British and American helicopters have been demonstrating their capabilities working together on Exercise Swift Response.

Joint Helicopter Command’s Aviation Task Force 1 (ATF-1), which commands the attack, reconnaissance and support helicopters in the British Army’s global response force, is flying in support of the major multinational exercise in North Macedonia.

The British Army say in a news release here:

“The Apache attack helicopters of 4 Regiment Army Air Corps (AAC), 1st Aviation Brigade Combat Team and Chinook support helicopters of the RAF’s 18 Squadron are working alongside the Chinook and Blackhawk support helicopters from the US Army’s 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, known as Task Force Lobos (TF Lobos). On the exercise, mountains over 2,000m high and dusty ground makes for challenging flying conditions, while ground crew are out in the field running Forward Arming and Refueling Points (FARP), the military equivalent of a Formula 1 pit stop.

A key activity was the combined arms live fire exercise. Protected by the Apaches, Chinooks and Blackhawks delivered soldiers from 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment into live fire battle runs, with the Apaches providing fire support from their 30mm cannon and Chinooks from their 7.62mm miniguns and machine gun.”

ATF-1 Commander Lieutenant Colonel Alex Harris was quoted as saying:

“What we’re delivering on Swift Response is incredibly challenging. We’ve deployed helicopters and everything we need to operate them thousands of miles across Europe to set up in an austere location, quickly build a relationship with another unit with different procedures and equipment, and now we’re planning and carrying out complex air assault missions together. To be able to do this is testament to the quality of our soldiers – their skills, physical robustness and mindset – and they’re enjoying the chance to get out and do their job.”

American Chief Warrant Officer 4 Daniel Thompson flies an HH-60 Blackhawk and was quoted as saying:

“I’ve been flying with British medics and our role is to evacuate casualties, both in the exercise scenario and if there are any actual injuries. Together with the British we have attack, heavy lift and medevac helicopters that makes for a pretty powerful team, where each of us has brought different slices to the pie. I first served with the British in Afghanistan in 2003 and we work together really well. This training is about building the trust between us even further, so that we can be ready to respond to any global contingencies.”

Exercise Swift Response sees more than 3,000 troops from eight NATO countries working together in North Macedonia under the command of 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team, with some 2,000 British soldiers and airmen taking part, you can read more from this at the British Army website here.

George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Tams
Tams
1 month ago

Good to see!

But ugggh, we’re going to get those Blackhawk advocates in the comments again, aren’t we? Give it a break lads; we’re not getting fucking Blackhawks.

Andrew
Andrew
1 month ago
Reply to  Tams

Probably not, but I reckon in 10 years time we’ll all be complaining that we should have got the Blackhawk’s!

Jay R
Jay R
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew

No helicopter in Europe is as capable as Blackhawk.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Jay R

Really? Merlin carries more passengers and freight, is faster and has longer range. Puma carries more passengers. Why is Blackhawk so special in your view?

Tams
Tams
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew

Well, you will be.

I’m just filing it under the ‘we should have 30 frigates and 500 Challenger 3s’ crowd.

Last edited 1 month ago by Tams
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Tams

BLACKHAWK!!

Just to piss you off!

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Tams

What about HawkBlack? Very similar platform, could be a contender? 👍

Klonkie
Klonkie
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

ah yes – “EuroHawk” 😉

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Klonkie

EuroHawk towing a Horsa glider and we’re in business!

Faster than a Helicopter too, Airborne will give this one his approval I’m sure….

Klonkie
Klonkie
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

Nice one JC 👌

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

RedWhiteandBlueHawk?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

Goshawk! That is the USN Hawk isn’t it.😀

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago

😂

Ian M
Ian M
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

Schwarzer falke?

