GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- The 1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment (Attack Reconnaissance), 12th Combat Aviation Brigade recently completed their combined combat aviation gunnery, here, 05-24 July, at the Grafenwoehr Training Area.
Aviation gunnery trains individuals, crews, and companies on weapons proficiency and validates the operational readiness of the unit.
The 1st Bn., 3rd Avn. Regt., focused on utilizing Army attack aviation as a pro-active maneuver element for the duration of this gunnery. The AH-64 is capable of executing company and battalion size mission-type orders in support of Unified Land Operations and the combined arms team.
The 12th CAB followed the three phase gunnery progression and integrated additional elements during each phase.
During phase one, individual aircrew members attend classroom training and simulators to improve their academic understanding of the critical skills required during weapons operations.
In the second phase, AH-64 crews qualified on the 30mm cannon, 2.75in rockets and also simulated the firing of Hellfire missiles.
The aircrew phase also integrated JTACs from Slovakia, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, USASOC, and the US Air Force JTAC's from the 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron (2 ASOS) located in Vilseck, Germany, as live players during a team employment scenario.
The JTACs directed AH-64s on to targets during hours of low visibility in order to improve pilot air-ground integration with an active ground force in close proximity.
The battalion is shifting focus away from the two ship close combat attack and close air support role that the AH-64 took during the majority of the global war on terror.
The pilots also conducted manned-unmanned teaming operations with RQ-7 Shadows to destroy notional enemy armor targets, and integrated M777 Howitzers during the culminating scenario.
"Our battalion did a phenomenal job planning, integrating, and executing the full tactical scenario that was used to qualify the aircrews during the culminating event," said Capt. Rich Ortmann, 1st Bn., 3rd Avn. Regt., future operations officer.
This combined event met multiple training objectives for each unit that was involved.
The fire support and UAS assets came from the 173rd Airborne and 2CR.
Both the Apache Pilots and JTACs participated in a combined after actions review for each scenario. This review allows the ground and air element a chance to evaluate the success of the scenario by reviewing the gun tape footage and providing their counterpart with positive direct feedback.
The 12th Combat Aviation Brigade trains and conducts aviation support across the full spectrum of unified land operations for United States Army Europe, European Command, NATO, and in support of CENTCOM, AFRICOM and other contingency locations around the globe.