NGAUS: Guard Apache battalions need 6 more aircraft

Retired Brigadier General Roy Robinson, president of the National Guard Association of the U.S. (NGAUS), issued the following statement after the recent release of the army basing decision for the four AH-64 Apache attack-helicopter battalions to remain in the Army National Guard.

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NGAUS is prepared to work with the U.S. Army and Congress to find a way to build the attack-helicopter force that the army requires. Skip Robinson Photo
NGAUS is prepared to work with the U.S. Army and Congress to find a way to build the attack-helicopter force that the army requires. Skip Robinson Photo

The battalions will be in North Carolina, South Carolina and Utah with a battalion split between Texas and Mississippi.

“The recent announcement that the army will retain four AH-64 Apache attack-helicopter battalions of 18 aircraft each in the Army National Guard follows to the letter the recommendation of the National Commission on the future of army.

“Unfortunately, that recommendation was made two years ago — in a very different environment.

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“Today’s quickly emerging threats make readiness paramount, and 18 aircraft are six fewer than an Apache battalion needs to deploy. This means Guard Apache battalions will never have enough aircraft to train the way they are supposed to fight. And each would have to borrow six aircraft to go to war.

“In addition, as the House of Representatives noted in the fiscal 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, the active-component army has a serious Apache pilot shortage that wasn’t foreseen two years ago. The guard currently has six Apache battalions. The decision to keep just four effectively cuts two battalions of Apache pilots when the army and the nation urgently need them.

“We know this largely was a dollar-driven action. NGAUS stands ready to work with army leaders and Congress to find the money to build the attack-helicopter force the army and the nation need in an increasingly troubled world.”

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