British Apache attack helicopters have deployed to North Macedonia for Exercise Swift Response.

Exercise Swift Response sees elements of 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team and 1 Aviation Brigade Combat Team operate alongside French, American, Italian, and Albanian counterparts in North Macedonia.

There are 4,500 personnel on the exercise including 2,500 British troops.

The exercise involves parachute drops, helicopter-borne air assaults and sees a company of French paratroopers integrated into the 2 Parachute Regiment Battlegroup and an Italian battlegroup working to a British chain of command.

This is part of efforts undertaken by the UK to deploy 8,000 troops for exercises across Europe.

Britain deploying 8,000 troops for exercises across Europe

The exercises will see 8,000 British troops, 72 Challenger 2 tanks, 12 AS90 tracked artillery guns and 120 Warrior armoured fighting vehicles deploy to countries from Finland to North Macedonia.

The move, say the Ministry of Defence, “demonstrates the Army’s modernisation into a lethal, agile and global force”.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace was quoted as saying:

“The security of Europe has never been more important. These exercises will see our troops join forces with allies and partners across NATO and the Joint Expeditionary Force in a show of solidarity and strength in one of the largest shared deployments since the Cold War. Operating across Europe, the British Army will stand alongside partners, combining our capabilities and shared values, promoting peace and security.”

Commander Field Army Lieutenant General Ralph Wooddisse said:

“The UK makes a significant contribution to the defence of Europe and the deterrence of Russian aggression. The British Army’s series of exercises is fundamental to both. We continue to deploy across Europe, from the Baltic to the Aegean, to train and fight alongside our allies and partners, providing powerful, capable and ready forces to support NATO and show the UK’s commitment to peace and security.

A wide range of units from the Field Army will be involved, from light and airborne forces, to helicopters and armoured forces, supported by artillery, electronic warfare, air defence, surveillance drones, engineers and logisticians. The scale of the deployment, coupled with the professionalism, training and agility of the British Army, will deter aggression at a scale not seen in Europe this century.”

What exercises are planned?

According to the Ministry of Defence here…

  • Troops from B Squadron of the Queen’s Royal Hussars have deployed to Finland this week to take part in Exercise Arrow. They will be embedded into a Finnish Armoured Brigade, with participation from other partners including the US, Latvia and Estonia. The exercise will improve the ability of UK and Finnish troops to work alongside each other as part of the JEF, deterring Russian aggression in Scandinavia and the Baltic states.
  • In May, Exercise Hedgehog will see the Royal Welsh Battlegroup and the Royal Tank Regiment exercising on the Estonia-Latvia border alongside 18,000 NATO troops, including French and Danish, who are part of the British-led NATO enhanced Forward Presence. Hedgehog is the biggest military exercise in Estonia and takes place every four years.
  • Alongside Exercise Hedgehog, Exercise Defender in Poland is ongoing until late May, with 1,000 soldiers from the King’s Royal Hussars Battlegroup and C Squadron of the Light Dragoons deployed alongside troops from 11 partner nations including Poland, Denmark and the United States. This exercise involves Challenger 2 tanks and other armoured vehicles deploying from the NATO Forward Holding Base in Sennelager, Germany. The deployment is supported by 104 Theatre Sustainment Brigade operating from the UK and in bases in Europe.
  • Exercise Swift Response, which also began this week, sees elements of 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team and 1 Aviation Brigade Combat Team operate alongside French, American, Italian, and Albanian counterparts in North Macedonia. There are 4,500 personnel on the exercise including 2,500 British troops. The exercise involves parachute drops, helicopter-borne air assaults and sees a company of French paratroopers integrated into the 2 Parachute Regiment Battlegroup and an Italian battlegroup working to a British chain of command.

The Ministry of Defence added that “these exercises showcase the scale and significance of the British Army’s contribution to the defence of Europe and highlight the continued importance of the leadership role which UK plays as a member of NATO and the JEF.”

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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Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
2 days ago

My brother’s son has recently been made an instructor on the Apache and will be missing out on this deployment. Not very happy apparently!

Mark franks
Mark franks
2 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Still time, if this rumbles on there could be overstretch or if we have to surge its the training guys who end up filling the frontline.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 day ago
Reply to  Mark franks

More than possible, but I can remember him telling the story of how they had to search around to get enough numbers ready to fly on the RAF’s 100th-anniversary flypast due to maintenance issues across the fleet.

