Commander: Army’s New AH-64E Apache Surprised Enemy in Afghanistan

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The commander of the first U.S. Army unit to fly combat missions in Afghanistan with the AH-64E Apache -- the service's newest version of the attack helicopter -- praised the performance of the aircraft.

Lt. Col. John Davis, commander of the 1st Battalion, 229th Aviation Regiment, part of the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade at Joint Base Lewis McCord in Washington, said his unit operated in southern and western Afghanistan last year with two dozen Echo models of the Boeing-made choppers, along with 15 OH-58D Kiowa Warriors and 10 UH-60M Black Hawks.

The AH-64E features digital cockpit avionics, more powerful engines and composite rotor blades, among other features that improve the aircraft's range and loitering ability, Davis said. Taken together, the helicopters flew almost 11,000 hours over a seven-month tour in Kandahar and other areas in Regional Command-South, Southwest and West, he said.

The unit headed overseas with only about 270 troops, just over half of its preferred level of personnel, yet was able to maintain the Apaches with a readiness rate of 87 percent, higher than the Army standard of 80 percent, Davis said. The figure refers to the amount of time a piece of equipment can carry out missions, known in military parlance as being fully mission capable (FMC).

The E-model flew in Afghanistan at speeds of about 155 knots, or almost 180 miles per hour, while he himself only flew the D variant in Iraq at speeds of about 125 knots, or nearly 140 miles per hour, Davis said.

The faster speeds cut the amount of time it took aviators to reach front-line troops by 57 percent, Davis said. What's more, the improved fuel efficiency helped pilots pin down enemies by loitering in the area for longer periods of time, he said. The characteristics were particularly useful at a time when the U.S. military was consolidating and closing bases, he said.

Source: Commander: Army’s New AH-64E Apache Surprised Enemy in Afghanistan | Fox News
 
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This new version of the attack helicopter will surely spell doom on the militants and insurgents on the ground.Given its technical capabilities and wide range of operation,am sure it's going to be the preferred choice of many units operating covert operations in many parts of the world.
 
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