Reservists from across the South West are being given the exciting opportunity to transfer into the world of military flying.
6 Regiment, Army Air Corps, is expanding its capacity during 2014 and the number of squadrons in the formation will be doubling. This will be the only Reserve Unit dedicated to providing ground support for the Service’s fleet of helicopters.
Three other Squadrons across the UK will also be expanding; 679 (Duke of Connaught’s) Squadron -based in Hampshire, 678 (Rifles) Squadron – centred in Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire, and 677 (Suffolk and Norfolk Yeomanry) Squadron – based around East Anglia.
Major Chris Oswald (AAC), in charge of ground training at Middle Wallop, told Soldier Magazine: “If we don’t get this right, the corps simply won’t meet its capability.
“We are leading the way when it comes to training – we really have taken the bull by the honrs in deciding to get the Reserves going.
For many existing troops this will represent a change in their duties.
“They will do exactly the same as regular soldiers; they will refuel, rearm, push and pull and do everything else required,” Major Oswald added.
The soldiers will apply to take a 15 day phase two Army aviation trade training course, and once accepted, personnel will undergo tuition providing them with all the basic skills required to work with battlefield helicopters.
This ranges from learning to marshal and aircraft into a landing zone to refuelling a multi-million pound attack asset and understanding complex flight documentation.
Major Oswald said: “These soldiers may have been trained as riflemen, signallers or gunners but within six months at the aviation centre they could be fitting weapon systems to an Apache or defensive aid suites on Wildcats.
“They will become aviation specialists carrying out important technical jobs.
“We don’t know what the future is going to bring but we need the ability to deal with it and restructuring will help provide that.”