RECENT YEARS have seen an unprecedented period of change for Joint Helicopter Command with helicopters transitioning from the RAF to the Royal Navy (Merlin HC3/HC3A fleet), stalwarts like the Sea King HC4 and both Lynx variants (AH7/AH9A) retiring, and new variants like the Chinook HC6 and Merlin HC4 introduced.
The helicopter grabbing most headlines for a range of reasons is the Apache AH-64. Since the US Army is switching to the AH-64E, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) initiated its Attack Helicopter Capability Sustainment Programme with the aim of addressing the legacy Apache leet obsolescence. During the Farnborough International Airshow 2016, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced a $2.3 billion deal to acquire 50 AH-64Es for the Army Air Corps. The new aircraft will replace the UK’s current leet of 67 Apache AH1s (equivalent to a US Army Block 1 AH-64D) with an out of service date of 2023-2024.