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It has been a persistent feature of modern conflict that armies find more uses for combat aviation than they have helicopters available. How militaries prioritise the employment of their aviation is therefore important, and that prioritisation must be supported by an appropriate structure of maintenance, planning and logistics. The British Army has recently reorganised its helicopter fleets, grouping them in the newly formed 1 Aviation Brigade. This is a significant transition. In the past, army aviation has been tasked with supporting other elements of the force. As an independent brigade, aviation units will be expected to plan and prosecute their own missions at scale.
This paper evaluates the merits of employing combat aviation as an independent manoeuvre formation, and assesses the impact of this change on the wider British Army.
BANNER IMAGE: An RAF CH-47 Chinook is pictured as the sun sets in the distance. Courtesy of UK Ministry of Defence / Open Government Licence.