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Lowestoft Aviation Society

PUBLISHED: 15:30 05 June 2009 | UPDATED: 09:59 06 July 2010

The society recently visited Wattisham Airfield, home to three and four regiments of the British Army Air Corps. They currently operate the formidable AH-64D Apache AH.

The society recently visited Wattisham Airfield, home to three and four regiments of the British Army Air Corps. They currently operate the formidable AH-64D Apache AH.1 attack helicopter in support of ground troops in Helmand province in Afghanistan.

Colonel David Turner, Wattisham's commanding officer, outlined the organisation which enables the deployment of the Apache force to fulfil its demanding overseas role, operating a three-month turnaround.

The visiting LAS group was given an up-close, inside and outside tour of the aircraft, which has a crew of two. The pilot's primary task is to get the aircraft commander into the required position to engage the target. State of the art night-vision systems, thermal imaging and radar are used to great effect for locating and targeting an enemy.

Armament/munitions specialists displayed and explained the purposes of the aircraft's weapons systems. Apache packs a powerful punch, with its 30mm cannon delivering accurate fire at a rate of 625 rounds per minute. There are also Hellfire missiles and CRV-7 rockets for use against appropriate targets.

LAS marked the association of Lowestoft with the former RAF Wattisham when Bob Collis presented the Wattisham Airfield Museum with documents relating to the first RAF raid of world war two, in which Blenheim Bombers of 107 and 110 Sqns flew from Wattisham on September 4 1939. One of the documents detailed the loss of a 107 Sqn Blenheim, shot down with the loss of all three crew - the first of more than 55,000 Bomber Command aircrew to die before the war's end. 107 Sqn. was later “adopted” by Lowestoft, so we have tangible links with Wattisham.

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