Blue Thunder Over London

In response to the 2nd June acts of political violence in London, the Blue Thunder unit of the British Army’s Special Air Service (SAS) was deployed for the first time in the UK.

Blue Thunder is a 70-person unit formed after the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s 2015 attacks in Paris and is trained in tackling domestic scenarios. The unit’s name comes from the unmarked blue Eurocopter/Airbus Helicopter AS-365N3 Dauphin-II light utility helicopter, aircraft number XJ787, of the Army Air Corps’ 658 Squadron. The aircraft previously had the civilian registration G-CHNJ and was operated by the Dubai-based Falcon Aviation Service.

The aircraft was acquired in 2013 by FB Heliservices which specialises in the provision of helicopters, including operational support and training services, to military and government agencies in the UK and worldwide. After being equipped with a secure communication system and a sensor turret, the helicopter went into service with the Army Air Corps in support of the SAS.