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Joint Helicopter Command

The Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) was formed in 1999 to bring together under one command the battlefield helicopters and air assault force elements of the Royal Navy (RN), Army and Royal Air Force (RAF) and integrate the core helicopter tasks of LIFT, FIND, ATTACK with ground forces.

‘Across all boundaries’

The JHC operates over 200 aircraft including the Sea King, Merlin and Wildcat helicopters of the Royal Navy's Commando Helicopter Force, the Chinook and Puma helicopters of the Royal Air Force and the Apache, Wildcat, Lynx, Gazelle and Bell 212 helicopters and the Defender fixed wing aircraft of the Army Air Corps.

The Commando Helicopter Force based at the Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton is primarily a maritime force that is trained, equipped and organised for expeditionary joint operations.

The JHC includes all front-line elements of the Army Air Corps. 1 Regiment AAC is based at Yeovilton, 3 and 4 Regiment AAC are based at Wattisham, 5 Regiment AAC is based in Northern Ireland and 9 Regiment AAC is currently in Dishforth; 6 Regiment AAC is a Reserve regiment with Squadrons across the east and south of England. In addition to the regiments, the Army Air Corps has a number of independent flights under the command of JHC; these are based in Canada, Brunei and Kenya.

The Royal Air Force Support Helicopter Force operates under the command of JHC and includes Chinook and Puma Squadrons based at the RAF stations at Benson and Odiham. The provision of aviation fuel to deployed battlefield helicopters is the responsibility of the RAF Tactical Supply Wing based at RAF Stafford.

The JHC employs over 8,000 personnel including Reservists from both the Army Air Corps and Royal Auxillary Air Force.

The Headquarters of the Joint Helicopter Command is co-located with the Army Headquarters at Marlborough Lines in Andover and consists of approx 150 staff officers (both military and civil service) working directly for Commander JHC, Deputy Commander JHC and Director Capability.  The HQ provides higher command, administrative, engineering, operations and capability management to all JHC subordinate units, and an interface with the single Services, MOD and foreign military commands.

The JHC has been pivotal to success on operations through a distinguished global campaign history; as a consequence the JHC’s personnel are amongst the most operationally experienced and capable of each service.

The JHC has almost continually been deployed in Afghanistan since 2001, with all units playing their part in a number of Operations. The JHC’s current deployment in Afghanistan is with the Puma Mk2 which is providing a vital lift capability to the NATO Resolute Support mission in Kabul.

In the post campaigning environment the JHC is now working hard to train for the relatively unknown future of the contingency operations, this requires the JHC to train and operate across a broad set of scenarios, capabilities and environments, not only with its parent services, but also with our NATO allies. 2015 saw the JHC exercising around the world from arctic and desert to maritime honing the critical skills required to ensure the JHC is able to react to any crisis.

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