Scout and Sioux

IMAGE © FOUR ELEMENTS PHOTOGRAPHY



The Army Air Corps Historic Flight will be displaying two of their iconic rotary wing aricraft.

Scout

Originally designed by Saunders-Roe with a Bristol Siddely Nimbus engine the Scout and its Naval equivalent the Wasp first flew in 1960 and entered service in 1963. A little over 160 were delivered to the Army Air Corps in three tranches by 1966. The aircraft was a true multi-role helicopter with an endurance of over two hours. The rear bench seat was conveniently the same size as a stretcher and the front left seat could be reversed to allow a medical orderly to attend the patient, a further two pods could also be bolted onto the skids for further patients……but with no provision for an orderly! A special radio tray was produced that enabled a Brigade Commander to control his troops from the air although this did not prove particularly popular with senior officers. A winch could be fitted, operated by a crewman and it could move stores in under-slung loads. For armaments, two GPMGs could be bolted on to the skids in the fixed forward firing mode with the pilot simply achieving fall of shot by control inputs and aiming with a chinagraph cross marked on the windscreen. Additional pintle mounted GPMGs could be fitted in either rear doorway to be operated by a crewman. Four anti-tank wire guided SS-11 missiles could be fitted with a range of 3000m. Like any helicopter, weight equals fuel; the Scout could perform all of its tasks in one sortie but always at the expense of endurance, with four troops under an hour, four missiles a little over an hour, however once the first 350lbs of weight is shed the Scout has the unusual distinction for a helicopter of being able to cruise at the Velocity Not to be Exceeded (VNE) speed, 115kts or about 130mph / 210kmph. Most helicopters can only achieve their design VNE by entering a dive.

Scout saw operational service in all the theatres that the Army was on duty at the time, from Malaya, Borneo and Aden to Cold War garrison duties with the British Army Of the Rhine and Internal Security duties in Northern Ireland where the tactic of Eagle Patrols was developed; two aircraft with four soldiers on each would land at random points and mount vehicle check points (VCPs) to check vehicles and occupants. Although not expected to be particularly successful, these did severely restrict the IRA’s freedom of movement. Although the Lynx had started to replace the Scout in the early 80s, the Scout deployed to the Falklands where it again showed how flexible it was, re-roling from its Anti-Tank Guided Weapons role to CASEVAC in under 30 mins only to then return to an offensive role and armed with GPMGs. During the conflict one Scout was shot down by a Pucara resulting in the death of Lt Nunn RM (later awarded a posthumous DFC) while another was lost whilst sheltering from an air attack in a small, tidal hollow and suffering a gearbox failure resulting in an unexpected swim and wade ashore for the crew.

By the mid-eighties Lynx was the AAC main battlefield helicopter but one Scout Squadron remained supporting 5 Airborne Brigade and the Hong Kong garrison. With the handover of Hong Kong, the last remaining Regular Army squadron of Scout re-rolled to the then Territorial Army (TA) with a further TA Squadron being formed in the late 80s in the liaison/light troop movement role. Both these Squadrons ultimately converted to Gazelle with last flight of the Scout being in 1993. This aircraft was retained by the AAC as part of its Historic Aircraft Flight, the charter to provide one flying example of Army aircraft to promote the ethos, camaraderie and heritage of the AAC. MoD funding sadly ceased about four years ago and the aircraft are now on the civil register, owned and operated by a charitable trust staffed wholly by volunteers but are hosted rightfully at the home of the AAC, Middle Wallop.

Sioux

The Agusta Bell Sioux AH Mk1, affectionately referred to as the 'clockwork mouse', was from the first batch of fifty ordered by the Army Air Corps and built by Agusta SpA at Gallerate in Italy in 1964.

These aircraft were ordered as stop-gaps for the Westland-built Sioux which started coming off the Yeovil production line in the Spring of 1965. The aircraft was taken on charge by the AAC at Middle Wallop on 3 July 1964 and for the duration of her military service was used for flying training and engineering familiarisation at Middle Wallop. XT131 was transferred to the Development and Trials Flight on 18 November 1977 until being subsumed into the AHAF on 11 September 1980. XT131 was handed over to the Historic Aircraft Flight Trust on 1 February 2015 and registered with the civilian register as G-CICN.



The Army Air Corps Historic Flight

On 1st February 2015 five of the aircraft from the Army Historic Aircraft Flight (AHAF) were gifted and formally handed over to the Historic Aircraft Flight Trust. They will remain at their current location at the Army Aviation Centre, Middle Wallop, Hampshire.

Formed in 1980, the AHAF were permitted to maintain one example of of each aircraft that the Army Air Corps operated since the formation of the new Corps on 1 September 1957. The six different AHAF aircraft types had a combined regular service of 146 years and it was unique by being the only display team in the world to fly both fixed and rotary wing aircraft.