1st ACB helos receive upgrades
February 12, 2009
FORT HOOD, Texas - Helicopter changes mean better defense and targeting systems for aviators. However, modifications for pilots usually pose an addition challenge - these aircraft must be available to facilitate training for the pilots.
As preparation for the upcoming deployment to Iraq, AH-64D Apaches in 4th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, are going through an extensive modification process that involve a great deal of coordination between the military and civilian contractors performing the modifications.
The modifications vary in their role for the Apaches.
The Apache Survivability Product Improvement Kit is designed to reduce the heat signature of the aircraft, while the Common Missile Warning System, gives the Apache greater defense against enemy missiles system.
The Modernized Target Acquisition Designator Sight is a new generation of Forward Looking Infra Red and gives the aviators a much clearer picture.
"The number one benefit of the ASPI Kit is a greatly reduced heat signature put out by the aircraft," said Capt. Lucas Kennedy, of Kearney, Neb., an Apache pilot and commander of Company A, 4th Bn., 227th ARB.
An addition to the CMWS is a fifth Electro-Optic Missile-Sensor on the underside of the aircraft just for extra coverage from man-portable air-defense system, Kennedy said.
"The benefit of the M-TADS is obviously the clarity - the distance at which we can see and distinguish what we are looking at," Kennedy said.
Sgt. 1st Class Johnothan Blanshan of Company D, 4th Bn., 227th ARB, is the production control noncommissioned officer-in-charge and is a liaison between the civilian contractors and the unit's aircraft.
"Right now, we are in the process of working through multiple modifications on the aircraft," Blanshan said. "We've been doing mods (modifications) for four months now; it takes a lot of prior coordination and making sure everyone is on the same sheet of music."
Blanshan said it's with not only the pilots' needs but also with the units they support, that they come up with the training plan. Along with the training plan, the aircraft has to go through its modifications to be ready for combat.
"Out of the three upgrades, (the) M-TADS, is by far the best for our job of killing bad guys."
The Soldiers of 4-227th ARB will be deploying to Iraq with the rest of the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade later this year.