Apache clocks up 100,000 flying hours
The iconic Apache helicopter has clocked up a landmark 100,000 flying hours.
The helicopter, central to air assault operation, has seen a third of its total hours racked up in action over Afghanistan - where it has played a central role in not only executing pinpoint strikes but also escorting other helicopters and acquiring intelligence.
The 100,000 hours work out as the equivalent of one helicopter staying aloft for 11-and-a-half years.
Since 2006, three and four Regiments Army Air Corps have operated the Apache, providing a continuous presence in the country for half a decade.
The success of the aircraft in operations, however, has meant that even as the operations in Afghanistan begin their end, the crew will need to renew their armed forces insurance and prepare for the next mission Apache is entrusted with.
Speaking to mod.uk, Attach Helicopter Force Commander, Colonel Neale Moss told just how momentous passing the milestone was for the Afghanistan operation. "Passing 100,000 flying hours in Apache is a significant achievement that is worth proudly celebrating."
"Apache is a highly capable and versatile aircraft that has proved its value time and time again on operations in Afghanistan, and its future role is constantly evolving. But the success of the aircraft is down to the people that operate it, both in and out of uniform."
Speaking to Guardian Unlimited, defence secretary Dr Liam Fox also commended the aircraft and those who operate it: "The army's attack helicopter force has proven itself to be a versatile and capable attack platform providing vital support to our ground troops over the last five years in Afghanistan."