Pilots spurring training, tactics revolution.Army aviators--rehashing lessons garnered in Vietnam and seizing on recent experience gained in Iraq and Afghanistan--are forcing a revolution in combat helicopter training.
Armed with hard won know-how, veteran pilots are returning to flight schools to pass on an array of new combat tactics and flight techniques.
While Pentagon officials hesitate to compare the war in Iraq with Vietnam, when it comes to employing helicopters in battle, tactics used in that war are coming in handy. Operation Iraqi Freedom is redefining the way attack helicopters A helicopter specifically designed to employ various weapons to attack and destroy enemy targets. are being used, especially in urban environments, said pilots.
The Army is training its crews "to fight the aircraft to the limits of its capability," Col. Mark Ferrell, director of training and doctrine simulation for Army aviation at Fort Rucker Fort Rucker is a U.S. Army post located mostly in Dale County, Alabama. It was named for Confederate General Edmund Rucker. The post is the primary flight training base for Army Aviation and is home to the United States Army Aviation Warfighting Center (USAAWC) and the United , Ala., told National Defense during an Army Aviation Association convention.
The flight school is introducing a complete "culture change" by starting to teach maneuvering flight, something that has not been taught for decades, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Lt. Gen. Richard Cody, Army deputy chief of staff.
The architects of a new modular aviation force are planning to create a structure that would allow pilots to go from one fight to another without losing their situational awareness Situation awareness or situational awareness  (SA) is the mental representation and understanding of objects, events, people, system states, interactions, environmental conditions, and other situation-specific factors affecting human performance in . That only can happen with the integration of aviation and ground forces, said Cody. This is something with which the Army experimented during the Iraq war Iraq War: see under Persian Gulf Wars.
or Second Persian Gulf War
Brief conflict in 2003 between Iraq and a combined force of troops largely from the U.S. and Great Britain; and a subsequent U.S. , and now is formally implementing.
While new doctrine manuals will be rolling off the presses as early as next fall, and working drafts are due out this summer, gaps will remain in the training of conventional aviators Well-known aviators
People largely known for their contributions to the history of aviation
While all of these people were pilots (and some still are), many are also noted for contributions in areas such as aircraft design and manufacturing, navigation or when it comes to operations in city settings. Aviators do not have a fill-scale facility where they can train for military operations This is a list of missions, operations, and projects. Missions in support of other missions are not listed independently. World War I
''See also List of military engagements of World War I
MOUT Managed Object Under Test ), said Col. Greg Gass, an assault commander with the 101st Airborne Division.
"We need to try to develop some type of MOUT training facility for aviators," said Gass. It does not mean that such facilities do not exist, but they do not replicate cities the size of Najaf or Karbala, in Iraq, with populations of at least 600,000 people, according to Gass. Most importantly Adv. 1. most importantly - above and beyond all other consideration; "above all, you must be independent"
above all, most especially , it is the conventional forces that need to get this training, he added. "It will pay off in the end."
To close up the gap, homecoming Homecoming
concerning Odysseus’s difficulties in getting home after war. [Gk. Myth.: Odyssey]
You Can’t Go Home Again
revisiting his home town, a writer is disillusioned by what he sees. [Am. Lit. pilots impart their knowledge and experience from both Iraq and Afghanistan. Training with the new tactics, techniques and procedures will start at the level of Flight School XXI, the Army's refurbished pilot training curriculum.
The changes that Ferrell's directorate will be implementing are, in big part, tactics that "anyone coming out of Vietnam can do every day," he said. "What we have learned is that we have gone for about 10 years not teaching those old skills that we learned in Vietnam. We just quit doing it."
Aware of the Army's superiority at night, the enemy now chooses the time of day and the place of the fight, said Ferrell. Therefore, maneuvering flight for attack helicopters and the Kiowa Warrior OH-58 D--used for reconnaissance--is going back into the curriculum, said Ferrell.
"We pretty much trained a generation of Army aviators that do very well at night in a hovering hov·er
intr.v. hov·ered, hov·er·ing, hov·ers
1. To remain floating, suspended, or fluttering in the air: gulls hovering over the waves.
2. static fight," he said. "The enemy has a vote, and they will vote not to fight us at night now. To take away that advantage, they will do things that will force us to fight in daylight. Well, you can't do that static out of hover. You have to be maneuvering."
