Chinooks – Live Firing

Wondered why we had low fly bye from two Chinooks recently; reason below:

Story by Jamie Waller Associate Editor of the Lincolnite. Image from Subton Blog editor.

Chinook helicopter pilots have been conducting live fire training near RAF Coningsby.

The aircraft, which are usually based at RAF Odiham, carried out the training at a Lincolnshire firing range over the weekend.

The ability to fire from a moving helicopter is one of the most difficult tasks for crews.

Twin M134 miniguns and a M60D General Purpose Machine Gun were used during the exercise.

After a daylight training session,  the aircraft refuelled at RAF Coningsby and then repeated it after dark using night vision goggles.

“The firing is done by the onboard Weapons System Operators, who are required to conduct this training regularly to ensure they maintain their skills and safety qualifications,” the government’s statement says.

“Firing from a moving helicopter is particularly difficult and the accuracy of the firing was assessed as part of the training. The training includes responses to various threat scenarios, such as self-defence when the aircraft is taking-off and landing.

“Precision air-to-ground firing requires exceptional teamwork.  The pilots must position the aircraft accurately and provide a stable platform from which to employ the guns.

“Operating the aircraft and airborne gunnery at night requires additional skills, especially when ambient light levels are low. 

“Whilst operating over the sea on a dark night at 200 feet above the water, the crew have very few references outside of the aircraft with which to gauge their height or attitude.”

RAF Chinooks are used for carrying troops and equipment, and transporting injured personnel.

Exercise Cobra Warrior continues this week, with aircraft from several nations based at RAF Waddington.

Air forces from Saudi Arabia, Belgium, Finland and India, as well as NATO, will share strategy and tactics during the five-week exercise.