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1 Regiment Army Air Corps

Overview

1 Regiment Army Air Corps is based at Royal Naval Air Station, Yeovilton, (RNAS Yeovilton) Somerset and comes under the command of Headquarters Aviation Reconnaissance Force (HQARF). 1 Regt AAC  is comprised of a Headquarters Squadron, 652 Sqn, 661 Sqn and 659 Sqn. 1 Regt AAC operates the Wildcat Helicopter, a specialist intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, jointly operated by the British Army and Royal Navy.

1 Regt AAC badge

Squadrons

1 Regiment Army Air Corps consists of a Headquarters Squadron and the following Squadrons:

  • 652 Squadron Army Air Corps
  • 659 Squadron Army Air Corps
  • 661 Squadron Army Air Corps

History

1 Regiment Army Air Corps formed up at Hildesheim, Germany, in January 1983, from three squadrons that dated back to the Second World War - 651 (Air Observation Post) (AOP) Squadron (Sqn) Royal Air Force (RAF), 652 (AOP) Sqn RAF and 661 (AOP) Sqn RAF. These historical AOP RAF squadrons were retitled 651, 652 and 661 Squadron Army Air Corps respectively and the Regiment was equipped with the Lynx and Gazelle helicopter.

In 1993 the Regiment moved to Gutersloh, Germany, along with its fleet of Lynx and Gazelle helicopters. During the year 2000 the final Gazelles left the Regiment and on 31 March 2000, 651 Squadron Army Air Corps was relocated to the United Kingdom. The tube-launched, optically-tracked, wire command data link (TOW) guided missile capability of the Regiment ended in 2002 and the Lynx Mk7 was replaced with the Lynx Mk9 in 2005. The Regiment's fleet of Lynx Mk9 were upgraded to the Lynx Mk9A during 2011. 

In 2014, following a year long move, the Regiment was formally welcomed to its new home at  Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton (RNAS Yeovilton) where it jointly operates the Wildcat Helicopter Programme with Royal Navy. 1 Regt AAC was the first British Army Unit to leave Germany under Programme BORONA (the moving of the NATO Allied Rapid Reaction Corps and supporting elements from Germany to the United Kingdom, paving the way for other British Army Units to follow). 

1 Regt AAC bronze Lynx

During 2012, 1 Regiment Army Air Corps completed a project designed to mark the passing of the Lynx aircraft and the departure of Army Aviation from Germany. The project proposal was the creation of a cast bronze sculpture of a lynx wildcat leaping from a piece of German stone. This was approved by the AAC Regimental Committee with the funding coming from within the Corps and also from within the Regiment, who held fundraising activities in support of the project. A serving AAC officer was commissioned to create the bronze. The result is a striking piece. It has been given a temporary home on the green in front of the Officers’ Mess at Gutersloh but it will move to Yeovilton with 1 Regt AAC as they convert from Lynx to Wildcat as part of the Aviation Reconnaissance Force. The muscular statue on its plinth of German stone is an interesting tribute to the passing of an aircraft that brought the AAC into the modern era and an acknowledgement of the presence of British Army Aviation in Germany since 1945.

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