Hopefully a thing of the past!

Mr Mark Franks
Mr Mark Franks
1 day ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

It’s the lack of spares I’m afraid, long gone are the days when the MOD had hangers full of the stuff. We rely on industry now and the good old just in time process, I wonder what happened to the leen manning that was all the rage just before I left the service’s 15 years ago now.

Last edited 1 day ago by Mr Mark Franks
johan
johan
1 day ago
Reply to  Mr Mark Franks

MOD still has hangers full of stores, its just all the failed kit orders of stuff that doesn’t work, or covid stores.

Mark franks
Mark franks
1 day ago
Reply to  johan

Yes they do just not full of expensive spares tying up money that might or might not be used.
Certainly not for aircraft. Looking at Withams website and other sites that deal in surplus MOD kit it never ceases to amze me how much the army are off loading.

Last edited 1 day ago by Mark franks
RAY YOUNG
RAY YOUNG
7 hours ago
Reply to  Mark franks

It is not the army who are disposing of military kit, but civil servants.

Mark franks
Mark franks
6 hours ago
Reply to  RAY YOUNG

The army always had a fair bite at the cherry and always argued a strong case. Since the end of Herrick and the start of Ukraine not even the army was sure what it stood for! You can only get the guys to clean the barracks so many times. As for the civil serpents if you don’t use it or require it you lose it.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
13 hours ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Apache wasn’t part of the RAF’s 100th anniversary flypast..Your nephew must have been talking about something else

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
13 hours ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

I know the RAF made a strong pitch to operate Apache, back in the day, but of course it is an AAC helicopter, as we know.

RobW
RobW
2 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

They have a name for that you know, it’s called a nephew 🤣

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
1 day ago
Reply to  RobW

He would need to Google search that word first, and share the link 😄

David
David
1 day ago
Reply to  RobW

I had to restrain myself from saying the same thing! – HA! – Classic.

Still, all in good jest.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 day ago
Reply to  RobW

Indeed it is! Not long out of hospital so I’ll blame the medication and lack of sleep for that one 😄

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 day ago
Reply to  RobW

“He would need to Google search that word first, and share the link” Too busy looking at more relevant links to be quite honest! I think this gives us a good overview of the current problems facing the F-35 programme. Follow the links highlighted in blue for a more in-depth assessment. https://www.pogo.org/analysis/2022/03/f-35-program-stagnated-in-2021-but-dod-testing-office-hiding-full-extent-of-problem/ The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program appears to be in a state of suspended development, with little progress made in 2021 toward improving its lacklustre performance. The latest report by the Pentagon’s Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E) reveals stagnation and even backsliding in some fleet reliability measures. And that’s… Read more »

Last edited 1 day ago by Nigel Collins
Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
13 hours ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

😄 ah, another report. Hasn’t put off Finland, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, Spain probably next, oh and the RAF/RN. Keep trying Nigel.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 day ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

I can understand his irritation – some things don’t come around very often. I did just 2 operational deployments in 34 years.

Airborne
Airborne
1 day ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Luck of the draw in regard to whose in government I suppose mate! Prior to Tony Blair I did a couple of NI, and a Bosnia in 11 years! After 97 boom shit went mad and our/my feet didn’t touch the ground for the next 18!!!!!!

Cymbeline
Cymbeline
1 day ago
Reply to  Airborne

As the Falklands kicked off my Regt were gunner support for 5Inf Bde. I had to bring my wedding forward by a couple of weeks, I got married on the Saturday and we were due to depart Southampton on the QE2 on the Tuesday. As it turned out the ship had too much weight and they chose to cut 70 bodies from the orbat as opposed to kit. I got a call into the TC’s office on the Sunday and was told as I’d just got married I was 1 of the 70. Probably the biggest kick in the balls… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
12 hours ago
Reply to  Airborne

I was REME so was posted as an individual (trickle posted) every 2 years. I invariably arrived in a unit that had just done an op tour or left a unit just before they deployed. Very frustrating! I did an UNFICYP tour (not exactly a shooting war!) and 29 years later did an Afghan tour. Got to some other interesting places though – FI in ’99 and Sierra Leone in ’02.

Over the years our grateful government sure deployed Paras a lot!