Many of the Vietnam-era tactics had to be re-learned, said Farrell, but "fortunately, we still have a lot of experience that we are able to draw from," he said.
That expertise comes from seasoned pilots, as well as the Special Operations Operations conducted in hostile, denied, or politically sensitive environments to achieve military, diplomatic, informational, and/or economic objectives employing military capabilities for which there is no broad conventional force requirement. Aviation Regiment and the 101st Airborne Division, which continued those practices, because of the missions they had to perform. However, those procedures did not spill across the entire spectrum of Army aviation.
The prime effort of Brig Brig, town, Switzerland
Brig (brēk), Fr. Brigue, town, Valais canton, S Switzerland, on the Rhône River, at the north entrance of the Simplon Tunnel. . Gen. Edward Sinclair Edward Sinclair (1914 – 29 August 1977) was a British actor most famous for his role as the verger Maurice Yeatman in Dad's Army. He also made appearances in Z Cars and Danger Man. , commander of the Army Aviation Center at Fort Rucker, is to bring people in like CW-4 Lee Muckleroy, of the 101st, who most recently flew Apaches in Iraq, back to Fort Rucker to instruct new pilots. "By fall, you will see a tremendous amount of combat experience in Fort Rucker," said Ferrell.
As an instructor at Fort Rucker, Muckleroy said he would stress the importance of rigorous mission planning, because there is no substitute.
"I would plan 18 hours for a two-hour mission, and try to think of all the things that may go wrong before I take off the ground," he said in a talk with reporters. It is imperative to have as much information as possible before the choppers go out on a mission, he added.
Just because the Apache Longbows are digital aircraft, it does not mean that planning goes down the drain, while everything else is determined by a computer, he said. "We need to triple-check it, we need to go over it, and teach them how to ask the right questions, give them the information, make them interface with the ground element."
Weapon delivery techniques are another critical item in Muckleroy's book. He would be "making sure guys know the different types of weapons that the aircraft carries, their ranges, their usage," he said. "The most important thing we do is put rounds down range to help the ground guy, and if those young pilots do not know that information backwards and forwards, then they can't do the job."
Muckleroy was one of the few Army aviators to go through training at the National Guard's High-Altitude Army Training Site in Eagle, Colo. He cannot stress enough how crucial that training was for his missions in Iraq. That one-week, super-intensive course teaches pilots power management.
HAATS teaches helicopter pilots to calculate the power available in their helicopters based on the environment and mission they have to perform. HAATS teaches pilots a method that accurately predicts the power necessary for certain missions. The pilots learn how to use tabular data, which gives the pilots more precision for their decisions.
Usually pilots train at near-sea levels, where power management does not crop up as an issue because aircraft are not pushed to their maximum power levels. That, however, changes in mountainous area such as Afghanistan or the border between Iraq and Iran. Often, when pilots find themselves at 10,000 feet, they also find themselves exceeding the power limit-which leads to accidents.
Despite the fact that the power management taught at HAATS proves to be effective, it isn't taught across the Army. Unit commanders, in fact, have to push hard to get the resources to send a handful of pilots there.
"Our CW-5 found out about it, and he went and came back, and said 'That is the best training that I have ever been to,'" Muckleroy recalled. "He fought tooth and nail to get us up there. When they said no, he fought, and the battalion commander In the United States Army and United States Marine Corps, the commanding officer of a battalion is a Battalion Commander. The position is usually held by a lieutenant colonel, although a major can be selected for battalion command in lieu of an available lieutenant colonel. decided to do it, and send five people, all senior instructors. I got to land up at 14,200 feet, and I did not think it was possible."
With high gross weight and high temperatures, the power available in the helicopter's engine is going to be a lot less. "But if you learn how to operate your aircraft in those conditions, and you train yourself to always think about 'okay, I only have this much power because I weigh this much,'" problems can be avoided.
Once immersed im·merse
tr.v. im·mersed, im·mers·ing, im·mers·es
1. To cover completely in a liquid; submerge.
2. To baptize by submerging in water.
3. in a hot climate such as Iraq, pilots would be able to determine whether they would be able to hover over the ground, for example, Muckleroy said. "When they are going to the mission they are already planning, 'How am I going to do a racetrack pattern? How am I going to do running fire? How much fuel do I have to burn off?'"
