By By Andrew Drwiega | November 1, 2013
British military flying in Germany came to a close October 4 with the departure of the last Westland Lynx Mk9A of 1 Regiment Army Air Corps (1AAC) from Gütersloh airfield in northern Germany.
The AAC departure marks the end of British military flying in Germany since the end of World War II, as well as bringing to a close 1AAC’s residency in Gütersloh that began in 1993. Initially both Lynx and Gazelle helicopters were operated from the base but the Gazelles left for good on March 31, 2000. In 2002, the Lynx Mk7 lost its tube-launched TOW missiles but was replaced by the Lynx Mk9 in 2005, then the Lynx Mk9A by the end of 2011.
Once back in the UK, 1 Regiment AAC will begin to merge with 9 Regiment AAC as a result of the Ministry of Defense’s Army 2020 plan. This should be completed by 2015 with the new unit shedding its Lynx Mk9As for the new AgustaWestland Wildcat helicopters, all under a single headquarters located at Yeovilton, Somerset. They will become part of the newly formed Aviation Reconnaissance Force.
The Regiment has deployed helicopters 17 times on operations away from its home base, including Operation Protego (London Olympic Games) and Operation Herrick (Afghanistan). During its last deployment to Afghanistan, 661 Squadron flew more than 1,000 hours and in 40 deliberate missions in support of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops.