The Republic of Singapore Air Force’s Peace Vanguard detachment completed AH-64 Apache aerial gunnery throughout July at the Idaho Army National Guard’s Orchard Combat Training Center, outside of Boise, Idaho. The Peace Vanguard detachment has been based in Marana, Arizona, since 2001 and is supported by the Arizona National Guard’s U.S. Army Flight Training Detachment. RSAF pilots fly eight UH-60 Apache Longbow Attack Helicopters and complete the same gunnery requirements and standards as U.S. pilots. The detachment conducted aerial gunnery June 30 to July 29 at the Orchard Combat Training Center for the 10th straight year and was able to use the National Guard’s only Digital Air Ground Integrated Range, which opened in March.
“The scoring is instantaneous. The second a target is hit, we know about it. It’s a great feature because sometimes you’re not sure if the round went through the target or not. The range’s pop up and moving targets also provided pilots with more realistic training than most ranges. His master gunner was able to communicate with OCTC staff months in advance to build and develop a qualification program that ensured each pilot received the same level of training. It’s the best job I’ve had in the Army by far. It’s a lot of fun. There’s a lot of uniqueness to working with other countries. It’s rewarding to break through those cultural barriers and you can see the smile on their faces when they go out and accomplish something,” said Lt. Col. Jack Denton, commander of the U.S. Army Flight Training Detachment.
The range, which is one of two in the U.S. Army, allows air and ground units to train together while receiving accurate and real-time feedback on their performance. The U.S. Army Flight Training Detachment includes six Army National Guard pilots who fly with RSAF pilots. The arrangement is one of several arrangements the RSAF has with the U.S. military. RSAF pilots rotate through the training station in Arizona for the opportunity to train in desert environments and alongside U.S. pilots. While at the OCTC, RSAF pilots conducted individual and crew-level qualifications and worked with Marine Joint Terminal Attack Controllers to simulate providing close air support. Each engagement is recorded, which allows crews the chance to review their training run while receiving real-time feedback from senior pilots, master gunners and range personnel.
Crews were also able to sleep and refuel at the Orchard Combat Training Center while training. The DAGIR is one of 23 ranges at the Orchard Combat Training Center, located 18 miles south of Boise. The Orchard Combat Training Center is a premier joint combined arms training site located 18 miles south of Boise, Idaho. The 143,000 acre training center is located within the boundaries of the Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area and has been used by the Idaho National Guard and Army Reserve since 1953. Vast terrain, world class ranges and four-season climate contribute to this being an ideal location to prepare Brigade Combat Teams and other units for combat in a tough and realistic training environment. The OCTC is dedicated to providing world-class training facilities for the war fighter through efficient, flexible and professional customer service.