Army aviators must respond to the soldiers on the ground at the drop of a hat, said Muckleroy. "We do not have the luxury of operating at night only, because when the ground guy calls, we go now," he said. "They do not want to hear that you do not have enough power. They do not want to hear it is too hot." According to Muckleroy, some of this training is going to be incorporated into the flight school program at Fort Pucker puck·er
v. puck·ered, puck·er·ing, puck·ers
To gather into small wrinkles or folds: puckered my lips; puckered the curtains.
Learning how to fly at a reduced power margin also diminishes brownout A lowering of AC power voltage for some period of time. Brownouts can be very harmful to electronic equipment if sustained for long periods. Brownouts can cause flickering or a dimming on screen, and the computer may experience intermittent problems as a result. See blackout. incidents. Brownout is caused by the rotors kicking up so much dust that it is impossible to land or take off at times, contributing to a series of deadly accidents. Muckleroy's unit trained to fly with reduced power not only in the actual helicopters, but also in the simulators.
"We also simulated high altitude Conventionally, an altitude above 10,000 meters (33,000 feet). See also altitude. and low power settings and high-gross weights. We would make them rake off Verb 1. rake off - take money from an illegal transaction
crime, criminal offence, criminal offense, law-breaking, offense, offence - (criminal law) an act punishable by law; usually considered an evil act; "a long record of crimes" at max-gross weights and have them fly up to 10,000 feet," he said. "So, when we had to go do Iranian border missions at 8,000 feet, we knew which pilots we would be taking. We took qualified instructors. We took guys who were experienced and did well in the simulator at Fort Campbell Fort Campbell is a United States Army installation located between Hopkinsville, Kentucky and Clarksville, Tennessee and is home to the 101st Airborne Division.
The fort is named in honor of BG William Bowen Campbell, the last Whig Governor of Tennessee. ."
According to Muckleroy, the Iraqi deployment revealed "some of the worst conditions I have ever seen. I have been to Desert Storm, and I had been to Kuwait," he said. Landing conditions were so bad that they had to put their birds down by using symbology sym·bol·o·gy
1. The study or interpretation of symbols or symbolism.
2. The use of symbols.
1. the study and interpretation of symbols. Also called symbolism. , the picture displayed over the pilot's right eye. "The young guys do nor have the experience to do that yet," he said.
Therefore, the team mix on the helicopter was critical, he said. "You do not put two junior guys in a $35 million helicopter and say, 'Okay, we trust you to bring it back with no problem,'" he added.
Adding to the complex battlefield in Iraq was the constant threat of man-portable air defense systems, or manpads.
Even though the infrared signature coming out of the Apache engines is low, the anti-missile protection system needs a considerable improvement, he said. Meanwhile, to avoid the newer generation of manpads, the pilots learned to fly faster, reduce their exposure time, avoid large built-up areas built-up area n → bebautes Gebiet nt
built-up area n → abitato , and made sure to fly different routes and avoid flying directly over villages, Muckleroy said. "You do not walk up to a rabid dog and slap it on the head," he added.
The use of deception, said Lt. Col. Doug Gobram, increases survivability sur·viv·a·ble
1. Capable of surviving: survivable organisms in a hostile environment.
2. That can be survived: a survivable, but very serious, illness. and aides aerial maneuver. All possible enablers must be used to ensure mission success, he said in a presentation. "Use the other guy's ammunition first," he said.
In urban environments, the 101st always has worked with the inner- and outer-ring concepts, said Gass. At first, the inner ring of the city is secured, and forces start moving towards the outer ring, he explained. "It is a tactic that we worked for years and years," he said. However, they worked on this procedure with the Apaches, but never the way they handled it in Iraq.
"What we ended up doing was establishing the inner ring with our Kiowa Warriors, and then task organize them also to the main efforts," Gass said. "The Apaches did outstanding work outside the town to prevent either infiltrators or exfiltrators. They were able to better use the long-range radars, so they were of better use on the outer rings.
