British Apache helicopters have departed for Estonia, where they will be training alongside NATO forces.

3 Regiment Army Air Corps is deploying to the Baltics for three months, with Apache attack helicopters of 663 Squadron taking off from their base at Wattisham Flying Station in Suffolk today.

The British Army say that the Apaches will be working in tandem with the Wildcat battlefield reconnaissance helicopters to provide valuable training opportunities to NATO allies on Estonia’s annual Exercise Spring Storm and to the UK-led battlegroup deployed on NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence.

According to a news release:

“Before the Apaches departed from Wattisham, the Defence Secretary spoke with the soldiers who fly and maintain the aircraft to understand more about its capabilities and their mission.

The helicopter deployment will boost the UK’s presence in the Baltics – known as Operation CABRIT – to around 1,000 personnel, making the UK the largest contributor to eFP. The Wildcat’s surveillance ability combined with the Apache’s sensors and weaponry will be a step change in troops’ capabilities to detect, track and engage targets during the exercises they participate in.”

Major Dave Lambert, Officer Commanding 663 Sqn, said:

“The deployment to Estonia is a fantastic opportunity for the Squadron to challenge itself. It will test how we deploy and operate overseas, develop our operational partnership with the Wildcat and our ability to work alongside our NATO allies. Everyone in the Squadron – from ground crew to pilots – has worked hard to prepare for Estonia, and we’re looking forward to Establishing ourselves in theatre and contributing to NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence.”

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Cam

It sucks that the government is only buying 38 new Apache AH-64e aircraft cutting an Army air core squadron and further cutting our numbers and capability!. Why do we let this happen, We were once a superpower!… we still are a global power but we won’t be for long at this rate! We need to invest far more in our military and we need to spend 3% on defence not the 1.5% we currently spend.

Daniele Mandelli

We don’t need to be a superpower, those days are gone.

We should, however, have armed forces befitting our rank, both offensive and defensive.

I think we covered on here Cam that the MoD still plan to purchase 50 with 12 added later. Don’t know why this is so.

The Army Air “Corps” consists of 34 Wildcat and 38 Apache otherwise! Barely more than a Regiment.

Alan Garner

Even if Britain did need to be a superpower it’s unattainable. If contraction to a Self Defence Force is our future then rattling a plastic sabre on Russia’s border isn’t the sensible thing to be doing.

Daniele Mandelli

Morning Alan

If you have read my posts long term you’d see I agree concerning rattling sabres in Russia’s face.

However, NATO is more than plastic, as are the forces of the UK.

While I don’t agree with rubbing Russia’s nose in it I do believe in a bigger, capable military.

Speak softly, and carry a big stick and if you want peace, prepare for war the sayings go.

Ulya

Both sides want the big stick Danielle, there does not seem to be much speaking softly anymore

Daniele Mandelli

Morning Ulya. Agree.

Ulya

Forgive me, I just see I spell your name wrong, and good afternoon

Daniele Mandelli

Ha Ulya, I am used to it. It has been covered here before months ago when a troll made derogatory comments towards me for being female. And just in case you’re not sure…I’m male!! The spelling is Italian for Daniel. Two ll’s is female Danielle.

Ulya

Yes, I remember that conversation, I have been reading here for some time now. I still apologise, it was carless of me, I usually check my words alot to make sure my English is ok before posting but was lazy. I have some questions for you later to get your view but will ask when I have more time as it is not related to this article

Daniele Mandelli

No need to apologise mate. You mentioned your surname a few weeks back. Do you have a Tatar or Cossack background?

Ulya

Tatar father, Tatar and Kazakh mother
One question, your view on America making Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group. I know not related at all but your opinion interests me

Daniele Mandelli

I presume you mean the Iranian Revolutionary Guard? My knowledge on that is minimal, and others will no doubt comment better than me, but from what I read the US believes members of the IRG regularly embed in the groups Hamas and Hezbolla in Lebanon and Syria within the ongoing war over a free Palestine. How true that is I do not know. The whole situation there is a mess of perceived US foreign policy hypocrisy concerning Israel and the wider Middle East. I also read they were also supplying arms to Taliban and other fighters over the eastern border… Read more »

Ulya

Much of what you say is correct, from my understanding weapons to Afghanistan stopped with government change, but I would not be surprised if illigal shipments still happen, and as well as Syria and Lebanon there is also Iraq, but all at invite of ruling government. Your words regarding Isreal make more questions for me but I understand this is usually a sensitive topic so will not ask. You think making RG terrorist group increases change of war with US? Only ask because where the US goes, UK follows so will have direct impact on both our countries, to me… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Agree. US policy always seems to be mimicked by UK foreign policy. Not necessarily. I think the IRG are involved in Iran’s nuclear programme, financial links oversees, and the like. So if the US wants to impose sanctions on individuals involved in these activities listing them as “terrorists” makes the job of blacklisting them easier. Another hot potato is the military build up and competition between Iran and western backed Saudi. Israel. Yes sensitive. Simply because there are many, many UN resolutions imposed on Israel concerning Palestine and its occupation of the West Bank, bulldozing of villages, and much more.… Read more »

Johnny

Does 3 lll’s make you a hemaphrodite ???

