French Army Helicopters on Exercise with AAC

As part of the ongoing development of interoperability between the UK and French armed forces the AAC invited a contingent of French Helicopters to the UK to take part in training and exercises over the latter half of April.

2012 saw significant progress in the development of the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF), the Exchange Officer programme, bilateral exercises, communications and information systems (CIS) interoperability and equipment co-operation. Ex Corsican Lion in October was the year’s highly successful flagship bilateral event and highlighted the significant level of interoperability that has developed between the UK and French armed forces since the signing of the Lancaster House Treaty in 2010. Following our successful co-operation in Libya, the UK’s support for the French intervention in Mali is a further tangible demonstration of our strong commitment to the aims of the Treaty and is providing another valuable opportunity to develop operational interoperability between our armed forces.

As part of the MOD initiative to increase UK military cooperation with our French counterparts, the Army Aviation Centre (AACen) at Middle Wallop hosted a contingent from the French 3rd Combat Helicopter Regiment (ALAT)(French Army Air Corps). The visit provided the opportunity to exchange ideas, tactical knowledge and operational experience. During their visit, the French aircraft conducted UK airspace familiarisation flying in order to grasp a better understanding of the UK Low Flying System and its associated regulations as well as undertaking navigation training around southern England and Wales, including the London heli-lanes. This was then reinforced by a week of tactical support flying, in a realistic tactical environment on Ex Joint Warrior in Scotland (reported on in the last issue of LZDZ).

The detachment that visited the AACen comprised of 6 x Gazelle, 1 x Puma and a total of 32 personnel.

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