With fewer AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, each battalion “will never have enough aircraft to train the way they are supposed to fight,” Retired Brig. Gen. Roy Robinson, NGAUS president
National Guard Association of the U.S. (NGAUS) has issued a statement regarding the Army’s recent announcement to keep four AH-64 Apache attack helicopter battalions within the Army National Guard (the battalions will be in North Carolina, South Carolina and Utah with a battalion split between Texas and Mississippi).
“Unfortunately, that recommendation was made two years ago—in a very different environment,” Retired Brig. Gen. Roy Robinson, the NGAUS president, said.
“Today’s quickly emerging threats make readiness paramount, and 18 aircraft are six fewer than an Apache battalion needs to deploy. This means Guard Apache battalions will never have enough aircraft to train the way they are supposed to fight. And each would have to borrow six aircraft to go to war,” Robinson added.
“In addition, as the House of Representatives noted in the fiscal 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, the active-component Army has a serious Apache pilot shortage that wasn’t foreseen two years ago. The Guard currently has six Apache battalions. The decision to keep just four effectively cuts two battalions of Apache pilots when the Army and the nation urgently need them.
“We know this largely was a dollar-driven action. NGAUS stands ready to work with Army leaders and Congress to find the money to build the attack-helicopter force the Army and the nation need in an increasingly troubled world.”
The AH-64 Apache is the world’s most advanced multi-role combat helicopter and is used by the U.S. Army and a growing number of international defense forces. Boeing has delivered more than 2,200 Apaches to customers around the world since the aircraft entered production. The U.S. Army Apache fleet has accumulated (as of July 2016) more than 4.2 million flight hours since the first AH-64A was delivered to the U.S. Army in January 1984.
Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. Andy Dunaway / U.S. Army
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