Taking to the skies for air assault exercise

Photo credit - Corporal Andy Reddy ANL-160703-135841001
Photo credit - Corporal Andy Reddy ANL-160703-135841001

Paratroopers and Apache attack helicopters took to the skies with the US Air Force for an air assault masterclass.

Exercise Voijek Valour involved 663 Squadron, 3 Regiment Army Air Corps based at Wattisham Flying Station as well as USAF CV-22 Osprey tiltrotors from RAF Mildenhall and HH-60 Pave Hawks from RAF Lakenheath.

Photo credit - Corporal Andy Reddy ANL-160703-135805001

Photo credit - Corporal Andy Reddy ANL-160703-135805001

Based at Hullavington Airfield, near Chippenham, the week-long training saw paratroopers transported by Chinook and Osprey to attack a mock village with Apache carrying out simulated strikes on ground targets and Pave Hawk providing casualty evacuation.

It also involved C (Bruneval) Company, 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, and the exercise aimed to improve interoperability with the USAF and confirm the readiness of 663 Sqn for contingency operations. From spring, 663 Sqn will provide the Apache attack helicopters which would deploy alongside an airborne infantry battlegroup from 16 Air Assault Brigade, in Colchester, and RAF support helicopters in the Air Assault Task Force.

Major Andrew Mitchell, officer commanding 663 Sqn, said: “This is our final validation at the end of a steady progression of training. This exercise is now bringing in the complexities of working alongside support helicopters and ground troops.”

Photo credit  - Corporal Andy Reddy ANL-160703-135828001

Photo credit - Corporal Andy Reddy ANL-160703-135828001

Photo credit - Corporal Andy Reddy ANL-160703-135817001

Photo credit - Corporal Andy Reddy ANL-160703-135817001