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 day ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

But always ready to serve!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
12 hours ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Very much so. Thanks for that Nigel. My 2 op tours were UN peacekeeping in Cyprus, then 29 years later a tour in Afghan.

Bruce Gardner
Bruce Gardner
2 days ago

Good on you, lads! This takes me back to another large-scale exercise in 1977, Thunderbolt, where we of the 51st Highland Division were training with NATO allies to counter…. wait for it… a Russian invasion. Sound familiar?

God bless our armed forces as they serve to lead with other forces!🙏

JamesD
JamesD
2 days ago

And still going ahead with the cuts talk about burn out

RobW
RobW
2 days ago
Reply to  JamesD

Apache cuts? In reality that happened a long time ago. Active numbers haven’t been above 50 for years.

JamesD
JamesD
2 days ago
Reply to  RobW

Troop cuts.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 day ago
Reply to  RobW

We were meant to buy 99 AH-64Ds but defence cuts meant we only bought 67. I hear we are only getting 50 of the E model to replace the D model

RobW
RobW
1 day ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

We are indeed. It’s ok though as it will make the army more “agile” apparently.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
11 hours ago
Reply to  RobW

Yep, having less of everything makes the army more easily (strategically) deployable, but not (tactically) agile – big difference, as we know.

Paul T
Paul T
1 day ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I read that the Fleet was originally supposed to number around 120,the majority being ‘A’ models with about a third the ‘D’.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 day ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I don’t get it, when the equipment like Apache is so darn good value why do the newly acquired numbers shrink. Is it really too financially, logistically difficult even to do 1 for 1 replacements? Methinks you’d always want the military to be even stronger than before especially now! 🤔 Strength to 🇬🇧 to always be a force for good in this world!

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
13 hours ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Because the aircraft are more capable.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
13 hours ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

If more capable, why not get a few more and you then will even more capable! Especially in todays battle environment and small tank numbers. It only takes one shell or missile or missing part to bring a helicoper down.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
9 hours ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

I’m not in charge of the budget I’m afraid. And we can only do so much with what we have. But Apache AH-64E is a battle winning bit of kit.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
11 hours ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

You must be a politician. Thats the same reason the army is heading to 73,000 when the post Cold war figure was assessed as requiring 120,000, the tanks have been cut from 386 CR2 to 148 CR3 etc.
However some of those 50 new Apaches will be in the Trg Org, Attrition Reserve and Repair Pool and some will always be u/s (when they have lost their first flush of youth) – perhaps we will typically have 35 or so available for tasking?

Last edited 11 hours ago by Graham Moore
Robert Blay
Robert Blay
9 hours ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I don’t like seeing numbers reduce as much as anyone. But we have to acknowledge the increase in capability these new Apaches bring. Same with comparing today’s Typhoon capability from a Tornado GR1 from the 80s.

farouk
farouk
2 days ago

So a lot off topic, here is a very interesting article i came across in the latest issue of Airforces montly:
comment image

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 days ago
Reply to  farouk

Thought that looked like a Watchkeeper.

Did we pay around 1 billion for that, so far with, I last heard, 1 battery finally reaching OC on the type. Hope it’s expanded since.

And our WK is unarmed.

The price will be interesting.

JamesD
JamesD
2 days ago

I thought watchkeeper looked like a game changer when first announced yet everyone and their mother is knocking out bigger,better and armed drones while this relic still hasn’t really achieved foc. Not surprisingly Boris hasn’t offered a few of these, they’d laugh their arse’s off.

Louis
Louis
2 days ago
Reply to  JamesD

It’s very annoying as the Hermes can be armed and even putting a few LMM or brimstone would be amazing.

AlexS
AlexS
1 day ago

Watchkeeper as the name says is a recon asset. It has SAR radar and EO.

Klonkie
Klonkie
21 hours ago

Hi DM . Are you aware if the Army has considered arming WK? Could be a useful extension to the RAF Reaper/Predator force. I guess part of the challenges is sufficient numbers, but I do recall some of the WKs are in storage or do I have that wrong?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
15 hours ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Morning K. As far as I know, and situation may have changed with the extra training at Ascension and I think Akroriri, there was but 1 battery of 4 operational. So I’d guess most are still stored. If all that’s outdated then that’s excellent. As for armament, I’ve no idea but as usual the costs are eye watering. Our DES is excellent at spending huge amounts when comparable or even better products seem a fraction of the price. It should be armed, though they’ll say no need as it was procured as a recc asset to replace the outdated Phoenix… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 days ago

