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The General Staff and the Helicopter


I really should change my personal text
Nov 3, 2017
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The General Staff and the Helicopter is the third book by Blue Envoy on British Helicopter development. The first book, The Air Staff and the Helicopter by Chris Gibson, traced the progress of the RAF's army support helicopters, while the second book, The Admiralty and the Helicopter, examined the Royal Navy's helicopter development. The General Staff and the Helicopter is an interesting account of the British Army's path to procurement of armed helicopters, leading ultimately to acquisition of the WAH-64 Apache.


1- Beginnings

This charts the origins of the Army Air Corps
2- First Rotors
Contenders to Specification HR.144, Fairy Ultra-Light, Skeeter
3- Towards the Scout
Sioux AH1, Skeeter to Scout
4- Weapons for a Tank Killer
ATGWs from SS.11/Malkara to TRIGAT and Hellfire
5- Wild Cats on the Battlefield
Charts the development of the Lynx family - WG.13, Lynx, WG.30
6- Panzerabwehrhubschrauber: A flawed concept
Westland/VFW-Fokker P.277, GST.3791 contenders including WG.44, A129 Mk2
7- Avoid Detection
LO optimised attack helicopter projects - WG.45, WG.47, Tonal
8- Towards the Advanced Attack Helicopter
US AAH developments and acquisition of the WA-64D Apache

Additionally there are two appendices, a timeline, glossary, selected bibliography and an index.

If you've read any of Chris's books for Crecy you'll have a good idea what to expect. Chris likes to tell the story of development and procurement as a whole, so the book includes cancelled projects and built rotorcraft, and also the weapons which would have armed them.

The cover artwork paintings by Luciano Alviani front and back are awesome in a "Period Airfix Box Art" way. The paper stock is good quality and printing feels professional, with a good and readable layout. We agree to differ on justification or ragged right text, Chris preferring the latter. I spotted one typo, but overall it puts most recent books to shame with editing and attention to detail.

There is a good mix of photos, original company artwork, and drawings by Chris, which includes some explanatory drawings which are a bit reminiscent of the old "Salamander" books. Some of the drawings are a little small, but that's really a consequence of the number of drawings and the page count, plus the inclusion of drawings and photos of the "built" helicopters as well.

Personally I'd have liked a brief section on avionics like HMDs, LLTVs, FLIRs etc to go with the section on weapons. Then again, I like avionics :)

This book is highly recommended if you are at all interested in helicopters and specifically British helicopter development.

I second the above!
It has been very refreshing that you folks have taken the time, effort and endeavour to research this overlooked history to the extent you have. It's as well to stress the books are entirely objective in their findings. I have learnt a great deal from the 3 books- particularly the endeavours with PRO and the historical societies have unearthed a wealth of otherwise hidden detail. Thank you :)

uk 75

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Sep 27, 2006
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The three books on helicopters are a master class in how to provide comprehensive information in a small package. All three together are still thinner than most similar projects works.


ACCESS: Confidential
Feb 20, 2010
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Royal Mail co-operated and it arrived today. Thanks.

Only had time for a quick look through but it looks good. One question though that you can perhaps clarify. Was the Westland Apache marinised as part of the design/order or was it something that was done post entry into service?

Leading on from that what is the position with the AH-64E replacement? Given that it is a remanufacturing of AH 1 airframes, am I correct in assuming that they too will be fully marinised?


ACCESS: Restricted
Dec 31, 2011
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Been meaning to get around and order a copy for a bit now. Just placed an order via PayPal will be a good companion to Hood's book and the P.1216 one.


ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
May 26, 2011
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There's also the Air Staff and the Helicopter which makes up the trilogy.



ACCESS: Secret
Jun 24, 2007
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Just finished reading my copy and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s now joined the rest of the Project Tech Profiles as a hidden gem on my bookshelves. The PTP books deserve a more prominent spine (inflatable maybe?) but it’s great there is room for many more!

On that note what’s the next one and is it ready yet? ;)


Proselytizing to the great unwashed
Mar 6, 2013
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Does anyone know what new ones are in the pipeline?