Losses and Aviation Safety

British Army Apache attack helicopter mistakenly opens fire at Wattisham Flying Station

The incident took place after the Apache suffered a malfunction during a live firing training exercise and was forced to land at Sculthorpe training range in Norfolk.

The British Army is investigating after an Apache attack helicopter mistakenly opened fire at Wattisham Flying Station, in Suffolk, on Nov. 4, 2020.

The incident took place after the Apache suffered a malfunction during a live firing training exercise and was forced to land at Sculthorpe training range in Norfolk.

According to the Sun, the crew flew back to Wattisham where the helicopter was set to be repaired and the “negligent discharge” occurred.

The helicopter was being wheeled out of a hangar – where it had been kept overnight – when it let off a stray practice round, which is yet to be found.

“We are aware of an incident at Wattisham Flying Station which is being investigated,” a British Army told Sky News adding that there were no reports of any injuries or damage.

Designed to hunt and destroy tanks, the Apache attack helicopter has significantly improved the British Army’s operational capability.

The Apache can operate in all weathers, day or night and detect, classify and prioritise up to 256 potential targets in a matter of seconds. It carries a mix of weapons including rockets, Hellfire missiles and a 30mm chain gun, as well as a state of the art fully integrated defensive aid suite.

In addition to the distinctive Longbow radar located above the rotor blades, this aircraft is equipped with a day TV system, thermal imaging sight and direct view optics.

In May, an Apache helicopter was involved in a near miss with an air ambulance as it took off from Wattisham.

The Apache reported that the air ambulance passed about 150ft (45m) above it, and the two aircraft were travelling at more than 100mph when the incident happened.

The collision risk was low “because each captain was visual with the other aircraft,” a report by the UK Airprox Board said.

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. AH-64D “Longbow Apache” Serial No.99-5135, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Iraq, March 2003.

Photo credit: Staff Sergeant Mike Harvey/MOD

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

Recent Posts

The story of the Royal Air Force CF-105 Arrow All-Weather Fighters that Never Were

It was on the basis of the Arrow’s future potential, more than CF-105 then-current design,… Read More

14 hours ago

The Argentine Air Force may buy surplus CH-46 Sea Knight medium-lift helicopter stored at 309 AMARG

The Argentine Air Force may give new life to the Boeing CH-46 medium-lift helicopter, retired… Read More

14 hours ago

Vietnam could buy the F-16 Block 70/72, the newest and most advanced Viper production configuration

The Biden administration is in talks with Vietnam over an agreement for the largest arms… Read More

2 days ago

The SR-71 Blackbird Astro-Nav System (aka R2-D2) worked by tracking the stars and was so powerful that it could see the stars even in daylight

Mounted behind the SR-71 Blackbird RSO’s cockpit, this unit, (that was affectionately dubbed “R2-D2” after… Read More

3 days ago