Modernisation into a lethal, agile, global force? You do talk some utter tosh MoD. It was already globally deployable without your modernisation. It was being “modernised” before the latest cuts in the strike brigade fiasco and that came to nothing except for dragging an entire armoured brigade down to hell. And cutting yet more with as yet little unveiled to replace equipment does not make it “more agile” Lethal? Apache may well be but Ukraine’s artillery is light years ahead of ours as is their drone usage. PM makes speeches about CB radar being supplied. Great. The Army actually has… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 days ago

And to expand, especially with 16 AA BCT. Up to 2015 it was even more globally deployable than now, with extra CS and CSS elements which got chopped from its enablers, a battery here, a company there, and the force will shortly lose their Hercs too. Less deployable to me, with fewer aircraft, helicopters, and firepower. The latest review uplifted it somewhat with a 4th battalion added but there isn’t the uplift in the RE, RA, RAMC and RLC supports to go with it as far as I recall to enable those 4 battalions to each get the same level… Read more »

Ian M
Ian M
1 day ago

Hi Daniele, you forgot the R.E.M.E !!
but there isn’t the uplift in the RE, RA, RAMC and RLC supports “

Tsk tsk!😎

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 day ago
Reply to  Ian M

Not the 1st time, Graham has “told me off ” for that before. 😆

Ian M
Ian M
1 day ago

Arte et Marte!
😎

Dave Wolfy
Dave Wolfy
1 day ago

R Sigs not required.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 day ago
Reply to  Dave Wolfy

Course they are. As much as any CS and CSS.
I did not mention them in regard to 16AA as that brigade retains 216 Signals squadron and the individual battalions do not draw support from a larger regiment sized formation, which is the case with the other elements of the brigades CS/CSS apart from maybe 7 REME which very much supports army aviation as a whole.

For good measure and not to piss David B off I’d better acknowledge the RMP coy too! 😆

farouk
farouk
2 days ago

RAF Luton reported a year ago that Boris has ordered some mini tanks:

Opera Snapshot_2022-05-04_185254_twitter.com.png
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 days ago
Reply to  farouk

You’ve got to laugh!
Ironically a squadron of the HCR supported 16AA once with their CVRTs, only a tad bigger than these!

Airborne
Airborne
1 day ago

Yes the HCR lads were a very useful recce addition to the Bde, and a decent bit of reactive firepower! When in airborne ops mate, as I’m sure you know, even a troop of scimitar with the old 30mm was much appreciated 👍

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 day ago
Reply to  farouk

I think JohnMK served at RAF Luton?

It must be where he got his unique and specialist knowledge……

Airborne
Airborne
1 day ago

😂👍!

JohninMK
JohninMK
1 day ago

You have no idea how close to the target that comment was.

Me and my brother were actually in the ATC in Luton in 1962 and 1963. Not quite RAF Luton but pretty close. Well done.

Airborne
Airborne
1 day ago

And a lot of this kit, and people, are already in location, in Europe! The spin would make it seem like we’ve just deployed the lot for the exercise!

Dimitris
Dimitris
2 days ago

Not in Macedonian. They deployed at Scopje. Macedonia is in Greece

dan
dan
2 days ago

Are the AH-64Es operational with the Brits?

Gary Stedman
Gary Stedman
1 day ago
Reply to  dan

No, along with the other locals I’ve been observing the build up. 16 delivered to the UK at the present time, but only 6/7 have flown here and they have not even had their DAS fit installed as yet. The flights have finally started to switch over to the frontline units rather than test/trials flights but still very early days. Round about 18 AH1’s left on the active fleet.

RobW
RobW
1 day ago
Reply to  dan

We have 12 delivered undergoing trials. Not in operational service just yet. I can’t find a date, just that the 36 remaining will be delivered within 2 years.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 day ago

I wonder how long it will be before some lay person suggests tanks are obsolete and we don’t need 148 CR3s and we should instead do all our tank-busting with 50 new Apaches.

Steve
Steve
1 day ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

If they were to replace 148 CR3 with an additional 50 Apache, then I think i could get on board with that idea. For realistic wars that we could fight, 100 Apache would be far more useful

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 day ago
Reply to  Steve

Steve, Apaches can’t (with Infantry) seize ground.

