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What’s in your kit, British Apache pilot?

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What are the essentials of an Apache pilot’s kit? British Army pilot ‘Jonny’ shows you.


Have you ever wondered what helicopter pilots carry on them? A British Army Apache AH1 pilot gives us a comprehensive look inside his kit bag.

Footage includes an interview with WO2 ‘Jonny’, an Apache pilot in the British Army, speaking about the essentials an Apache pilot carries in the cockpit as well as close-ups of items in his kit.

The British Army deployed Apaches to Estonia in April 2019 to augment NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup, which is led by the United Kingdom. The attack helicopters have practised integrating with multinational forces, participating in multiple exercises. The Apache’s speed, manoeuvrability and payload make it invaluable to ground operations.



WO2 ‘Jonny,’ Apache pilot, British Army

‘My name is Jonny. I'm a Warrant Officer 2.

I'm an Apache pilot and this here in front of you is the kit that we carry inside the aircraft.

So this here on the right is a helmet bag. Inside we have our Apache helmet.

It's got a dark visor just here.

Microphone comes down to cover your mouth.

It also holds the helmet-mounted display system that we have inside the Apache cockpit.

It allows us to track where our head’s looking when we're using the aircraft systems itself.

So next we've got our personal weapons system.

Obviously we're all soldiers first before we're aircrew.

So this is our SA80 carbine variant.

It's much shorter than a standard rifle and that's purely so we can fit it inside the cockpit.

So this is my aircrew flying vest.

It's called BALCS,
the Body Armour/Load Carriage System.

So firstly on the front you can see
we've got a secondary sidearm.

This first pouch here, on the outside we've got what's called an aircrew cutter.

And that is a device that allows us to cut-through a harness strap on the seat
should we get trapped inside the seat itself.

OK, so behind that on the actual pouch there is a location aids pouch.

For day, we've got orange smoke.

And for a night-time scenario, flip it around and we've got a night flare.

Also we have a heliograph.

And this is a highly mirrored surface with a small sight glass in the middle of it.

And this sort of signal can be
seen from up to 40 miles away.

We also have a small bit of mine tape that we can use to create ground signs
for aircraft looking for us above.

Inside this pouch, the first thing,
a basic medical kit.

Inside here we have a couple of bandages,
some antiseptic cream and another set of plasters.

This here is my ground-to-air radio.

And it sits in this pouch and that's used
for me to get in radio contact with other aircraft if I needed to be rescued.

It has a spare battery, quite a large one.

And this pouch holds a light-marker distress.

So this can be used to attract the attention overtly by a bright white strobe or using an IR [infrared] filter covertly.

Finally then on the left-hand side
of the jacket is a set of strops.

And what this is used for is to attach
a member of aircrew to the side of another aircraft if their own aircraft
had gone down for any reason.

Also in the back of the jacket
we've got some emergency drinking water.

Comes in sachets of 50 ml and it sits in a little pouch in the back of our vest.

So lastly here I've got my go-bag.

And firstly, a light weight sleeping bag.

A thermal jacket.

And in here I've got a floppy hat,
a shemagh [scarf] and a spare thermal top.

Next, got a spare set of rations.

And a spare set of waterproofs.

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