The attack helicopter is intended to be used to interrupt Marines calling in close air support and conducting artillery and air defense missions
The U.S. Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command is seeking for a Mi-17 or Mi-24 attack helicopter to provide realistic training for the Marines.
Fitted with tracking pods compatible with the training range in Yuma, Arizona, the helicopter will act as an aggressor “against rotary-wing, fixed-wing, Forward Operating Bases, Forward Arming & Refueling Points and Anti-Aircraft Artillery Defense units and other friendly force positions.”
According Marine Corps Times the attack helicopter is intended to be used to interrupt Marines calling in close air support (CAS) and conducting artillery and air defense missions. Additionally, the solicitation requests an aircraft capable of conducting “intelligence collection on friendly forces” and “air to ground attack of friendly forces.”
“The scope of this effort is to provide familiarization of flight characteristics, capabilities and limitations of the foreign adversary rotary-wing and propeller driven aircraft,” the solicitation reads. “This will be accomplished by having accessibility to two foreign adversary contractor-provided aircraft that shall participate in certain exercise events as part of a realistic opposing force.”
The winning contractor will have to provide no more than 40 flight hours during each Integrated Training Exercise (ITX).
Moreover the contractor will have to provide instructional tours for personnel looking for familiarization with foreign aircraft.
Both aircraft types are primarily used by Russian military forces, as well as some adversarial governments like Cuba and North Korea. Many friendly governments, like Ukraine, Iraq and Afghanistan, also purchased the aircraft.
The introduction of air force opposition into training exercises underscores the military’s mission to focus on great power competition against peer-level threats, rather than the irregular insurgents forces they have become accustomed to over nearly two decades of fighting the Global War on Terrorism.
“The attack helicopter will act as an aggressor to interfere with the exercises forces conducting offensive, defensive and stability operations,” according to the solicitation. “This will include potential use during friendly aviation operations in order to force decision making.”
Photo credit: MSGT STEVEN TURNER and Tech. Sgt. Cecilio M. Ricardo Jr / U.S. Air Force