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
1 day ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

👍

Steve
Steve
1 day ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

We had no tanks in the Falklands and yet we seized a full island back. It comes down to the question of if you consider the tank as manly redundent on the modern bsttle field.

Airborne
Airborne
1 day ago
Reply to  Steve

Steve we also didn’t have AH in the Falklands mate. So moot point. To be an effective and capable military we need an amount of everything I’m afraid. Who knows what’s round the corner, true, no tanks would go the jungle if we deployed, but would on the North German plains, or as it is now, Eastern European countries! If your enemy could possibly have a capability then we need it, and better, to ensure both deterrence and then overmatch. Thanks mate.

Steve
Steve
1 day ago
Reply to  Airborne

If we had Apache in Falklands, they would have been there though and that’s my thought. In every war in recent history our troops have been at risk due to lack of CAS and over reliance on the US for it. Tanks however are considered a sledgehammer tool, and that is why there is reluctance to use them, and preference for guided missiles.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 day ago
Reply to  Steve

Apache would probably have been on Atlantic Conveyor with the Chinooks.

Need to be able to fight with and without.

Nothing is ever ideal.

But at the same time you can never predict the unseen and unseeable war you will have to fight next.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
11 hours ago
Reply to  Steve

Not sure the Russians are reluctant to use tanks – they just have second-rate tanks, poorly trained and demotivated crews, fragile logistic support and use them poorly.
Equally other ‘threat nations’ (Iran, China, North Korea) have lots of tanks and would not be reticent about using them in war.
You don’t use GM instead of tanks.

Steve
Steve
11 hours ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Thats not my point. What I was trying to say is we are not capable of taking on any major country including Iran/china/north Korea etc alone. In all releastic scenarios we will be deploying at extreme range and not within the UK. The UK has also accepted it can not longer act alone. At which point mobility becomes more useful. We should stop trying to mirror the US (ending up being low on numbers in every area) and instead specialise, and excel in a specific capability. Which I feel should be around peacekeeping roles, which MBT is less useful. It’s… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
6 hours ago
Reply to  Steve

We haven’t been capable of taking on major enemies (due to a small army) for hundreds of years – in the Napoleonic wars we fought as an alliance. It has been very rare that we have fought alone, pretty much just colonial conflicts and similar (Falklands, 82). I certainly have never contemplated Britain taking on Iran, China or North Korea alone. I think everyone accepted that many years ago. We have been NATO forces since 1949 and know that we gain more benefit being in an alliance. The British Army has always been expeditionary – it even crossed water to… Read more »

Dern
Dern
1 day ago
Reply to  Airborne

(Plus we did have CVRT in the Falklands…. but the Falklands didn’t have a lot of things. IFV’s SPG’s, SPAAG, on both sides, so let’s not get carried away thinking that it’s very representative).

BTW the Cambodians used tanks quite successfully in the jungle apparently.

Airborne
Airborne
1 day ago
Reply to  Dern

Wonder what tanks and would have to be secondary jungle mate! I know the yanks did use them to an extent in Vietnam, but I’m thinking of the deep primary jungle as in Brunei etc, but it was just a loose (poss lazy lol) example! Cheers.

Dern
Dern
1 day ago
Reply to  Airborne

I had to look it up, got the details mildly wrong; South Vietnamese Armour with support from Cambodian Loyalists, tanks used where M48’s.
While I’m sure we wouldn’t deploy CR’2 into a junge (MoD is willing to believe that tanks are useless in terrain even if allies prove otherwise *COUGH* Leopard in Afghan *COUGH*) I think the Americans certainly would, and it’s utility shouldn’t be underestimated. 50-60 tonnes of weigh can be a hinderence, but when combined with over 1,000 horse power it also enables a vehicle to plow through some objects lighter vehicles would struggle with.

Airborne
Airborne
1 day ago
Reply to  Dern

Mate contrary to what people would think looking at my avatar I’m a full supporter of tanks and Armd Inf! Just wouldn’t like to be in one 🤪👍

Dern
Dern
21 hours ago
Reply to  Airborne

First saying you have family in the RAF reg, now this….
Are you sure you’re a Para? 🤔😂

Airborne
Airborne
46 seconds ago
Reply to  Dern

2 Sqn RAF Reg aren’t I, the original 2 Paa, 5 miler of death and all that, grrrrr!!!!! Nooooooooooooooo shit, just woke up in a sweat, had a nightmare……thank fuck I’m still me, but…..Noooooooooo my son in law is still RAF Reg though aaaaaaaagh!!!! 😂🤮🤪

Farouk
Farouk
1 day ago
Reply to  Steve

Steve,
4 Scorpions and 4 Scimitars CVR (T) were used during the conflict.

Steve
Steve
1 day ago
Reply to  Farouk

Yeah but that would be the boxer and/or Ajax ( should they get it working) role going forward.

Clearly they need to get a proper gun solution on the boxer, but I assume that will come.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 day ago
Reply to  Steve

Use a BV variant. The Viking would be ideal in the terrain of the Falkland Islands and the Ajax Boxer too heavy.

Frank62
Frank62
15 hours ago
Reply to  Farouk

And the Argentines deployed quite a few Panhard armoured cars if I remember correctly. Don’t know if they were ever put to use though or just parked in Stanley/on the airport to look good for the Argie press. The LTVP7s where very useful for the invasion too.

AlexS
AlexS
1 day ago
Reply to  Steve

In Falklands there wasn’t widespread manpads in Argentinian forces.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 day ago
Reply to  AlexS

There was quite a lot of Blowpipe around on both sides.

AlexS
AlexS
1 day ago

There was quite a lot of Blowpipe around on both sides.

First Blowpipe is difficult to use, second there weren’t a lot, third and i forgot to say, operational use of helicopters agianst infantry/AFv was rare.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 day ago
Reply to  AlexS

UK forces were awash with Blowpipe. UK had sold it to the Argentinians and they had a good few.

Blowpipe was totally useless irrespective of the skill of the operator.

Mr Mark Franks
Mr Mark Franks
1 day ago
Reply to  Steve

How many MBTs did Argentina employ? The Falklands are one big bog. The Scimitar or whatever was used had a very light footprint. If the Agentines had not surrendered when they did it would have been a different story.

Steve
Steve
1 day ago
Reply to  Mr Mark Franks

To me any future war is going to be like Ukraine, fought in an urban environment (progressively likely as cities expand), which makes fighting close and makes it easy for defenders to do ambush tactics with anti tank weapons. This was predicted a few years ago by one of the US top generals who was pushing for a change in gearing away from the MBT. The days of troops lining up across a field are gone, in my opinion. The defender will always want to fight in an urban areas as it allows the best defensive positions and it discourages… Read more »

Last edited 1 day ago by Steve
Airborne
Airborne
1 day ago
Reply to  Steve

Agreed as we need to be prepared to fight such a conflict, a heavy conflict not just the “expeditionary” warfare that seems to be the in thing, “light, agile etc” and all the other buzzwords. But what can mitigate the OBUAs, is well trained in combined arms warfare, combat teams. We train for it, NATO trains for it, we spend vasts amount of money on training, something the Russkies don’t. While it is a concern and will be relevant I don’t think the Russkie example is typical! They are half trained incompetent fools with limited training and experience, with a… Read more »

Steve
Steve
1 day ago
Reply to  Airborne

This is the trap the UK has got itself into, trying to be a all capability armed forces and end up being too small in every area to be effective. We need to priorities/optimise and rely on allies to bring some of the capability.

Airborne
Airborne
1 day ago
Reply to  Steve

Agreed, as we have some niche capabilities second only to the USA, and those should be our main contribution to NATO, but, we do need the armour! Alas you are correct insofar we are trying to maintain a full range of those capabilities, which as they get more expensive, the numbers are reducing, to the result some areas are now hollow and unable to provide depth or reinforce any battle damaged assets we suffer. Cannot see it changing, but hopefully Ukraine is a bit of an eye opener for our various elected reps!

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
1 day ago
Reply to  Steve

I agree. Twice now! The War in Ukraine 2022 is a turning point. Watch how many fail to turn.

farouk
farouk
1 day ago
Reply to  Mr Mark Franks

Mark wrote;
How many MBTs did Argentina employ? 

None, but they did have 12 French Panhard Armoured cars in Stanley:


Opera Snapshot_2022-05-05_103552_external-preview.redd.it.png
Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 day ago
Reply to  Mr Mark Franks

Very true.

