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The General Staff and the Helicopter - British Army Helicopter Projects & Weapons

The General Staff and the Helicopter -
AUTHOR Chris Gibson
BINDING Paperback
ILLUSTRATIONS Photos & Illustrations

The British Armys first operational
encounter with the helicopter
occurred in the jungles of Burma in
early 1944. The Army saw the
helicopters potential and had by
1956 acquired the Saro Skeeter as a
replacement for the Auster AOP.
With the formation of the modern
Army Air Corps in 1957 the Army
was set to operate helicopters in
liaison and casevac with the RAF
providing the airlift air support.
Since the Great War the British
Army had sought its own close air support but that role was reserved for the RAF or FAA, much to the chagrin of the General Staff. The Army Air Corps was allowed bolt-on weapons
for their new Westland Scout helicopters and with the change to Flexible Response in 1961 a
conventional counter to the threat posed by Warsaw Pact tank armies was required and the helicopter-mounted guided missile was adopted.
The armed helicopter in the form of the Scout with SS.11 and the Westland Lynx with TOW,
operating alongside heliborne Milan teams, provided the British Armys anti-tank capability until the end of the Cold War. What the General Staff really wanted was an attack helicopter,
a machine that could not only operate in the anti-tank role but also provide fire support for troops on the ground. The answer was the Westland WAH-64D Apache AH1 attack helicopter
that entered operational service with the Army Air Corps in 2005.
The procurement of the Apache was not cut and dried, as the MoD and General Staff examined many options throughout the last three decades of the 20th Century. These included attack helicopters based on the Westland Lynx, developments of the Agusta A129, Mangusta, the Eurocopter Tiger plus UK versions of the Bell AH-1 Cobra and Denel Rooivalk. Of most interest is the inclusion of newly released information about Westlands work on low observable stealth helicopters, including the WG.44, WG.45 and WG.47. These were intended to allow the Army Air Corps to operate in the face of improving Warsaw Pact air
defences on the forward edge of the Cold War battlefield in West Germany.
The General Staff and The Helicopter – British Army Helicopter Projects and Weapons comprises 64 pages and is fully illustrated with previously unpublished original company
artwork and drawings with additional illustrations by Luciano Alviani, Luca Landino and the author.

AUTHOR Chris Gibson
BINDING Paperback
ILLUSTRATIONS Photos & Illustrations