RAF Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) - Support Helicopters - Sea King - Chinook HC2 - Gazelle




The UK armed forces' Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) became operational on 1 April 2000. During late 2013 the JHC had about 190 aircraft from the Royal Navy, Army Air Corps and Royal Air Force under command.

Royal Air Force helicopters deployed with the JHC include Chinook HC4/HC4A/HC5; Puma HC2; Merlin HC3; Sea King HAR3.

More detail relating to the JHC >>

The majority of  UK service helicopters are assigned to the Joint Helicopter Command, a formation under the command of Commander Land Forces. The primary role of the JHC is to deliver and sustain effective Battlefield Helicopter and Air Assault assets, operationally capable under all environmental conditions, in order to support the UK's defence missions and tasks. Major formations under JHC command are as follows:

  • All Army Aviation Units

  • RAF Support Helicopter Force

  • Commando Helicopter Force

  • 16 Air Assault Brigade

  • Combat Support Units

  • Combat Service Support Units

  • Joint Helicopter Command and Standards Wing

Our estimate for the JHC service personnel total is approximately 13,000 from all three services. During operations elements of the JHC would probably be assigned to formations/units under the command of the Joint Forces Command (JFC)
Our figures suggest that the JHC appears to have about 195 aircraft available as follows.

Possible UK Helicopter types available during 2014
Royal Navy  
Sea King Mk4 22
Army Air Corps  
Apache 49
Gazelle 12
Lynx / Wildcat 30
Defender / Islander 9
Royal Air Force  
Chinook 29
Merlin Mk3/3A 20
Puma Mk2 24
Note: These figures suggest numbers of aircraft available for operations and not the total inventory which includes aircraft being used for training or being upgraded etc.

In a normal non-operational environment (with the exception of Lynx), each individual aircraft is resourced to fly approximately 400 hours per year. The Lynx fleet is generally resourced for 23,900 hours, which averages about 405 hours per aircraft.
Helicopters not under the command of the JHC include the Royal Navy's fleet helicopters (in support of ships at sea), and the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy’s search and rescue aircraft.