The rank of 'Airtrooper' abbreviated 'Atpr' is a private rank
Private (rank)
A Private is a soldier of the lowest military rank .In modern military parlance, 'Private' is shortened to 'Pte' in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries and to 'Pvt.' in the United States.Notably both Sir Fitzroy MacLean and Enoch Powell are examples of, rare, rapid career...

, the first rank awarded to a soldier of the British Army Air Corps (AAC).

Army Air Corps

The Army Air Corps (AAC) Soldier needs a good standard of education although no formal qualifications are required. Airtroopers are educated and trained to have the ability and motivation to work on their own initiative. AAC soldiers will be trained in a wide range of skills providing a number of military and civilian vocational qualifications.

The AAC provides battlefield helicopters and some fixed-wing aircraft for the Army, the main roles being attack of enemy armour, surveillance and target acquisition. AAC Groundcrew need to be able to work as part of a team, and on occasion as an individual, and may be expected to defend Forward Operating Bases
Forward Operating Base
A forward operating base is any secured forward military position, commonly a military base, that is used to support tactical operations. A FOB may or may not contain an airfield, hospital, or other facilities. The base may be used for an extended period of time. FOBs are traditionally supported...

 (FOB) and Forward Arming Refuelling Points (FARP), they also refuel and re-arm the helicopters and provide the essential communications to the aircraft and other Army units.

AAC Groundcrew work with a number of different types of helicopters including the, Lynx
Westland Lynx
The Westland Lynx is a British multi-purpose military helicopter designed and built by Westland Helicopters at its factory in Yeovil. Originally intended as a utility craft for both civil and naval usage, military interest led to the development of both battlefield and naval variants...

, Bell 212, Gazelle and Apache
Westland WAH-64 Apache
The AgustaWestland Apache is a licence-built version of the Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter for the British Army's Army Air Corps. The first eight helicopters were built by Boeing; the remaining 59 were assembled by Westland Helicopters at Yeovil, Somerset in England from...

. They are also required to perform a number of other responsibilities within this employment, from helicopter troop drills, fire, crash rescue and helicopter rigger marshalling
Aircraft marshalling
Aircraft marshalling is visual signalling between ground personnel and pilots on an airport, aircraft carrier or helipad. [Image:Marshalling Signals.gif] Marshalling is one-on-one visual communication and a part of aircraft ground handling...

. There are a number of Light Goods Vehicles (LGV) utilised by the AAC, of which all Groundcrew will be trained to drive and service, including Landrovers, Osh Kosh  22000 litre Refueller Vehicle and the Detachable Rack Operating Platform Systems (15 tonne flatbeds).

Basic training

All Army Air Corps Groundcrew are trained to be soldiers first during their Basic, or Phase 1 training. Initially recruits attend basic training which is called Phase 1 training either as Junior Entry (JE) Soldiers at the Army Foundation College
Army Foundation College
The Army Foundation College in Harrogate trains future soldiers from the infantry, armoured corps, artillery and elements of the Royal Logistic Corps . School-leavers aged between 16 and 17 years and five months of age are eligible to join. The AFC offers young men and women the opportunity to...

 in Harrogate, or Army Training Regiment (ATR) at Bassingbourne, or as Standard Entry (SE) Soldiers at ATR Winchester for Males and ATR(P) for Females.

The following subjects are taught at all the training facilities:
Drill, Weapon Training, Field Craft, Map Reading, First Aid, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN
CBRN is an initialism for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear. It is used to refer to situations in which any of these four hazards have presented themselves. The term CBRN is a replacement for the cold war term NBC , which had replaced the term ABC that was used in the fifties...

) formerly (NBC) Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defence and Physical Fitness. In addition JE Soldiers get additional training in Military Education, Finance, Security, Military Law
Armed Forces Act 2006
The Armed Forces Act 2006 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.It came into force on 31 October 2009. It replaces the three separate Service Discipline Acts as the system of military law under which the British Armed Forces operate...

 and Literacy/Numeracy Skills.

There is also an opportunity to carry out Adventure Training and Community Projects.

Trade training

Having successfully completed Phase 1 training, recruits move to the School of Army Aviation, Middle Wallop, Hampshire to begin aviation employment training, or Phase 2 training. This begins with a three week induction course, including B Vehicle (car) theory, practise and tests and an in-depth insight to the AAC. On successful completion of this module, and airtrooper will then complete the additional three trade specific modules:

Aircraft Refuelling/Hazardous Materials training

This three-week course qualifies an Aircraft Refueller Operator.

On successful completion of these trade modules an Airtrooper will be loaded onto an LGV course at the Defence School of Transport (DST Leconfield) , in Humberside. This course takes between 10-12 weeks where the Airtrooper will be taught to drive and maintain LGVs employed in the AAC. At the end of these courses the Airtrooper will be qualified as an AAC Soldier Class 3, ready to be posted to his/her first Regiment.

Joining a Regiment

On completion of Phase 2 training, Airtroopers are posted to a Regiment in either UK or Germany. Later there may be opportunities to serve in an Independent Squadron/Flight in a variety of locations both home and abroad including; Brunei
British Military Garrison Brunei
The British Military Garrison Brunei is the name given to the British armed forces presence in Brunei. Since the handover ceremony of Hong Kong in 1997, the garrison in Brunei is the only remaining British military base in the Far East, and along with Diego Garcia one of only two East of Suez...

, Canada
British Army Training Unit Suffield
The British Army Training Unit Suffield is a British Army unit located at the vast training area of Canadian Forces Base Suffield in Alberta, Canada...

, Germany or Belize
Military of Belize
The Belize Defence Force is the military of Belize, and is responsible for protecting the sovereignty of Belize The BDF, along with the National Forensic Science Service, the National Coast Guard, and the Immigration Department, is a department of the Ministry of National Security, which is...

. Once in a Regiment an Airtrooper will be allocated to a Squadron and carry out the ground duties for which he/she have been trained. Squadrons also carry out overseas training to Kenya, Canada, USA, Norway and many other European countries.


The AAC career development programme is designed to deliver the training and education an Airtrooper needs to take on the challenge of increased responsibility and future promotion. All soldiers will receive an annual Confidential Report (CR) with a mid-year performance appraisal. Airtroopers will have the opportunity to discuss these reports with regards to career options. Airtroopers will be exposed to considerable challenges and will learn to get the very best out of themselves and others.

See also

  • Trooper
    Trooper may refer to:In military or police forces:* Trooper , a military private rank* Trooper , a rank used by some police agencies* State trooper, a peace officer in U.S...

  • British Army Other Ranks rank insignia
  • Private Rank United Kingdom
  • Trooper (rank)
    Trooper (rank)
    Trooper from the French "troupier" is the equivalent rank to private in a regiment with a cavalry tradition in the British Army and many other Commonwealth armies, including those of Australia, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand. Today, most cavalry units operate in the armoured role, equipped...

British Army - Be the Best: With thanks
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