The British Army has reorganised its attack and reconnaissance aviation into an independent combat brigade. Rather than being deployed in support of other formations as 'units of action' generated by Joint Helicopter Command, the Army will use its aviation in battlegroups to conduct deep strikes.
Concentrating one of the Army's most lethal platforms both presents the opportunity to bring a devastating volume of fire upon the enemy, and provides helicopters with a better chance to survive because they can plan their missions to choose when and where they fight. On the other hand, Britain's close combat units are likely to miss the firepower that had previously supported them. Furthermore, concentrating aviation means concentrating the risk, and survivability will depend upon the robustness of the aviation brigade's planning process and the judgement of its commander.
Over the summer and autumn of the past year, RUSI conducted a study of 1st Aviation Brigade to assess the advantages and disadvantages of the new model, the implications for the wider force, and how the British Army can maximise the effectiveness of the formation over time. The report also considers where the Army should pursue a spiral development of its aviation capabilities to ensure that the formation remains survivable and effective.
Watch the recording
At the launch the report's authors outline their key findings and take questions.
Dr Jack Watling, Research Fellow for Land Warfare,
Justin Bronk, Research Fellow for Airpower and Technology.
This event is chaired by Professor Peter Roberts