Army’s Apache Helicopters Dominate Aviation Awards

The British Army’s Apache attack helicopters have flown their way to success at the annual Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators (GAPAN) awards.

The UK’s Attack Helicopter Force has picked up four awards in recognition of the exceptional, innovative and brave work by pilots and ground crew on operations in Afghanistan and Libya.

The Johnston Memorial Trophy has been awarded to the AH Force for the sustained effort by the entire ‘UK Team Apache’ – from pilots and ground crew to industry partners who developed, built and help to maintain the aircraft – to make the Apache the weapon of first choice in counter insurgency operations.

Captain (now Major) Matthew Noble-Clarke has been awarded the Grand Master’s Commendation on behalf of His Royal Highness Prince Andrew. Between 2006 and 2010 Capt Noble-Clarke spent 19 months in Afghanistan on four tours, and was the first Apache pilot to have amassed over 1,000 hours of operational flying.

656 Squadron, 4 Regt AAC received The Master’s Commendation for their pioneering work to deploy the Apache helicopter from Royal Navy ships in 2005 and subsequently into Afghanistan in 2006. Since being nominated, 656 Sqn have flown operational sorties over Libya from HMS Ocean.

Major David Amlot MBE has been awarded the Sir Barnes Wallis Medal in recognition of an exceptional and innovative contribution to aviation. His work in the judgemental training of crews on rules of engagement, targeting directives and law of armed conflict, has helped crews to balance their offensive spirit against courageous restraint, saving countless lives.

The awards were presented at a ceremony in October. AH Force Commander Col Neale Moss said: “I am delighted that the continued operational success of the AH Force has been recognised, and it is particularly pleasing to be honoured by GAPAN as fellow aviation professionals.

“I congratulate each and every one of the recipients, but also the AH Force or rather ‘UK Team Apache’ as a whole. I am hugely proud of the effort put in by all, whether ground crew, technicians, or aircrew, civilian or military.’’

Captain Wally Epton, the Master of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators, said: “The GAPAN awards recognise true achievement and meritorious conduct in aviation, whether by individuals, crews or whole organisations.

“All of our recipients are giants amongst their fellow aviators. The four awards to the AH Force are worthy examples of this.”

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