Suffolk soldiers deploy to Afghanistan

APACHE attack helicopter crews from Wattisham are preparing for their first tour of Afghanistan.

Pilots and ground crew from 4 Regiment Army Air Corps, based at the military base near Needham Market, are going through their final weeks of training before they take over in the troubled country on May 10.

This will be the first time this unit has deployed on operations flying the Apache, although individuals within the regiment have served in the region.

This week sees 664 Squadron, part of the regiment, going through preparation for its final pre-deployment training exercise, which takes place at RAF Lyneham, Wiltshire, all next week.

The troops will take over responsibility for flying and maintaining the helicopter in Afghanistan for a year, taking over from its sister regiment at Wattisham, 3 Regiment AAC, which has held the responsibility of flying Apache in for Afghanistan for the past 12 months.

These two regiments are the only ones within the British Army to fly and operate the attack helicopter, with Wattisham the only operational base in the country for the fearsome aircraft.