MBT’s would have been useless on a lot of the ground.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
11 hours ago
Reply to  Steve

The Falklands was not an armoured warfare operation. The Argies did not have tanks so we did not deploy ours – anyway Chieftains would have sunk in the peat. It was an infantry operation from start to finish. Not a good comparison to Ukraine mate.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 day ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Good point, well made.

David
David
1 day ago
Reply to  Steve

As good as the Apache is – and it is – hasn’t the war in Ukraine shown us how vulnerable such aircraft are to cheap MANPADs? It makes me wonder how long 50 would last in a peer-on-peer shooting match.

Still, with Javelin and NLAW, they are also showing a Russian tank is not safe place to be in either. I dare say CR3’s armour would fare better but still…… steel coffins.

Airborne
Airborne
1 day ago
Reply to  David

Ukraine is showing us all how effective various platforms are mate isn’t it. The biggest learning curve in my eyes is one we have got correct already, that even small numbers of modern, decent kit, operate by professionals who have trained long and hard in their various skill sets, trump numbers and cannon fodder every time.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 day ago
Reply to  Airborne

A point I have made a few times in connection with Ukraine.

Very well expressed.

I don’t think we can deduce anything about how good Apache might or might not be from the Russian junk flown by poorly trained pilots.

Airborne
Airborne
1 day ago

Agreed mate

Steve
Steve
1 day ago
Reply to  David

This is my concern, any near peer war is going to involve manpad/ATGM in plentyful and as such there needs to be a rethink of how the army gear. I don’t know what the solution is but I do know that the wars we have fought recently we have had to rely heavily on CAS to make the difference as a force multiplier and that had mainly had to come from the US. Additionally Apache with longbow is designed to work against manpad through pop up attacks, leaving the defender little time to target against them and fire.

AlexS
AlexS
1 day ago
Reply to  Steve

The solution is more range, so guided artillery., drones with +10km range missiles..

Steve
Steve
1 day ago
Reply to  AlexS

Yeah range is the solution for both armour and helicopters. I doubt in a future war we will see tanks up close in the fight. The advantage that helicopters have is speed, allowing them to be deployed fast as required, although that comes at a trade off with time on station that artillery can provide

AlexS
AlexS
1 day ago
Reply to  Steve

I only see pojnt in Apaches(and other attack helicopters) to breack enemy penetrations of our lines.
Basically when situation is in flux and the enemy haven’t established defences.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 day ago
Reply to  Steve

Or maybe the counter measures on Apache are as good as NLAW is against Russian tanks…..?

IKnowNothing
IKnowNothing
1 day ago
Reply to  David

Surely the ultimate point is that a modern peer on peer war will be murderous for all involved, regardless of equipment?

So certainly keep preparing to fight it, but pray we never have to

Airborne
Airborne
1 day ago
Reply to  Steve

Understand the thought process as the extra AH would be very effective but, you cannot take and hold ground with a flying platform which had to leave location to refuel and rearm! Infantry and tanks do that and we must have the mixed bag of everything (more of it as well) to be an effective organisation mate. Cheers.

AlexS
AlexS
1 day ago
Reply to  Steve

Apaches are much easier to destroy than a Challenger.
In my view without behind-the-hill missiles like Spike NLOS that US Army is putting in their Apaches they are a death trap in peer to peer.

We just have to see the huge helicopter losses in Ukraine.

Jay R
Jay R
1 day ago
Reply to  AlexS

How is the Apache more survivable than a Ka-52? Also Ukraine shows us, without air dominance, you lose.

AlexS
AlexS
1 day ago
Reply to  Jay R

That is why i said there is need of missile for Apaches that can be fired without line of sight like Spike NLOS.

Rob
Rob
1 day ago

Other helicopter news; 3 RAF Chinooks training over Bromley and Croydon yesterday… maybe practising for a SFs urban extraction?

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
1 day ago
Reply to  Rob

Yes it is rough down there. Maybe some of fox hunting lobby got a bit rowdy

Rob
Rob
1 day ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Bromley maybe. Croydon is more like LA where they shoot at Police helicopters. Oh,I’m well north of the river too.

Matt
Matt
1 day ago
Reply to  Rob

Quite appropriate.

Well north of the river is LA-LA land.

John Clark
John Clark
1 day ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

I’ve heard of the mass ranks of advancing Chelsea Tractors and rowdy tweed camouflaged soldiers are a problem in rural areas …. Last I heard the Foxes are being given Leopard MBT’s and Javelins….

