The British Army say their Apache attack helicopters have fired Hellfire missiles inside the Arctic circle for the first time.
According to a release, facing temperatures dropping to -30°C and white-out flying conditions, 656 Squadron 4 Regiment Army Air Corps is training in the far north of Norway.
Together with RAF Chinook and Royal Navy Wildcat helicopters, the Squadron is preparing for Exercise Cold Response in March, which involves 14,000 troops from 10 nations to test the ability of NATO forces to operate together in the Arctic.
For 656 Sqn, the deployment has been focused on proving its warfighting ability after the Apache made its Arctic debut in early 2019, say the British Army.
Officer Commanding Major Huw Raikes said:
“Last year the Squadron learnt how to operate the Apache in the Arctic. The extreme cold presents unique differences to how we normally conduct our business but we have developed ways to overcome the human, engineering and flying challenges. This year we have established new and innovative ways to fight the aircraft. This has relied immensely on the support of the Royal Navy’s Commando Helicopter Force, who have a long experience of operating in the Arctic that has been generously shared.
Firing Hellfire missiles for the first time is a significant milestone in proving the capability of the aircraft in this environment; it’s an achievement that everyone in the Squadron has contributed to and can be rightly proud of. We’re now looking forward to flying in support of the Royal Marines and our NATO partners on Exercise Cold Response.”
The Hellfire is a precision missile used to strike ground and maritime targets; the Apache is able to carry up to 16 missiles.