Air power: US Army Aviation in Germany gets boost with new Apache Attack Helicopter

The U.S. Army’s 12th Combat Aviation Brigade recently received two new AH-64E Version 6 Apache Guardian helicopters at Wiesbaden Army Airfield, Clay Kaserne, Germany, on September 1, 2023. These new Apaches are part of a scheduled delivery of 24 helicopters for the unit. They arrived via a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport aircraft, replacing two existing AH-64 Delta models that were sent to another U.S. Army combat aviation brigade.

The AH-64E V6 Apache Guardians feature significant enhancements to their sensors, software, and weapon systems, making them more lethal, survivable, and agile. These upgrades are designed to improve interoperability within the multi-domain operational ecosystem, providing ground forces with increased reach, maneuverability, and performance.

According to U.S. Army 1st Lt. Brigit Duffy, a maintenance platoon leader with 1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment (Attack Battalion), 12th CAB, these new aircraft bring numerous capabilities that will enhance support for allies in the European Theater.

Chief Warrant Officer 5 Michael Weisskopf, the brigade standardization officer with 12th CAB, highlighted specific enhancements such as the ability to use the AGM-179 Joint Air-to-Ground Missile and future integration of the Spike NLOS missile system. Additionally, the AH-64E V6 features a full instrument suite allowing for instrument flight rules (IFR) operations, enabling deployment in adverse weather conditions.

The modernization efforts of the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade include ongoing training and new equipment fielding, with the AH-64E Apache Guardian upgrade playing a key role in enhancing battlefield capabilities. By integrating advanced capabilities through onboard and offboard sensors, stand-off long-range weapons, and connectivity technologies, Boeing’s AH-64E V6 is optimized as a battle attack helicopter capable of engaging armor, personnel, and materiel targets in obscured battlefield conditions.

Before the arrival of these AH-64E V6 helicopters, pilots from 12th CAB underwent initial training at the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence in Fort Rucker, Alabama. Maintenance personnel are scheduled to undergo training in Germany starting in October 2023, with completion expected by January 2024. The U.S. Army’s investment in next-generation technologies like the AH-64E Apache reflects its commitment to building a capable force for the future, with a focus on Multi-Domain Operations and modular open systems architecture.

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