One of the most impressive machines utilized by the National Guard is the AH-64 Apache. This attack helicopter dominates the aerial battlefield with its highly advanced flight and weapons systems.
The development of the Apache began in late 1975 and continued until the first model entered service in 1986. In 1997, an even more advanced version of the helicopter was released; this AH-64D Apache Longbow saw a number of improvements. The Longbow is the primary model flown by the National Guard today.
The Apache’s four rotor blades and powerful engine, which is capable of over 1,800 horsepower, provide it with a massive amount of power and maneuverability. It can achieve a maximum speed of over 180 miles per hour.
The helicopter’s weaponry includes unguided rocket pods and guided Hellfire anti-tank missiles. It also features a M230 chain gun under the nose of the helicopter. The Apache can even be fit with anti-air missiles such as the shortrange AIM-9 Sidewinder and the AIM-92 Stinger. This deadly array of weapons makes the Apache a formidable asset to the National Guard.
The Apache is operated by a crew of two: a pilot and a weapons operator. Training for these crewmembers begins like any other National Guardsman at Basic Combat Training. After the nine-week course, the candidates proceed to the six-week long Warrant Officer Candidate School. The final step of training is the Army Helicopter School at Fort Rucker, Alabama. This is where future pilots spend the bulk of their training period. Flight training can take months, but it is time very well spent. Students will log up to 150 flight hours.
After your training is completed, your career will really accelerate as you operate this amazing helicopter in daily operations. The life of a a National Guard AH-64 Apache pilot is one full of excitement and pride.