West Jordan, UT -- Over the Thanksgiving holiday, a Program Executive Office for Aviation team from the Aviation Mission Equipment product office helped update the AH-64D Apache Longbow of the Utah Army National Guard with the Army's fastest, most efficient situational awareness system.

Maintenance technicians assigned to the 1-211th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion worked alongside the AME to field and integrate the Blue Force Tracker 2 along with the KGV-72 inline encryption device in aircraft of 2-211th ARB. The fielding is part of Army Aviation's transition from the BFT1 system and network, to the faster and more secure BFT2 system.

The BFT-2 system is designed as a high-capacity, low-latency network upgrade to BFT that will bring real-time situational awareness to warfighters in combat vehicles and rotary-wing aircraft through BFT-2's improved networking performance

As part of the package, they also delivered and installed programmable encryption devices. The KGV-72 inline encryption device enables the BFT system to encrypt and transmit sensitive information for rapid decision-making in a tactical environment.

The AME team focused on avoiding delays that could impact the 2020 target completion date of fielding the BFT2 on the AH-64D. Any delay could increase cost due to prolonged maintenance of two concurrent systems.

The 1-211th ARB maintenance personnel included Chief Warrant Officer 4 Douglas Carter, who coordinated aircraft, facilities, support personnel and unit equipment for the BFT-2 and Maintenance Operational Checks; Chief Warrant Officer Ryan Moser, technical Inspector; Staff Sgt. Levi Bishop, technical Inspector; and Staff Sgt. Steven Stanley, Apache crew chief, who assisted with review of the technical manuals publications.

As a result of the teamwork and communication between the AME and the 1-211th, the systems were successfully installed. The aircraft is now fully mission capable with Apache's latest Operational Flight Profile and the BFT system upgrades.

Upon completion of the project, the AME team left feeling that providing a unit with a fully mission capable aircraft and a crew that is completely trained on the new equipment was well worth the holiday time spent away from home and family.

PM Aviation Systems supports the Soldier worldwide with responsive services and overmatching technologies, collaborating with all stakeholders to develop, acquire, field, and sustain equipment that maximizes readiness and innovates future capabilities.