21 May 2016

Apache Helicopter Gunships To Be Removed From National Guard Service

In a move that appropriately reflects the differing missions of the regular Army and the National Guard, the U.S. military is going to transfer all of the AH-64 Apache Helicopter gunships in National Guard service to regular Army.
Under the plan, the Army would retire the OH-58 Kiowas and use Apaches for the armed scout and reconnaissance mission instead. Because the service lacks money to buy enough of the attack helicopters to do both missions, it would transfer the Guard’s entire fleet of 192 Apaches to the active component. In return, the Guard would receive 111 UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters from the active component.
As part of this plan, the Army recently inked a contract to buy eight UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters for the National Guard from Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., for delivery June 30, 2017, at a price of $11 million each.

The Apache has two crew and no passengers or cargo capacity and is heavily armed with weapons including up to 16 of 100 pound anti-tank Hellfire missiles (or far more lighter, unguided "Hydra 70" missiles) and ore crew protecting armor than typical military helicopters.

The Black Hawk is more lightly armed and can carry up to 11 passengers and/or up to 9,000 pounds of cargo (externally). A Black Hawk can utilize most of the same kinds of armaments as the Apache, but fewer of them and without the same level of crew protecting armor. The Black Hawk's flight performance and size are fairly comparable to the Apache.

The OH-58 Kiowa scout helicopter that is being phased out, is cheaper, but also much such smaller and less heavily armed than either the Apache or the Blackhawk.

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