US Army AH-64E V6 Apaches Conduct Aerial Gunnery Drills in South Korea
US Army AH-64E V6 Apaches Conduct Aerial Gunnery Drills in South Korea

US Army AH-64E V6 Apache Attack Helicopters Conduct Aerial Gunnery Drills in South Korea

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U.S. Army 5th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment and 4-2 Attack Battalion are conducting aerial gunnery, certifying their crews on AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, Hydra 70 rockets and 30mm canon at Rodriguez Live Fire Complex. Both units are using the latest AH-64E v6 Apache helicopter. The U.S. Army activated a new air cavalry squadron on 17 May, 2022, that will take on the permanent reconnaissance mission for the 2nd Infantry Division ROK-U.S. Combined Division. The activation of 5th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment (5-17 ACS) as a permanent unit to 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, will soon assume the mission of the current rotational squadron, 4th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, of being the primary reconnaissance element to the division.

Soldier assigned to 5-17 Air Cavalry Squadron, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, is seen loading a Hydra 70 missile into the AH-64E Apache Helicopter, July 19, 2022, Rodriguez Live Fire Complex, Republic of Korea. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Oscar Toscano)

The AH-64E V6 (Version 6) is the most modern configuration of the Apache attack helicopter and is ready for the Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) battlefield. A network-centric, fully integrated weapon system specifically built to dominate in highly contested and complex battle space, the Version 6 Apache includes multiple enhancements to the aircraft’s sensors, software and weapons performance. Designed for interoperability within the ecosystem of Joint All Domain Operations (JADO), the AH-64E v6 is a lethal, survivable and agile system providing the range, maneuverability and performance needed by ground forces and contributes to current and future joint mission success.

Soldiers assigned to 5-17 Air Cavalry Squadron, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, load 30mm rounds into the AH-64E Apache Helicopter, July 19, 2022, Rodriguez Live Fire Complex, Republic of Korea. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Oscar Toscano)

The Version 6 AH-64E model of the Apache is the final planned modernization of the aircraft, replacing the AH-64D Apache attack helicopters. The V6 enhances the Apache’s fundamental mission: to search and destroy. They include:
• An improved cockpit map display that will allow pilots to use digital map images
• Multiple upgrades to the Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision System (MTADS/PNVS)
• A GEN3 Day Sensor Assembly (GEN3 DSA)
• Link 16 communications
• Manned-Unmanned Teaming E\eXpanded (MUMT-X) software designed to allow Apache pilots to directly control other Army unmanned aerial systems

AH-64E Apache Helicopter pilots assigned to 5-17 Air Cavalry Squadron, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, fires several Hydra 70 missiles during aerial gunnery qualification July 21, 2022, Rodriguez Live Fire Complex, Republic of Korea. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Oscar Toscano)

Operating the AH-64E V6 requires extensive mission equipment and flight training. The Program Executive Office for Aviation Apache project office’s New Equipment Training (NET) team provides critical instruction to ensure operators are prepared to safely operate and take full advantage of the many upgrades in the V6 aircraft. The Apache NET team uses a combination of classroom training, Longbow Crew Trainer (LCT) sessions and training flights to familiarize pilots with the upgraded version. The operator training consists of four different course types: Aircraft Series Transition Course (ASTC), Aircraft Version upgrade training (Differences), the Maintenance Test Pilot (MTP) Series Transition Course and the MTP version upgrade training. Stronger sensors, improved situational awareness, and a better information flow—all of these improvements have made the new iteration of the Apache far more versatile and lethal.

AH-64E Apache Helicopter pilots assigned to 5-17 Air Cavalry Squadron, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, fires several 30mm rounds during aerial gunnery qualification Julu 21, 2022, Rodriguez Live Fire Complex, Republic of Korea. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Oscar Toscano)