Role: 7 Aviation Support Battalion (Avn Sp Bn) REME is unique in that it is the only Aviation Support Battalion within the British Army. It provides Defence-wide, multi-platform Engineering and Logistic Support. In barracks and deployed as Forward Repair Teams (FRT), technicians can conduct routine and emergent tasks on all aviation assets in the British Army inventory.
A quarter of the Battalion’s personnel are permanently held at readiness in order to support a Joint Helicopter Force (JHF) deployment as an Aviation Engineering Support Group (AESG). As part of this, Land Equipment Support (ES) is provided to all Force Elements (FE) of the JHF, including a Downed Aircraft Recovery Team (DART), and an air-portable lift capability. 132 Aviation Supply Squadron RLC are a key part of the Battalion, providing global logistical support across defence aviation in barracks and on operations.
7 Avn Sp Bn REME is comprised of the following sub units:
• HQ Coy (includes an LAD for vehicle maintenance, recovery and repair)
• 71 Aviation Coy (Aviation Support Coy)
• 72 Aviation Coy (Contingency Coy)
• 73 Aviation Coy (Wildcat Support, based at RNAS Yeovilton)
• 132 Aviation Supply Sqn RLC
Location: 7 Avn Sp Bn REME is split over two locations; a Battalion(-) is based at Wattisham Airfield, 10 miles from Ipswich in Suffolk. The home of the Attack Helicopter Force (AHF), Wattisham Airfield is a large Station which is also home to 3 and 4 Regt Army Air Corps (AAC). Centrally located in Suffolk, Wattisham is within easy access to several major cities including London, Cambridge and Norwich, and is less than a one hour drive to the coast. 73 Aviation Coy are based at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton, just outside Yeovil in Somerset. The home of the Aviation Reconnaissance Force (ARF), RNAS is a large base which is also home to 1 Regt AAC and 847 Naval Air Squadron whom operate the Wildcat helicopter.
Supported Units: The Battalion supports all of the REME elements within the Army Air Corps (AAC) and Royal Artillery (RA) regiments to provide a sustained aviation engineering output.
REME Reserve Bn Pairing: 7 Avn Sp Bn REME is paired with 104 Battalion REME, based in Northampton and 105 Battalion REME based in Bristol. Cooperation between the regular and reserve Battalions is first-rate with the reservists actively engaging in technical training, military training and deployments both within and outside the UK.
Exercises/Deployments: The Battalion is committed to providing support to the JHFs and as such is directly involved in numerous major exercises including Ex CRIMSON EAGLE in the US, interoperability exercises JOINT WARRIOR, SWIFT RESPONSE and BLACK ALLIGATOR, and maritime exercises COUGAR, BALTOPS and GRIFFIN STRIKE. Throughout the year an FRT is almost always deployed in support of an exercise , whether on-board ship, in desert conditions or mainland Europe; each of which present their own challenges and require specialist training.
Adventurous Training / Sport: The Battalion is keen to create a good work/life balance and actively seeks to development its members through Adventurous Training and sporting opportunities. It currently supports a variety of activities including skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, wake boarding, sea kayaking and numerous multi activity events. The Battalion has encouraged and supported individuals in gaining instructional qualifications which have subsequently facilitated activities conducted in the US, Italy, Cyprus, France and Austria. The Battalion has teams in most sporting competitions and has a tremendous record in the historic Royal Navy Field Gun competition – the only Army unit to do so.
Life within 7 Avn Sp Bn REME can be busy due to the high tempo of aviation deployments. However, the challenges encountered provide ample opportunity for individuals to develop technically, physically and mentally with exciting chances for experiencing different cultures and environments.