A Taste of the Future

Apache Helicopter Operations on HMS Ark Royal

Elements of 656 Squadron Army Air Corps have recently embarked on HMS Ark Royal to take part in the latest Exercise Joint Warrior.

This will see 3 Apache attack helicopters operating aboard including their supporting personnel including 120 engineers and maintainers. As well as it being a relatively new experience for the three aircraft and ten pilots, there is also a support crew of 120 engineers and maintainers from 4 Regiment Army Air Corps onboard the Portsmouth-based aircraft carrier.

What struck me about this, although perhaps nothing unusual in itself, was the fact that a number of complex land-based aircraft can be bought aboard and operated in an almost self-contained manner.

What does this say for the FAA and RAF operating the F35B on CVF?

Could we operate the F35B in the same way, the RAF fully owning them and moving aboard en-masse with all their associated support and operations crew?

If so, it makes the cost of operating the CVF/F35 combination look a little more palatable.

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