Exercise Talon Python 151118 CREDIT BFBS

Apache And Wildcat Crews Tested Side-By-Side On Exercise

The two-week exercise is testing Apache and Wildcat crews side-by-side over an extended period for the very first time.

Exercise Talon Python 151118 CREDIT BFBS

Apache and Wildcat helicopters have taken to the skies above Leicestershire as Army aviators from 3 Regiment Army Air Corps (3Regt AAC) take part in Exercise Talon Python.

It’s one of the most realistic exercises 3 Regt AAC have ever undertaken - designed to prepare personnel for any potential threat or future deployment.

The aim of the exercise is to demonstrate how the Regiment are able to operate behind enemy lines and carry out missions independently in different environments. 

Although both the Wildcat and the Apache crews have worked together before, the exercise is the first time they have worked hand-in-hand for an extended period of time.

“There’s still quite a few people who have operated in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last ten to fifteen years,” said Lieutenant Colonel Nick English.

“But of course that sort of finished three, four, five years ago. So lots of our junior soldiers haven’t had that experience before.

"[Exercises] are really important in terms of helping them understand the lessons that we’ve learnt from fifteen years ago.”

Over the two-week exercise, 3 Regt AAC will launch formations of up to four Apaches and two Wildcats on simulated missions to find and strike targets. 

Ex Talon Python 151118 CREDIT BFBS
Apaches wait for take-off.

“This exercise is important because it’s the first time that Wildcat and Apache have worked together in a sustained role,” explained Captain Stuart Jump, Operating Officer of 659 Squadron.

“We’ve done it in short periods, in two days stints before but this is the first time for more than a couple of days.”

The Apache Attack Helicopter can operate in all weathers, day or night and detect, classify and prioritise up to 256 potential targets in a matter of seconds.

The helicopter is designed to deliver hard-hitting and effective support to ground forces during battle, as well as reconnaissance operations.

Wildcat prepares for takeoff 151118 CREDIT BFBS
The crew of a Wildcat prepare for takeoff

Meanwhile, the Wildcat can provide a range of tasks including the transportation of troops and also reconaissance.

Ground crew on the Exercise include Petroleum Specialists, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and Communication Specialists.

Their role will include site survey analysis, the studying of wind direction, routine fuel testing and calculate expected resupply.