For fights in bustling bus·tle 1
intr. & tr.v. bus·tled, bus·tling, bus·tles
To move or cause to move energetically and busily.
Excited and often noisy activity; a stir. cities, the wingman wing·man
A pilot whose plane is positioned behind and outside the leader in a formation of flying aircraft.
Noun 1. wingman concept, revived in the war in Afghanistan, proved to be golden, aviators said. It is "absolutely critical, especially in a city fight where you do not know where the next guy is going to shoot you from. You have to have somebody in cover your steps," one pilot pointed out. This concept also is used increasingly in desert environments, primarily because it is difficult for helicopters to hover.
While detailed route planning is critical, a flexible and simple plan is also key to mission success, Gobram said. In addition, without constant training, even during deployments, missions risk failure, he stressed.
The role of attack helicopters in urban environments is going to be redefined, he said. At first glance, running fire is going to be incorporated more into missions, because the days of hovering fire are over, he told National Defense.
"We have to keep moving, especially any time you are in a built-up area," he said. "If you stop, somebody is going to put an RPG (Report Program Generator) One of the first program generators designed for business reports, introduced in 1964 by IBM. In 1970, RPG II added enhancements that made it a mainstay programming language for business applications on IBM's System/3x midrange computers. [rocket propelled grenade grenade (grĭnād`), small bomb filled with explosives, gas, or chemicals and either thrown by hand or shot from a modified rifle or a grenade launcher. Grenades were in use as early as the 15th cent. ] up your ass. It is easy to sneak up Verb 1. sneak up - advance stealthily or unnoticed; "Age creeps up on you"
advance, march on, move on, progress, pass on, go on - move forward, also in the metaphorical sense; "Time marches on" on a helicopter."
The connection to the troops on the ground has to be strong, said Gobram, and that is achieved by having an aviation liaison officer embedded Inserted into. See embedded system. with the ground troops. These liaison operators are sent to "understand what the ground guy is going through," said Gobram.
Having a liaison officer "gives the guy in the air the comfort factor that they are talking to Noun 1. talking to - a lengthy rebuke; "a good lecture was my father's idea of discipline"; "the teacher gave him a talking to"
rebuke, reprehension, reprimand, reproof, reproval - an act or expression of criticism and censure; "he had to somebody that can talk airplanes to them," said Maj. Jim Abrams, also with the 101st. The Apaches provided presence for the infantrymen, said Gobram. "Sometimes that presence is hard to quantify," he said in an interview. "In the middle of the night, when [the soldiers] are doing a raid and our Apaches are sitting in over watch a kilometer Off. You can't see them, but you can hear them. It makes that infantryman feel that he has Apaches on station."
Also, in order to have a flexible and agile aviation force that can jump from one fight to another without losing its situational awareness, the right liaison officers have to be embedded with the ground troops, Cody told reporters. According to him, the 101st embraced that concept in the 1970s and early 1980s, but the subsequent downsizing (1) Converting mainframe and mini-based systems to client/server LANs.
(2) To reduce equipment and associated costs by switching to a less-expensive system.
(jargon) downsizing of the Army did not allow for that to continue.
Now, as the Army is going through yet another restructuring, it is looking to add these liaison officers without extra growth, said Cody. The Army is looking to embed em·bed also im·bed
v. em·bed·ded, em·bed·ding, em·beds
1. To fix firmly in a surrounding mass: embed a post in concrete; fossils embedded in shale. an aviation cell with each of the maneuver brigades, "so that they can be adaptable," he said.
The war in Iraq also has seen the emergence of split-based operations. "Typically, you want to keep the whole battalion together working out of the same area, because you have to have all your maintenance, and all the support structure and logistics piece," said Abrams. "We are going to see a lot more split-based operations, because of the greater battle space, greater distances and working for different people."
With spilt-based operations, about two thirds of the battalion was kept in the same place, while two attack companies were sent 230 kilometers apart. Maintenance had to be provided "back and forth" between the two locations, he said.
Ultimately, when it comes to taking off for a combat mission, rules of engagement have to be understood in the cockpit as well, "because we have young pilots making political and in some cases strategic decisions in whether they pull the trigger or not," he said. "Everybody needs to understand the rules of engagement, because many times you do not have time to call back to three levels up to get a division commander."