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U.S. and German aviators test new attack helicopter in Grafenwoehr

May 27, 2011

By Sgt. Rick Frost, 114th Public Affairs Detachment, New Hampshire National Guard

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany --The training between US and German aviators has changed with Germany’s introduction of a new attack helicopter.

For the first time, aviators from both countries participated in a coordinated, live-fire training exercise with the U.S. and its rotary-wing, aviation assets. They utilized the U.S. AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter and Germany’s new Eurocopter Tiger Attack Helicopter.

“Having an attack helicopter is brand new to the German Army,” said U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Dennis Krumholtz, a battalion tactical operation officer, for the 2/159th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade from Illesheim, Germany. “So, we invited the Germans to participate in our battalion gunnery training here at Grafenwoehr and conducted live-fire training with them.”

The German aviators accepted the training invitation and arrived at Grafenwoehr to begin the exercise on a remote range, which would prepare them for a new type of combat situation.

“We’ve had anti-tank helicopters that could only be used for attacking tanks, so this is a very big deal for the German Army,” said German Army Maj. Goetz Odendahl, a tactical evaluation officer for the German Army’s 362 Attack Helicopter Battalion. “We’ve tried to learn from the Americans, take those new tactics we’ve learned on the range and adjust our training and procedures.”

The range is particularly effective and beneficial for the German aviators, who are accustomed to tracking their effectiveness by counting hits visually. This range offers digital tracking of the targeted hits, saving time when trying to calculate the effectiveness of the weapons systems, according to the German pilots.

U.S Apache aviators also provided their German counterparts with practical training on dynamic firing, which means deploying their weapons systems while in motion, rather than in a hover. This dynamic firing is what makes an attack helicopter unique and important, according to the U.S. aviators.

These pilots will likely be deploying to Afghanistan with their new Tiger’s, and this exercise will prepare them for joint operations with U.S. as well as other NATO countries. The JMTC provides the U.S. and its’ multinational partners the ability to integrate training to prepare them to fight together and win against a common threat.

“We have NATO standards we have to train to, and we have to fit this helicopter into this tactical environment,” added Odendahl. “We’ve teamed up with the Apache’s here, which is exactly what we would be doing in combat, so this has been a very good opportunity for us.”



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