Apache attack helicopters belonging to 3 Regiment Army Air Corps have successfully carried out a long-range strike operation as part of Exercise Steadfast Defender.

This exercise marks NATO’s largest deployment in a generation.

The operation featured AH-64E Apache helicopters from 663 Squadron, deployed from Finland to strike targets hundreds of miles away in Estonia.

In a tweet, 3 Regiment Army Air Corps shared, “AH-64E from 663 Sqn, attached to the 4AAC Battlegroup deployed from Finland to strike hundreds of miles away in Estonia.”

The British Army’s new Apache AH-64E attack helicopter is spearheading the deployment of helicopters on NATO’s largest military exercise since the Cold War.

All the activity comes under the umbrella of Exercise Steadfast Defender 24, which is testing and refining NATO’s plans for reinforcing European defences against a near-peer adversary. Some 20,000 British personnel are involved, among 90,000 troops from all 32 members of the alliance.

The British Army has purchased 50 Boeing-built Apache AH-64Es, with 3 Regiment Army Air Corps the first of the two frontline Apache regiments to begin operating the new aircraft in 2022. The AH-64E offers improved flying performance and new sensors and communications systems that vastly improve its battlefield performance over the Apache Mk1 it replaces.

Avatar photo
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. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

16 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_822499)
1 month ago

Can these new Apache’s be fitted with any air to air missiles if required? Something like a Starstreak?

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_822543)
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

It was ‘planned for’ but dropped from our D models, as the sand box wars didn’t require it.

A self defence AAM is absolutely required now for the E, so it ‘should’ be funded.

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_822545)
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

I think the old ones could carry some version of Sidewinder or Stinger if I’m not mistaken, so presumably these can too. Problem with Starstreak is it’s laser matrix guided, so would be trickier to integrate than the IR homers of a heat seeker.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_822580)
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe16

Sounds like they might need a smaller/ lighter version of the ASRAAM then?

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_822587)
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Well, ASRAAM is about twice the length and weight of Brimstone, but but it’s probably the length that is more of the issue- if a wing pylon can take 4-8 Brimstone then the weight loading isn’t really going to be a deal breaker. But ASRAAM has a range out beyond 25 km, which is a little pointless for Apache, because they don’t have the air-to-air targetting systems to cue it. I don’t see why they couldn’t cut the rocket motor in half and bring the length down to something more manageable and suitable for an Apache’s likely engagement envelope. Whether… Read more »

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_822871)
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

A simple IR Homer would suffice 🙄.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_822778)
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

What sort of targets do you envisage? Enemy AH?

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_822813)
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Yes, potentially other helos, aircraft, missiles, drones, even just to have a longer range strike. Maybe it could just be a ER Starstreak/Martlet/LMM type with a different head?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_822997)
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Those Apache crews will be very busy then if they have to do that as well as take out enemy tanks and other key AFVs (their primary role). Perhaps we should have bought 100 or more.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_823074)
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Just to have some means to defend themselves air to air if there ever was a need but it’d have to be pretty lightweight. Yes, a few of us here always want more!!

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_823075)
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Do the Army Wildcats carry Martlet and have any secondary air to ground capabilities besides the 12.5mm? As it’d be quite a force multiplier.

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_822546)
1 month ago

An interesting exercise, wonder how they wen about doing it- I presume there was a hot refuelling location set up ahead of the force by Marines or similar? Maybe on one of the Baltic islands between the two locations. I don’t think AH-64Es can do air to air refuelling. What concerns me, though, is that the last time I’m aware of that Apaches tried a “first strike” type mission against an enemy with some form of air defence, it didn’t go well… Without the appropriate SEAD/DEAD support, they run the risk of being shot to pieces. Hopefully this was a… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_822548)
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe16

Joint Helicopter Support Squadron and Tactical Supply Wing may have been involved re Apache FOBs.

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_822554)
1 month ago

That would certainly make sense- nice to know we have a dedicated unit to do that kind of thing! Not all of our support functions have been cut/ moved to reserve yet…

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_822723)
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe16

No, not at all.
There are Engineers, fuel supply, Signals, underslung load specialists in the army that support aviation, be it RAF airfields or deployed assets in the field, so overwhelmingly the AAC and the RAFs SHF.

Ian
Ian (@guest_822794)
1 month ago

What an awesomely beautiful and terrifying aircraft. These things fly over my house quite regularly on their way to / from the Otterburn ranges. My son loves it. And so do I, probably a bit more than he does!