Biggin Hill 2008 News Release

Biggin Hill 2008 News Release

Awesome Apache Attack

ADI.07/08 6TH May 2008


An army helicopter making its debut appearance at Biggin Hill’s International Air Fair (7th & 8th June) is the Westland Agusta AH Mk 1 Apache attack helicopter, currently in front line service with the Army Air Corps (AAC).

The multi-mission Apache is a revolutionary development in the history of warfare. It is capable of inflicting massive damage to an enemy, also designed to survive heavy attack. The aggressive-looking machine can carry a large armament load selectively chosen for individual missions.

Apache helicopters also carry sophisticated electronic warfare systems that are used for reconnaissance and information gathering by day or night. A forward-looking infra-red system (FLIR) with a magnification of 40 times detects enemy targets, concurrently identifying friendly forces. The helicopter’s integrated defensive aids suite (HIDAS) is designed and built by BAE Systems.

Powered by two Rolls Royce RTM 322 turboshaft engines, the Apache has an awesome capability with air-to-air and air-to ground missiles, including the Hellfire laser guided system with warheads that can defeat all known armour. In the pods either side of the fuselage, up to 38 rocket projectiles can be loaded with selectively different warheads dependent on the type of mission. Firepower is supplemented with a 30-mm canon capable of firing 625 rounds per minute – that’s 10 shells per second.

In a typical sortie, the Mission Commander occupies the front cockpit to operate the electronic sensors and weapons systems; the pilot is seated in the elevated rear cockpit.

Pilot of the display Apache is Major Chris Whipp (37), the Officer Commanding the Command & Tactics Wing at the AAC base at Middle Wallop (Hants). His operational career includes a tour in Afghanistan with a front line Apache squadron. A native of Surrey, his family lived in Banstead where he went to school. He has served in the Army for 15 years. As a schoolboy in the early 80’s, Chris Whipp recalls visits to the Biggin Hill International Air Fair with his father and confirms that his early enthusiasm for military aviation was sparked by the military and civil air and ground displays.

“The Apache is a most effective helicopter in the attack role, supporting troops on the ground and saving lives. The sophisticated weapon systems allow us to engage enemy forces with proportionality” says Major Whipp.

The Apache will also feature in the RAF’s ‘Role Demonstration’ showing the integration of forces in the attack and support roles.

Biggin Hill Air Fair website.

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