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Army Air Corps

From Academic Kids

The Army Air Corps is a vital component of the British Army. There are currently seven regiments of the AAC as well as five flights deployed in support of British Army operations across the world. They are currently located in Belize, Brunei, Canada, Cyprus and Germany.

Contents

History of the AAC

The first Army Air Corps

The army first took to the sky when the requirement for observation aircraft was soon realised during the First World War with the created of the Royal Flying Corps.

Between the wars, the Army used RAF co-operation squadrons, though a true army presence did not occur until WWII.

At the beginning of WWII, Royal Artillery officers, with the assistance of RAF technicians, flew Auster observation aircraft under RAF-owned Air Observation Post Squadrons. Twelve such squadrons were raised, and each performed vital duties in a wide array of missions in many theatres.

In early WWII, Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, announced the establishment of a new branch of army aviation, the Army Air Corps, formed in 1942. The corps initially comprised the Parachute Regiment, the Glider Pilot Regiment and the Air Observation Post Squadrons. In 1944, the newly formed SAS Regiment was added to the order of battle.

One of their most successful exploits during the war was the attack on Pegasus Bridge, which occurred on 6th June, prior to the landings at Normandy. Once the three Gliders landed, some roughly which incurred casualties, the pilots joined the Paras' to act as infantry. The Bridge was taken within ten minutes of the battle commencing and the men there withheld numerous attempts by the Germans to re-capture the location. They were soon, much to the relief of the men who stoutly repelled the counter-attacks, reinforced and relieved by soldiers from Lord Lovat's 1 Special Service Brigade, famously led by the tune of the Bagpipes. It was subsequently further reinforced by units of the British 3rd Division.

The AAC was broken up in 1949, with the SAS returning to its independent status, while the Parachute Regiment and Glider Pilot Regiment came under the umbrella of the Glider Pilot and Parachute Corps. The pilots who had once gallantly flown gliders in WWII soon had to re-role into flying powered aircraft, becoming part of the Air Observation Post Squadrons.

The present Army Air Corps

In 1957 the Glider Pilot and Parachute Corps was renamed as simply The Parachute Corps, with the Glider Pilot Regiment, as well as the Air Observation Squadrons amalgamated into a new unit, the Army Air Corps.

From 1970, nearly every army brigade had at least one Aviation Squadron that usually numbered twelve aircraft. The main rotor aircraft during the 70s were the Scout and Sioux general purpose helicopters. Their power though was soon bolstered by the introduction of the Westland Lynx helicopter in 1977 as well as the unarmed Gazelle.

Present Day Units

Regiments

  • 1 Regiment, Army Air Corps
    • 652 Squadron
    • 661 Squadron
  • 2 Regiment, Army Air Corps
    • 651 Squadron
    • 670 Squadron
    • 671 Squadron
  • 3 Regiment, Army Air Corps
    • 653 Squadron
    • 662 Squadron
    • 663 Squadron
  • 4 Regiment, Army Air Corps
    • 654 Squadron
    • 659 Squadron
    • 669 Squadron
  • 5 Regiment, Army Air Corps
    • 655 Squadron
    • 665 Squadron
  • 7 (Volunteer) Regiment, Army Air Corps
    • 658 Squadron
    • 666 Squadron
    • 3 Flight
    • 6 Flight
  • 9 Regiment, Army Air Corps
    • 656 Squadron
    • 664 Squadron
    • 672 Squadron

Independent Squadrons and Flights

  • 657 Squadron
  • 660 Squadron (Defence Helicopter Flying School)
  • 667 Squadron
  • 7 Flight (Brunei)
  • 8 Flight (SAS)
  • 12 Flight (Germany)
  • 25 Flight (Belize)
  • BATUS Flight (Canada)

Aircraft of the AAC (past and present)

Other Information

  • Battle Honours: Although the Army Air Corps is a combat support arm of the British Army, unlike the other support arms (Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, Royal Signals), it carries its own guidon and is awarded battle honours. Thus far, the honours awarded to the AAC are:
  • Marches
    • quick: Recce Flight
    • slow: Thievish Magpie

See Also


Lists of Aircraft | Aircraft manufacturers | Aircraft engines | Aircraft engine manufacturers

Airports | Airlines | Air forces | Aircraft weapons | Missiles | Timeline of aviation

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