"We Strike From Above"
The 1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment from Hunter Army Airfield, GA, upgraded its helicopter fleet from 24 AH-64A helicopters to 24 AH-64D/DW Longbow helicopters in 2001.
As a result, the unit spent eight months at Fort Hood, TX, for training purposes. The entire 368-soldier battalion, including pilots, mechanics and truck drivers, relocated there to familiarize themselves with the new helicopter system, spending hours in classrooms learning about new digital computers in the cockpit and how to operate the fire-control radar system. Outside, pilots and weapons officers flew and fired ammunition. Members of the unit underwent a rigorous field examination, which included three live-fire exercises and approximately 3,000 flight hours during the training programme.
Training at Fort Hood, conducted by the 21st Cavalry Brigade, focused on individual through to battalion-level collective training. All pilots from the 1-3 AVN received their initial training at Fort Rucker, AL, while the unit's maintainers received their training at Mesa and Fort Eustis, VA. The unit received its certification on March 15, 2001, prior to returning to Hunter AAfld, GA.
The 3rd Infantry Division's Apache battalion is the Army's third to receive the upgrade to the Longbow.
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