aviation assets are grouped within 16 Air Assault Brigade. Aviation Attack
Regiments are equipped with both Attack Helicopters (AH) and
Utility Helicopters (UH). The primary role of the unit is to provide the
firepower and enabling capabilities around which combined arms manoeuvre
operations can be conducted. Attack Helicopters are a manoeuvre weapon
system, and have three main tasks:
b. Armed Reconnaissance tasks
c. Security tasks
Aviation tasks are undertaken by Light Utility Helicopters (LUH) in two
of Attack Helicopters
Light utility helicopters provide the primary means to undertake battle
procedures in support of the attack helicopter element. In so doing, they
equate to the ground vehicles that support battle procedures within
armoured regiments. Examples of light utility helicopter tasks in direct
support of attack aviation are:
Control (C2) - as an integral element of aviation missions.
Reconnaissance - For forward operating base/forward arming and refuelling
points as a precursor to a full ground reconnaissance.
Sustainment - Movement between forward operating
base/forward arming and refuelling points etc of aircrew, attack
helicopter role equipment, ordnance and so on.
In support of other elements of the Field Army
Where limited forces are required to control large areas, domination by
observation and a physical presence in the air can be the most efficient
and effective way of conducting manoeuvres.
This technique has been used for several years in Northern Ireland and in
The Balkans. There are also very specific combat support requirements for
light utility helicopters in air manoeuvre operations where for example,
all elements of 16 Brigade rely on helicopters for conducting their
Typically these tasks include:
Tactical Mobility - Deployment and recovery of discrete tactical
groups, particularly in the preparatory stages of manoeuvre operations
such as: engineer reconnaissance and preparation; patrol
insertion/extraction; harbour parties; air defence detachments etc.
Command - The movement of a commander to the right place in battle
whilst retaining command during high tempo operations. Divisional, brigade
and battlegroup commanders can be supported in this way.
Communications - Light utility helicopters can be employed as a
communications platform providing radio relay and rebroadcast.
C2 (Command and Control) Support - Light utility helicopters
provide a means of rapid movement between headquarters and units for key
C2 staff and equipment. They also provide a relatively secure method for
transporting classified and security materiel (eg crypto).
Control of Fire - Although the control of fire can be carried out
from attack helicopters, light utility helicopters can also be used to
provide this capability, in support of both ground and air manoeuvre
utility helicopters can provide tactical mobility for forward observation
officer (FOO) parties, artillery tactical groups and forward air control (FAC)
parties within the forward battle area. The size of these parties is
normally two to six strong, and the need to observe targets requires a
high degree of fieldcraft on the part of the light utility helicopter
Light utility helicopter crews can undertake fire control duties when FOO
and FAC parties are unavailable. This is also applicable to attack
helicopter crews, but it is unlikely that attack helicopters will be
available for these tasks in support of ground manoeuvre.
Light utility helicopters can provide airborne fire control for Joint Air
Attack Team operations (JAAT).
ISTAR Support (Integrated, Surveillance, Target Acquisition Radar) -
Light utility helicopters provide a form of manned reconnaissance, whereby
the crew, together with their observation devices are capable of acquiring
information, interpreting it, and reacting to that information.
Helicopter reconnaissance is complementary to manned ground
reconnaissance; each inter-reacts to produce different facets of an
overall capability. Helicopter reconnaissance has very high mobility and
speed of reaction, but it cannot supply the same degree of endurance as
ground based reconnaissance.
ISTAR support tasks are those where the aircraft provides tactical
mobility for a ground based element, but where the aircraft sensors and
crew can also assist and enhance the reconnaissance task of the ground
troops being carried (seeing over the hill).
Some examples of light utility helicopter ISTAR tasks are: screens,
observation posts, point reconnaissance, route reconnaissance, area
reconnaissance, battlefield damage assessment. Examples of ISTAR support
tasks are: formation and battlegroup reconnaissance, engineer
reconnaissance, air defence reconnaissance, nuclear, chemical and
Combat Recovery - Light utility helicopters can be used for the
recovery, not just of aircrew, but of all military personnel. This may be
undertaken through a formal process, but may also be an immediate ad-hoc
task undertaken on behalf of a supported unit or formation.
Sustainment - A wide range of tasks can be undertaken by light utility
helicopters in sustaining formations and units. Some require tactical
movement in forward areas where the relatively small size of light utility
helicopters is an advantage.
Others, although relatively straightforward transport tasks, are more
suited to light utility helicopters when movement by larger transport
helicopter would be unwieldy or impractical. Examples of sustainment tasks
for light utility helicopters are: casualty evacuation; movement of
individuals or small parties; movement of freight such as ordnance or
ammunition within the forward battle area.
Centre at Middle Wallop in Hampshire acts as a focal point for all Army
Aviation, and it is here that the majority of corps training is carried
out. Since mid-1997, elementary flying training for all three services has
been taking place at RAF Shawbury in Shropshire.
the AAC operates some fixed-wing aircraft for training, liaison flying and
radar duties, the main effort goes into providing helicopter support for
the land forces. About 230 AAC helicopters are in service and as of late
1999 (the last year for which accurate figures are available) the Army Air
Corps had approximately 3,200 personnel. There is an establishment figure
for 544 trained pilots and at the beginning of 1999 there was a shortfall