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658 Squadron Army Air Corps (AAC)

658 Squadron AAC (Army Air Corps) is a little-known and rarely spotted fleet of Eurocopter Dauphins and Gazelle helicopters that support the Special Air Service.

Note: the unit was previously designated as 8 Flight AAC. It was renamed to 658 Squadron AAC in September 2013.

Painted in civilian colours, the AS365 N3 Dauphin helicopters of 658 Squadron can blend in to normal civilian air traffic and thus allow the SAS to be transported quickly but covertly around the United Kingdom. In addition to covert transport, 658 Squadron Dauphins can also fly the SAS into action during Counter-Terrorism operations.

658 Squadron is based at SAS HQ at Credenhill, near Hereford. It is part of the Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing (JSFAW)

658 Squadron Dauphins are believed to have been modified with a secure radio communications fitment.

photos of 658 Squadron Dauphins (courtesy of Airliners.net) :
 


Eurocopter AS365 N3 Specifications

Crew 1 pilot (+ 1 co-pilot if required)
Cargo capacity 8/9 passengers
Maximum speed 287 kph
Range 874 km
Max takeoff weight 4,200 kg


Gazelle helicopter
AAC Gazelle helicopter - helicopters like this supported SAS and 14 Company operations in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.
DoD photo by: TSGT G. DENNIS PLUMMER

Westland Gazelle Specifications

Crew 1 pilot (+ co-pilot if required)
Cargo capacity 4 passengers
Maximum speed 310 kph
Range 670 km
Max takeoff weight 1800 kg

Previous 8 flight helicopters

Until 2008, when they were replaced by the Dauphins, 8 Flight, as the unit was then called, operated a fleet of 4 Agusta A109s, 2 of which were captured from the Argentines during the Falklands conflict.

photos of 8 flight A109s (courtesy of Airliners.net) :

Agusta A109 Specifications

Crew 1 pilot (+ co-pilot if required)
Cargo capacity 7 passengers
Maximum speed 285 kph
Range 965 km
Max takeoff weight 3000 kg


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