Defender Europe 20.

The pilots and groundcrew of 3 Regt AAC's 662 Squadron have been put through their paces this week ahead of the deployment, which will see them training in Germany and Poland in the spring.

Troops from 3 Regiment Army Air Corps rehearse setting up a forward arming and refuelling point with

Troops from 3 Regiment Army Air Corps rehearse setting up a forward arming and refuelling point with Chinook and Apache attack helicopters. Picture: CORPORAL ROB KANE / MOD CROWN - Credit: Corporal Rob Kane

A key activity saw groundcrew set up a refuelling point on Stanford training area in Norfolk, flying fuel out in a Chinook to then top up the tanks of Apaches.

Defender Europe 20 is a US Army-led exercise involving 35,000 troops from 18 nations.

Troops from 3 Regiment Army Air Corps rehearse setting up a forward arming and refuelling point with

Troops from 3 Regiment Army Air Corps rehearse setting up a forward arming and refuelling point with Chinook and Apache attack helicopters. Picture: CORPORAL ROB KANE / MOD CROWN - Credit: Corporal Rob Kane


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It aims to demonstrate the ability to rapidly surge combat ready forces into and across Europe to support the NATO alliance.

3 Regt AAC's Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Nick English said: "We're deploying by road, sea and air from Wattisham into Europe to work as part of a US Combat Aviation Brigade and give a credible demonstration of our ability to rapidly commit troops in support of, and working alongside, our allies.

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"Everyone is working hard to prepare and determined to deliver a successful contribution to Defender Europe."

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