Will Work in Tandem with WILDCATs in-Theatre
The British Army is deploying five APACHE helicopters to the Baltics for three months to exploit training opportunities and to confront what sources tell MON are “credible threats” from Russian forces in the area.
The aircraft left Wattisham for Estonia on 15 April and will operate in tandem with the Army’s WILDCAT battlefield reconnaissance helicopters when they arrive in theatre, 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 (eFP) mission.
“The first deployment of APACHE helicopters to Estonia underlines our position at the forefront of NATO. This is a world-class machine operated by world-class Army aviators and this deployment demonstrates our unwavering commitment to NATO’s collective defence,” commented Defence Minister, Gavin Williamson.
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 capability 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.
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,” stated Officer Commanding 663 Squadron, Maj Dave Lambert.