FOSTERSMAN
FOSTERSMAN
1 month ago
Reply to  Tams

I hope not, I’m not a fan either. What might work for the US won’t for our forces, also i don’t really see a need for medium role helicopters. What we have is light(wildcat), heavy(Merlin) and super heavy(Chinook). What’s the point in adding a medium into the mix when surely everything is covered there?, Just increase the numbers in what we have to drive cost reductions across board. Eventually with what is being experimented on the light and medium will be replaced by unmanned vehicles, I get that’s a way off still but that’s where the money should be not… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago
Reply to  FOSTERSMAN

Wildcat is very poor for transport. Merlin is very expensive.

Blackhawk is old and too big size for the space it offers.

Bob
Bob
1 month ago
Reply to  FOSTERSMAN

Merlin is only used by the Navy and is too large to replace the Puma.
If we want to help out the UK rotor industry then order more, fully kitted out, Wildcats for recce work.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  FOSTERSMAN

Did we get rid of the Puma medium helo?

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Tams

Did someone say Blackhawk, yes please, I’ll have 50 fuc**ng Blackhawks, now what’s the question?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

Now now, don’t be greedy, or delusional mate.

FIFTY! With the other contenders I’d go on my knees and thank god if we scrape to 30 and half the squadrons needing to be reequipped get canned as a result.

But UK PLC will win so all is good with the forces!!!

No. 44 Blackhawk please, pronto, for a pittance so MoD can spend the money elsewhere, like Excalibur rounds GPS guided for our obsolete outgunned artillery BJ is grandstanding about supplying to Ukraine.

Last edited 1 month ago by Daniele Mandelli
Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
1 month ago

Out of interest do you think that 44 Blackhawks will be cheaper than 44 others? I’ve not seen prices. Will the government give the army the left overs to spend or would the £1.3b be spent pimping out the Blackhawks and until the moneys all used up? I remember working in a government role and managers desperately spending any left over dept cash before April as if any was left next years budget got reduced.(crazy way of doing things)

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

Whats so great about Blackhawks – old design, carries fewer troops than Puma and Merlin.

Darren hall
Darren hall
1 month ago
Reply to  Tams

Looks like the Airborne boys are being indoctrinated into the school of ”Not a European” wokka

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Tams

Lets get some Mi-8’s, they’re cheap these days right?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Tams

No, they are too old a design and they don’t carry many troops.

Richard
Richard
1 month ago
Reply to  Tams

Why not??

Jay R
Jay R
1 month ago

Dear MOD, stop putting square pegs in round holes. Apache, Chinook, UK US success stories. Now do the same with Blackhawk. Europe will just bring you trouble. Thanks.

eclipse
eclipse
1 month ago
Reply to  Jay R

AW149 will be built in the U.K., not in Europe. Interestingly, the Blackhawk you advocate for will be built in Europe. I don’t think the Apache or, especially, the Chinook can be termed “U.K. US” success stories since there’s hardly anything U.K. about them. Simply buying Blackhawk will destroy our national industry and, in time of need, we will not have any foundation to stand on when rapidly trying to expand our fleet. If war breaks out two years later, it would be a lot harder building choppers if we had no Leonardo in Yeovil than if we do.

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago
Reply to  eclipse

Correction, the AW149 will be assembled in the UK not built. The Polish company PZL-Swidnik will be build the airframe, which will then be shipped over to the UK for assembly and fitting out. PZL construct the majority of Leonardo helicopters and a few Airbus one. They even have the contract to build the Blackhawks for Poland and Finland. For Leonardo, the airframes like the Aw139 and 189 are shipped to Brindisi for final assembly. This is where the previous AW149 were assembled for countries such as Egypt. The problem the UK has, is that the skilled workforce costs more… Read more »

Jay R
Jay R
1 month ago
Reply to  Daveyb

The UK got a fair workshare from bothe apache and chinook. More so with apache. The UK has no completely independent military manufacturing capability. At some point in the manufacturing stage there will be a requirement for specialist sub assemblies or components that will need to come from elsewhere. Microchips is 1 example. Another is certain alloys, for example certain grades of aerospace aluminum sheet are not produced in the UK. They come from thyssen krupp. The UK should stay out of helicopters, westland has gone and the remnants are not worth bothering with. Bae do not build helicopters. Therefore… Read more »

