The British Army on 4 September suffered its first accident involving the Boeing/Westland Apache AH1 attack helicopter since deploying the type to Afghanistan in April 2006.

“A British Apache crashed shortly after take off from near FOB [forward operating base] Edinburgh in Helmand,” says Lt Col David Reynolds, a spokesman for British forces operating in the Province.

“Both crew were unharmed and returned to the FOB. The site of the crash is secure and a Board of Inquiry will be convened to investigate the cause of the accident. However, enemy action has been ruled out.”

Further information, such as the extent of the damage caused to the aircraft, has not been released, although unconfirmed reports say the Apache ended up on its side.

The army has a total fleet of 67 Apache AH1s, developed from Boeing’s AH-64D Apache Longbow model. All are equipped with a Lockheed Martin mast-mounted Longbow fire control radar and Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM322 engines.

 Apache UK Afghan
© AgustaWestland

UK operations of the type in Afghanistan are centred at Camp Bastion in Helmand. The Afghanistan accident also represents the first crash involving the type since entering UK service.