#1586 Apache AH Mk1

Apache AH Mk1
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£10.00 €11.67 $12.66
43.8 cm x 29.2 cm
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Apache AH1
656 Sqn AAC, 4 Regiment AAC
UK - Army
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Squadron Prints Lithograph No. 1586 - ZJ224, Apached AH Mk1, 656 Squadron AAC, 4 Regiment AAC, Wattisham.

No. 656 AOP Squadron RAF was formed on 31 December 1942 at RAF Westley in England. Equipped with Auster AOP 1 aircraft, the Squadron served with distinction in Burma, Malaya, and Java from 1943 to 1947. During 1947, the Squadron, less one flight, was disbanded only to be quickly reformed in the summer of 1948 as the Malayan Emergency developed pace. The Squadron joined the Army Air Corps on its formation in 1957. 656 Squadron AAC continued with operations in Malaya throughout this period and from 1962 deployed flights to Brunei, Sarawak and Sabah during the confrontation. By 1969 the Squadron had amassed over a quarter of a million operational flying hours, a record which stands today. On the cessation of operations in Borneo one flight remained in Brunei, whilst the Squadron headquarters moved to Hong Kong, participating in security operations against Chinese illegal immigrants, until 1973. In more recent times, 656 Squadron was based at RAF Farnborough from where it took part in OP AGILA, the Commonwealth Monitoring operation in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe in 1979/80. In 1982, the Squadron moved to Netheravon and almost immediately deployed with 5 Brigade to the Falkland Islands where it played a prominent part in the campaign. During 1992, the Squadron recorded the first British Army Landing in the Crimea for over 137 years! Equipped with LYNX/TOW and GAZELLE helicopters, the Squadron moved to Dishforth in 1994 where, by 1995, it begun a series of deployments to the Balkans under OP PALATINE, OP AGRICOLA and OP ESSENTIAL HARVEST. During this period, the Squadron still managed to complete a number of exercises in Canada, including the first full Squadron deployment to BATUS utilising four LYNX/TOW and four GAZELLE. The Balkan deployments continued until 2003 when the Squadron was the first Squadron to receive the new Apache AH1 aircraft. The Squadron undertook Conversion to Type training from September 2003 to April 2004 and Conversion to Role training from April 2004, achieving Limited Combat Ready and AH Initial Operating Capability by October 2004.  The Squadron went on to deliver the first Very High Readiness AH Squadron from 01 June 2005 and the Initial Operating Capability (Maritime), deploying twice in HMS OCEAN, by September 2005. Continuing the ‘Firsts’ for the Squadron, in April 2006, the Squadron deployed the UK Apache to its first operational theatre, in Afghanistan, for Operation HERRICK as part of 16 Air Assault Brigade. On 15 January 2007 the Squadron was involved in the dramatic recovery of a MIA Royal Marine, during the assault of Jugroom Fort in Southern Helmand Province. Four Royal Marines were carried on the wings of the AH to assist in the recovery, for which two MCs and one DFC were awarded to members of the patrol. In June 2008, the unit reformed as part of 4 Regiment Army Air Corps at Wattisham. In May 2011, after a Mediterranean exercise to prove the Apache’s ability to work shipborne, Apache Attack helicopters from 656 Squadron were embarked on HMS OCEAN when civil war in Libya erupted. During the resulting NATO air campaign against the Gaddafi regime, codenamed Op ELLAMY, the Squadron flew 48 combat sorties firing 99 hellfire missiles and 4800 rounds of 30mm cannon, striking 116 targets. Ever since, 656 Squadron has maintained its maritime capability and been prepared to support the UK’s Lead Commando Group (LCG) or to conduct autonomous littoral strike. More recently the Squadron conducted the first in class embarkation onto HMS QNLZ, paving the way for future maritime strike capability. In January 2019, 656 Squadron achieved the inaugural deployment of Attack Helicopters to the Arctic Circle, proving for the first time the Cold Weather capability of the AH Mk1. Members of 656 Squadron have won 24 DFCs, two MCs and seven DFMs during more than 30 years operational service across the world.