192 Apaches Being Taken… Only 111 Blackhawks in Return
By Harold Hutchison
The National Guard has been ordered to hand over all 192 of its AH-64 Apache attack helicopters to the active components of the United States, receiving only 111 UH-60 Blackhawks in return. The move has drawn the ire of many top National Guard officials.
According to multiple media reports, the move is coming as the Army plans to retire its force of OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopters without a dedicated scout helicopter as a replacement. To make up for the shortage of airframes, the Army decided to take Apaches from the National Guard, and offer Blackhawks in return, stating that the transfer would improve disaster response capabilities.
“My big concern right now is figuring out how I’m going to move, and how many states I’m going to have an impact on, and what’s the cost of facilities and to retrain pilots. I’ve got to tackle that because the decision’s been made,” General Frank Grass, the top National Guard officer in the United States told the Washington Times.
The Apache production line is still running, with Boeing receiving a contract to produce a mixture of new and re-manufactured AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters. The contract will be completed by June 2016.