Wildcat Prowls on Salisbury Plain

Reservist ground crew from 6 Regt AAC(V) recently tested out the Army’s next-generation helicopter, the Wildcat, during their annual training exercise on Salisbury Plain.

It was their first opportunity to work with the helicopter which is due in service in 2014. (For further information on Wildcat see previous issue of LZDZ) During the exercise they conducted ground drills on the aircraft as well as manning a simulated Forward Arming and Refuelling Point (FARP).

Commenting on his unit’s chance to put the platform through its paces, CO 6 Regt AAC (V), Lt Col Nigel Banks, said: “It is brilliant for us as a reserve unit to be the first to get up close and personal and work with the Wildcat. The Army of the future will rely more than ever on reserve soldiers deploying alongside their regular counterparts, something we have been doing since we were formed in 2006.”

As well as working with the Wildcat, the groundcrew also had opportunities to work with a Chinook and Apache.

6 Regt AAC(V) is based in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. It’s role is to provide ground crew for Apache and Lynx helicopters as reinforcements to other AAC regiments, both on exercise and operations.

With the emergence of the Wildcat, which will replace the current Lynx helicopter, training will be targeted to encompass this new capability, and this exercise provided the reservists with the opportunity to learn about working with the new Wildcat and become familiar with its refuelling and resupply.

The Wildcat will perform a range of tasks on the battlefield including reconnaissance, transportation of troops and material, and the provision of force protection. It will be significantly more powerful than the current Lynx, enabling it to operate in extreme hot conditions and at high altitudes. This exercise was an opportunity for the Wildcat Fielding Team from Yeovilton to put the aircraft through its paces as part of the preparation for future operational service and their assessment of its capabilities.

6 Regt AAC (V) comprises HQ and 677 Sqn based in Bury St Edmunds, and 655 Sqn based at Middle Wallop in Hampshire. It also has detachments in Norwich, Swaffham and Ipswich.

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