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United Kingdom
Army Aviation

Current Title: Army Air Corps
Abbreviation: AAC

History

Narrative Summary:
Army Air Corps History

Key Dates:
24 February 1942    Glider Pilot Regiment formed
1944    First Royal Artillery Air Observation Post (AOP) units formed
1944    First helicopter, Sikorsky Hoverfly, introduced
late 1945    Glider units disbanded
1 January 1947    AOP flights renumbered in the 1900 series
1949    RAuxAF AOP squadrons established
early 1957    RAuxAF AOP squadrons disbanded
1 Sept 1957    AAC officially established as separate from RAF
1965    Auster AOP.9 retired, AAC becomes a mainly helicopter force
1980    TOW-armed Lynx enters service
1982    AAC helicopters operate in Falkands War
1991    AAC participates in First Gulf War
1992    Withdrawal of units from Germany begins
1997    Withdrawal from Hong Kong completed
1999    Support to UN forces in administration of Kosovo
May 2000    Apache attack helicopter enters service
2003    Second Gulf War
May 2006    Deployment to Afghanistan begins

Current Status:
The AAC is currently engaged in peacekeeping missions in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. The latter seeing the first operational deployment of the Apache attack helicopter. The Apache is progressively replacing the Lynx in the anti-tank role, while the Lynx is being relegated to the reconnaissance and utility roles. Small helicopter detachments are maintained in Belize, Canada and Brunei to support resident British Army training teams.

Future Plans:
4 Regiment to become an Attack Regiment with two squadrons of Apache and one of Lynx AH.9.
Withdraw 1 Regiment from Germany and re-house at new location.
Existing Lynxes will be upgraded to Battlefield Light Utility Helicopter (BLUH) configuration.
Replace A.109s used for Special Forces transport with a new helicopter.
Withdraw Gazelle from service.

National Insignia:
Current --- Historical

Aircraft Serial Numbering System(s):
Serial numbering follows the RAF system.

Unit/Base Aircraft Code System(s):
Unit coding system not used.

Aircraft

Aircraft Designation System(s):
Aircraft and helicopters are each given a name, although this is normally the manufacturers product name e.g. Apache. The variant is defined by two prefix letters and a mark number, e.g. AH.1. Common AAC prefixes are AOP (Airborne Observation Post), AL (Army Liaison), AH (Army Helicopter) and HT (Helicopter Training).

Current Aircraft Inventory:
Table of Current Service Aircraft

All-Time Aircraft Used List:
Alphabetical Order --- Chronological Order

Organisation

Main Headquarters:
Middle Wallop, Hampshire.

Current Organisational Structure:
The basic AAC unit is the Regiment, comprising three Squadrons each, (two anti-tank and one recce.). 1 Regiment is assigned to 1 (British) Corps in Germany, the remainder are assigned to UK Land Forces. 16 Air Assault Brigade comprises 3, 4 and 9 Regiments. 658 Squadron is assigned to the 5th Airborne Brigade. All AAC helicopters come under the control of the Joint Helicopter Command.

Current Order of Battle:
Table of Current Order of Battle

Historical Orders of Battle:
To be added

All-Time Flying Units List:
List of Army Air Corps Units

Air Bases

Current Air Bases:
Table of Current Air Bases to be added.

All-Time Air Bases Used List:
To be added

More Information

Books:

'Army Aviation in Ulster' [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Guy Warner with Alex Boyd
Published by Colourpoint Books, July 2004 ISBN: 1 904242 27 8
* Detailed history of the AAC in Northern Ireland, with many b+w and colour photos.

'UK Air Arms 2006'
by Ian Carroll
Published by Mach III Plus, June 2006 ISBN: ?
* Includes current aircraft individual serials listing.

'The History of the Glider Pilot Regiment: An Official History' [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by General Sir John Hackett
Published by Pen and Sword Books, May 1992 ISBN: 0850523265
* Story of the regiment and it's role in Armhem, Normandy and the Rhine Crossings.

Magazines:

World Air Power Journal No.2 p.150-152
Air Forces Monthly May 2006

Websites:

Army Air Corps Bibliography
(Details of the best books on the AAC)

Army Air Corps
(Official site - history, aircraft, units & bases, news etc)

Wikipedia
(Short history, current units list, links)

Regiments.org
(Commanding officers, honours, links, bibliography)

Army Air Corps Maintenance Serials
(Listing of AAC instructional airframes)

armedforces.co.uk
(British Army organisation, formations, equipment etc)


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First Created: 17 July 2006 - Last Revised: 21 July 2006
Copyright 2006 John Hayles.    e-mail: john@aeroflight.co.uk