TAUNTON-based Army Reservists are off training next weekend to learn how to protect, refuel, re-arm and rig loads for the Army's Wildcat and Apache helicopters.

The Reservists of 675 (Rifles) Squadron will be wearing light blue berets and cap badges of the Army Air Corps as they have formed a new unit.

They are joining the 6th Regiment AAc for an aviation weekend in Thetford, Norfolk.

Capt Barney Barnes, admin officer at the Bishop's Hull Army Reserve Centre, said the new company would be 150 strong and answers to the Joint Helicopter Command - it could potentially support any UK military helicopter.

“When fully trained and operational, our Reservists will reconnoitre landing sights before securing them and then communicate with the pilots to bring them in.

“So we will be in a protection role as well, not losing our infantry skills.”

A big change is that the company will no longer be almost exclusively male - they can now recruit as many men as women and already have 12 potential female recruits.