Apache helicopters completes training on HMS Prince of Wales


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According to information published by the Royal Navy on June 22, 2021, the Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopter in Britain’s arsenal has completed two weeks’ intensive training on the nation’s newest aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales.


Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopter on the aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales (Picture source: Royal Navy)

Three gunships joined HMS Prince of Wales to allow the Army Air Corps’ fliers get their sea legs back – and give the Portsmouth-based warship a taste of the helicopter’s striking power.

The fearsome-looking aircraft joined the carrier before she departed her home base on her latest series of trials and training in the English and Bristol Channels.

The Army Air Corps maintains a specialist maritime Apache squadron, 656, with modified gunships equipped with floatation devices should one of the multi-million-pound helicopters having to ditch (thankfully they haven’t).

The emphasis of the squadron’s embarkation on the carrier was ensuring air and ground crew were used to operating at sea – and to train Prince of Wales’ air/air engineering departments in handling, moving, maintaining and launching/recovering the Apache as part of the carrier’s broader air group.

During the fortnight-long spell on the Portsmouth-based leviathan, 656 Squadron shared the flight deck with RAF Chinooks, Royal Navy Merlins and, briefly, the first F-35 Lightning jets to land/take-off from HMS Prince of Wales.

The Army Air Corps fliers landed and took off 161 times, qualified one new pilot for maritime operations by day/night, while eight more regained or maintained their currency.


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