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
1 day ago

Can anyone tell if these are the new E models of Apache or the Westland apaches?

Aaron L
Aaron L
1 day ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

They will be the older Westland Apaches. The 12 E’s we currently have delivered are on trials.

Mr Mark Franks
Mr Mark Franks
1 day ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

As I understand they are complete rebuilds.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
1 day ago
Reply to  Mr Mark Franks

Yea I think they are. I wonder what the cost different is between new apaches versus rebuilds? Forces do seem to like doing rebuilds. Drones will be the future, a kind of loyal wingman. You could have sensors, weapons carried by multiple drones. Perhaps freeing up the actual manned helicopters to have anti air systems. The possibilities are endless. Killing the enemy drones is also going to become a bigger issue. I would say cheap, effective drone killers weapons will have to be carried. So an apache will have to be able to defend from SAM’s (small to large) and… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 day ago
Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
1 day ago
Reply to  Paul.P

I can’t read the full article but could/would leonardo deliver a suitable helicopter cheaper than what the US have.
Taiwan needs to develop its own equipment. They always struggle to get what they need. They are progressing with home built submarines which is what they have needed for a long time.
Taiwan goal has to be defending the island to repel an invasion. A very big mission indeed.

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 day ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Merlin would surely do a jobfor them. I’m losing track..are they built in Yeovil or Italy or Poland these days?Are they being built at all?

RobW
RobW
1 day ago
Reply to  Paul.P

It is still in production, just. A few orders still being built for Norway and Poland, deliveries due this year and next. After that no more orders I am aware of. Built in Yeovil but from parts made all over the place.

AlexS
AlexS
1 day ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Merlin are quite expensive with 3 engines for a start. There aren’t many ASW alternatives. NH90 have their own issues. Wildcat is small. Maybe they can convince Leonardo to ASWtize one AW149 since it is already navalized.

Last edited 1 day ago by AlexS
expat
expat
1 day ago

I think Leonardo UK is working on a 3 ton unmanned platform, perhaps these will be teamed with the 60 or so Apaches we have as a force multiplier. But I guess our biggest blocker will be US/Boeing who will inevitably drag there feet and offer a US solution. Boeing offered these so cheap knowing the real money is in the support and weapons systems further down the road.

Last edited 1 day ago by expat
expat
expat
1 day ago
Reply to  expat

For anyone interested. Sarah Cook, vice-president of operations at Leonardo Helicopters UK, speaking to media on 28 May (2021?)at the airframer’s Yeovil, UK facility, said that the earlier work has enabled the company to narrow its options for the new helicopter. “We have now got to a point where we have said we think we have a design solution from an aircraft perspective that we would like to move forward with. “It gives us a very flexible solution with a modular design.” Cook says as currently envisaged, the demonstrator will look like “a conventional aircraft”, but will not face the… Read more »

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
1 day ago
Reply to  expat

For future deals being able to own the software/hardware and integrate and modify rapidly is required.
The F35 is a real lesson in how not to do it regarding integration/block upgrades etc.
if the U.K. said we need brimstone asap I can imagine the reply being a huge cost and years down the line.
This is why items like tempest etc are so important to develop over just buying what someone else makes.

Last edited 1 day ago by Monkey spanker
expat
expat
1 day ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

I agree, there’s hidden costs on what appears to be an off the shelf purchase. I do recognise the flip side that handing out a contract to a single contractors would also see prices inflated so we get hit either way. In some areas we do have a competition in the defence industry which help get value for money but Tempest is a great example where it can only really be done by a collaboration with industry. I am more optimistic on the future, in recent years the government is looking at start ups more, encouraging competition and new ideas… Read more »

Grizzler
Grizzler
1 day ago
Reply to  expat

So they can fund them ,then allow anything decent to be bought out by foreign competition?

They need to re-evaluate the free market laws that allow this to happen as well if we are to truly develop and keep world class tech.

Expat
Expat
1 day ago
Reply to  Grizzler

The problem is the UK is no the best place to run a business the first decent offer that comes in business owner had no incentive to keep the business and develop it.

Michael
Michael
1 day ago

North Macedonia

Sharon Robertson
Sharon Robertson
1 day ago

It is awesome to see many nation in NATO to push against Russia by arming surrounding nations of former USSR.
Deployment is never a easy situation but
Preventing further invasion is better then WWlll!