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago
Reply to  Jay R

That was with previous Chinooks. The new ones are being supplied by the US Army and not Boeing. This means the US Army are the design organisation, we have very little wriggle room of what can be changed on the aircraft. There will be a few things added such as certain radios. But the aircraft will be delivered to a very similar specification to what the US Army operates. I am not sure about the Apaches. As far as I know these are again a very similar spec’ to the US Army ones, with a few added radios such as… Read more »

eclipse
eclipse
1 month ago
Reply to  Jay R

In that sense one might argue neither does the US have a completely independent military manufacturing capability; 92% of its rare Earth materials come from China. Yes the world is inherently interconnected, that does not mean that due to a small dependency we should simply throw up our arms and say why bother with anything. A lot of American fighters use Rolls Royce engines which in turn use American and European as well as British components. Being the foremost European power warrants a necessity for us not only to stop shrinking our helicopter industry, among others, but to be ready… Read more »

Jay R
Jay R
1 month ago
Reply to  eclipse

Yes I agree completely. The UK should build a helicopter independently, why involve Europe? Failing that buy American

eclipse
eclipse
1 month ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Yes sorry about that.

FOSTERSMAN
FOSTERSMAN
1 month ago
Reply to  eclipse

Exactly it’s ok with Chinook and Apache because they are world beating and fill a particular niche that would otherwise be left blank hense the need to buy foreign, we could not afford to develop these capabilities with the numbers that we have alone. But light to medium size helicopters, a nation our size and with the MOD budget should easily be able to design and produce its own helicopters no problem. The reason why we are in this predicament is bad management of the industry by successive governments and the MOD/forces not speaking out more about sell offs/cuts to… Read more »

Jay R
Jay R
1 month ago
Reply to  FOSTERSMAN

Brexit means no to UK Euro projects. The Europeans put their needs 1st and s**t on the UK. Always have done. We need to go it alone or partner with the US for all aviation projects.

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago
Reply to  Jay R

So you want to turn “Europe” into a quasi enemy?

And you have no notion how the industrial world works. That attitude will not make you go very far.

Jay R
Jay R
1 month ago
Reply to  AlexS

Yes I do. I have no notion of the industrial worlds workings. I will not go far.

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago
Reply to  Jay R

Are you a bot Jay R?

So UK should cancel Aster missiles in Type 45?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Jay R

Not sure I agree that we don’t work with Euro countries due to Brexit.
We have rejoined the (Euro) Boxer programme. Rheinmetall has joined with BAE to build CR3. We have observer status on the Euro future tank project.

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago
Reply to  FOSTERSMAN

But light to medium size helicopters, a nation our size and with the MOD budget should easily be able to design and produce its own helicopters no problem. No, i am afraid many here don’t understand the realities of industrial resources and know how. .The optimisations necessary to make a competitive product. You can’t pick engineers from trees…you need to make them want to join a project and then be sustainable. The only design out of Westland was the Lynx with some French cooperation. Sea King, Wessex were all American designs. To design Merlin a 50/50 joint venture with Italian… Read more »

Farouk
Farouk
1 month ago

Bloke on the left of the AH64, is that an earthing rod in his hands?

Doc Mac
Doc Mac
1 month ago
Reply to  Farouk

Or is he just happy to be there ?

AV
AV
1 month ago
Reply to  Farouk

I hope that’s what it is 😂👍

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
1 month ago

Pity the RN is in such a perilous state and the RAF could do with more jets. Weve got great military personnel and some amazing equipment just not enough of either.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
1 month ago

These are the exercises that make our forces so good. Great to see and so valuable. Can’t wait to see the American officer saying the AW149 is a brilliant machine and so much better than our Blackhawks.
Bomb thrown, running for cover😂😂😂😂

Last edited 1 month ago by Monkey spanker
Klonkie
Klonkie
1 month ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Hi MS. Interesting to note the AW189 hasn’t been mentioned in any of the commentary, could be an interesting contender?