Alan Garner

Daniele I agree that NATO and UK forces are more than a plastic sabre, what I was alluding to was thinking we could scare Russia while rapidly shrinking the size of the armed forces. A few Jackals in a tiny battlegroup is, at the same time, unnecessary sabre rattling and not credible. A bigger, capable military must also be for a purpose. Even as small as it is currently it is capable enough to defend the UK against any likely enemy. Obviously if we want an offensive force it needs to grow but who would we be on the offensive… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Understood mate. Cheers. I don’t think we are scaring Russia at all with our minimal assets. The NATO EFP is a trip wire we think will send a message to Russia that if they want to take the Baltic States it means war with NATO. A deterrent, despite their small size. My argument with that has always been when we get involved in every nation from Poland to Uzbekistan and base forces in those places, and beyond, in effect surrounding Russia, it will cause problems due to their rightful, historical paranoia. It is a tricky balancing act showing resolve against… Read more »

Alan Garner

Agree with all, and it’s especially heartening to find someone else with a similar opinion on Russia.

The elephant in this particular room, however, is still funding. There is zero public will to take the steps necessary to grow the economy to the size needed to fund current spending and grow the military, so any funding will always have to come from elsewhere. No UK government, advocating taking money from welfare or the NHS to give to the military, would be electable.

Daniele Mandelli

Agree. Which is one reason why I think we should try for greater mass in “some” areas by buying smarter, buying good rather than Gold Standard occasionally, or getting some one, somewhere, to teach the people in DES and HMG who often spend fortunes on very little, how to increase our bang for our buck. Also CASD. George Osborne and David Cameron have much to answer for adding the costs of Trident sub renewal directly to the MoD core budget. Previously that money came from a central government fund expressly for that purchase. One cursory look at the next decades… Read more »

Cam

I don’t think Britain should be a superpower, but we are a global power and we should have the equipment in numbers to show it Alan. After all we do have an economy far bigger than Russia’s.

Cam

I agree we don’t need to be a superpower, my point was we once were. However we are a global power and we should like you say have a military fitting that role…and we don’t m8. I understand the army air core has lost an Apache squadron and now has 4 instead of 5, I thought the 38 was a reflection of that Dan m8. I hope I’m wrong and we do get another 12. But 50 is an ok number and would go nice with a couple of battle groups we have.

Daniele Mandelli

Agree Cam, actually there were 6 front line Apache Squadrons, 3 in each of 3rd and 4th Regiments AAC, plus the OCU at Wallop, so 7 total. There are 4 now, 2 squadrons each Regiment, plus the OCU at Wallop making 5. There is, or was, also a 6th Squadron, once a part of the 6 making up the regiments earlier complement, but now independent – 653 Operational Training Squadron. I don’t know if it is still exact. The squadrons had 8 Apache each, making 48 front line of the 67 ordered. The rest formed the OCU, trials, and reserves.… Read more »

Cam

Yeah, we are sending our old apaches to Boeing though or parts of then. I wish we could keep a couple squadrons of the old ones we don’t chop up in reserve but no doubt that won’t happen.

Daniele Mandelli

Agree. The Army Reserve is woefully equipped.

Airborne

Daniele, your knowledge is outstanding mate. But deffo need a minimum of 50 just to make a deployable Regiment, fully supported, a reality.

Lusty

Of note in terms of numbers, they will be supported by 4 Wildcat.

Cam

I like the wildcats, i liked the lynx just as much and I liked the skids instead of wheels and surely that’s a far cheaper option no wheels ect. And I hope the Army wildcat gets the armament it deserves and won’t be just a rece chopper for the Army. We should use all the gazelles for the rece role like we used to considering we have a fair few lying around that can be upgraded.

Airborne

Cam the wheels make it easier to land as skids can have a restrictive effect on some LS locations. However gazelles for recce in the modern environment, not so sure. There are about 30 still plodding along, some on Canada but most down in Salisbury training area with the reserve squadrons. Useful airframe but past its sell by daye for any meaningfull recce role mate.

Number deployed is 5. (Apaches). If anyone else was curious.

Airborne

Plus 4 Wildcats mate.