Coachlines - April 2019

15.04.19 Liveryman Martin Derrick

Coachmakers’ visit to the Army Air Corps’ Attack Helicopter Force

A fortunate group of Coachmakers had the rare privilege of visiting the Army Air Corps’ Attack Helicopter Force HQ at Wattisham Airfield near Ipswich for a close-up introduction to the astonishing capabilities of the Apache helicopter.

A former RAF WW2 bomber airfield, Wattisham was leased to the US Air Force during the Cold War and was later transferred to the Army. It is now the UK’s largest Army airfield and it is where Prince Harry learned to fly.

After a welcome in the Officers’ Mess from the AHF’s Commander Colonel Chris Bisset the briefing was handed over to Apache pilot Major Chuck Nichol for an overview of the aircraft itself and an insight into the tactics used in battle.

In a nutshell it has a maximum speed of 287 km/h, a maximum range of 490 km, a service ceiling of 14,000 ft and maximum endurance of 2.3 hours in internal fuel tanks – though these can be supplemented by two further external tanks.

The aircraft has four pylon stations on its stub wings which if not fitted with those external fuel tanks, can be configured in any combination of Hydra rockets and/or Hellfire missiles. In addition there’s a 30mm M230 cannon with 1200 rounds capability.