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
1 month ago
Reply to  Klonkie

The AW189 is a civilian version of the AW149. The coast guard use the 189. I had a search and rescue 189 fly over my house twice the other night doing 165-172kts. That was the speed on flight radar in knots. I saw it and it was tanking it. Now if they could make them quieter that would be a game changer. I like the new black hawks also but I think the AW149 has the edge. Leonardo can offer more money to stay in the U.K. If Blackhawk team can put a great offer in then either team are… Read more »

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
1 month ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

As a sweetener Lockheed could offer to speed up weapon integration on F35, give radar work to U.K. etc etc. something to make the built in Poland a non issue. Most other countries are saying Reinvestment of a percentage of contract price has to be done.

Klonkie
Klonkie
1 month ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

thanks for the reply MS. 170 knots is really impressive

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Hi MS, doesn’t the USAF already operate the Grey Wolf which I think is a licence production of the smaller brother AW149, the AW139? Nice to see the US buying some foreign equipment.
May the best helo win…

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Just seen AlexS mention this below.

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

In the US, it’s a Boeing product called the MH139A and is being produced in the US. Being scenical, it’s probably the only reason it got looked at.

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

USAF choose 80 AW 139 for their nuclear missile silos and the USN will get 130 AW 119K (called by USN TH-37A) for training.

Klonkie
Klonkie
1 month ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

MS, cancel my last. A glance on wikipedia indicates the AW189 is the civilian version of the AW149

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Indeed AW-189 is the civilian version, mostly being in use for SAR (inluding in UK by Bristow Helicopters) and offshore work.

Klonkie
Klonkie
1 month ago
Reply to  AlexS

Thanks Alex

Jay R
Jay R
1 month ago
Reply to  Klonkie

When I think of Blackhawk I think of a powerful, robust platform, battle proven and reliable……
…When I think of the AW149 I think of Anneka Rice.

Klonkie
Klonkie
1 month ago
Reply to  Jay R

classic Jay 😝

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 month ago

My pick from the start, the Blackhawk is also a serious contender. Either way, let’s hope we get on with it and get the winner into service asap and in the correct numbers.

Optimised for multiple missions
“The AW149 is designed for a multitude of missions such as troop transport; re-supply/external load lift; medical and casualty evacuation; Search and Rescue (SAR) and Combat Search and Rescue; special forces operations; close air support/armed escort; Command and Control C2); and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR).”

https://helicopters.leonardo.com/en/products/aw149

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Entirely this. Even if the AW149 is selected, if it is at a good price and the 44 are acquired all is good, and the factory and UK PLC is happy.

I fear it will be more money thrown after bad and Yeovil ends up in the same begging bowl condition every half decade until HMG have a proper strategic build strategy and the forces still miss out.

Which is one reason I prefer BH.

Richard
Richard
1 month ago

..and that about sums it up mate!👍

Andrew
Andrew
1 month ago

Never mind trying to scam us Brooklyn bot, come on, get with it, what do you think about the blackhawks option?

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew

He probably wants us to buy Mil-38s, though that’s a bit to big!

Jay R
Jay R
1 month ago

Wow thanks for sharing. I have signed up to this. Why can’t everybody do this and become wealthy, it is way better than working for a living.

Sealsteve
Sealsteve
2 days ago

Did not Westlands have a shot at selling the Blackhawk to the rest of the world back in the 70/80 and the grand total of ZERO were sold due to lack of interest?

What was the “Westland Affair” about?

Regardless how much you update the electronics l would guess the reason the airframe design has been adapted is that it fits the US orbat and equipment to be lifted need and we some what don’t Mach the requirements or scale of said primary user.