Category Archives: Helicopters

U.S. Army AH-64E Apache Guardians deploy to Hawaii to take part in multiple exercises

AH-64E Apache Guardians arrived at Wheeler Army Airfield.

Taken on Jan. 6, 2016, the following pictures show four AH-64E Apache Guardians assigned to 16th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB), based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), Washington, preparing for take off from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH), Hawaii  and then flying in formation and landing at Wheeler Army Airfield, to train with 2-6 Cavalry, 25th CAB.

AH-64E 16th CAB

During their six-month deployment at Wheeler, 16th CAB aircrews will not only take part in several exercises, including Lightning Force and RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific), but will also fill the void of attack/reconnaissance coverage for the 25th Infantry Division after the retirement of the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior.

AH-64E Wheeler

16th CAB has been the first U.S. Army unit to field the AH-64E when it started operations with the type in 2014. Currently, the U.S. Army plans to procure a total of 690 Guardians, with 634 being remanufactured AH-64Ds and the remainder new-build helicopters.

AH-64E Hawaii

Image credit: Sgt. Daniel K. Johnson, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade / U.S. Army

Let’s see the flight gear that makes this helicopter’s system operator look like a Stormtrooper out of Star Wars

Let’s have a look at the flight gear of a modern combat helicopter’s crew member.

The above image was released by the Marina Militare (Italian Navy) recently.

The photo is particularly interesting as it provides the opportunity to have a look at the flight gear worn by an SH/UH-90A multi-role combat helicopter aircrew member during a mission.

Maurizio Bressan, a flight gear collector and expert, has helped us identifying the various pieces.

Flight helmet: it’s a Gentex HGU-84/P, the same used by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps helicopter crew members. In this case, it includes the Maxillofacial Shield (MFS) used to safeguard the wearer’s lower face from rotor wash, flying debris and windblast during helicopter operations, and to reduce noise in the microphone. The MFS has been introduced with the HGU-84/P recently, as it previously was only featured by the HGU-56. According to Bressan, the Italian Air Force HH-3F rescuers and operators extensively used this kind of protection during the war in Somalia, when they used the MBU-5 and MBU-12 (without the oxygen hose) to improve the quality of their comms.

Flight Suite: it looks like an American CWU-27/P.

Life Preserver:  it’s an Italian version of the LPU-21/P used by rotary wing assets since the late ’70s – mid ’80s. It contains some manually inflated air bladders.

Survival vest: it’s an Italian variant of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps SV-2B containing a HEEDS (Helicopter Emergency Egress Device), a backup oxygen cylinder that is needed to give the crew member some 3-5 minutes of air in case they need to escape the helicopter (even when upside down) underwater .

Gloves: Italian version of the nomex GS/FRP-2 with the peculiar white palms.

By the way, if you want to get more details about the Italian aircraft and helicopter aircrews’ flight gear you can find more information online on the website of the Italian Ministry of Defense.

Image credit: Italian Navy H/T to Maurizio Bressan for providing the details about the flight gear.


Russia to deploy Ka-52 attack helicopters to Syria to protect Latakia air base

The “Hokum-B” combat helicopters will be used to protect the Russian contingent at Hmeymim airbase.

Russian Kamov Ka-52 (NATO reporting name “Hokum-B”) helicopters would be about to deploy to Syria according to a source who talked to ITAR-TASS.

The attack choppers will be used to protect the Russian Task Force deployed to Hmeymim airbase, near Latakia, as well as to conduct CSAR (Combat Search And Rescue) missions as the one launched to rescue the two pilots who ejected from the Su-24 Fencer shot down by a Turkish Air Force F-16 in November 2015 (during which, a Mi-8AMTSh Hip helicopter was hit by ground fire and later destroyed).

Interestingly, the first Ka-52 deployment will also be an opportunity for the Russians to test new technologies as the KRET Vitebsk EW (Electronic Warfare System).

According to the manufacturer, the Vitebsk can protect the helicopter from anti-aircraft threats in a range of several hundred kilometers, determining who is aiming at the aircraft and, once a missile is fired by a MANPADS (Man Portable Air Defense System), forcing it away from the designated target.

“Interestingly, when this system is onboard, it can protect not only the helicopter or plane, but everything within a certain radius, forming an “electronic canopy” around the object being protected.”

Actually, this is not the first time the Ka-52s are reported to be about to deploy or already deployed to Syria: at the end of November, Sputnik News published a video showing Hokum-B helicopters allegedly operating in Syria. Looks like the segment showing the combat helicopter was old footage filmed somewhere else.

Image credit: ITAR-TASS


Gorgeous photos show new U.S. Army CH-47F Chinook helicopters training in Germany

Some cool U.S. Army CH-47F Chinook images.

Taken on Aug. 21, 2015, the following beautiful pictures show brand new CH-47F Chinook helicopters from Hotel Company 1-214 Aviation Regiment, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB), taking off after refueling at a local German airport and flying in a convoy formation enroute to Bremerhaven port.

New CH-47Fs

The new CH-47F is the cutting-edge variant of the combat-proven Chinook: developed in the 1950s, the CH-47 entered in service with the U.S. Army in 1962 and has played a key role in every major conflict since then.

Being the U.S. Army’s only heavy-lift helicopter, the CH-47 is a critical asset for transporting troops, supplies and providing combat support and combat service support operations.

New CH-47Fs

Image Credit: Sgt. Thomas Mort / U.S. Army

Gorgeous time lapse video shows a US Seahawk helicopter conducting deck landing qualifications at dusk

Watch this awesome time lapse video showing a Seahawk  helicopter in action in the South China Sea.

Taken on Jun. 4, 2015, the following spectacular footage creates stunning light effects transitioning from day to night as an MH-60R from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 35 conducts deck landing qualifications (DLQs) aboard the littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3).

When this clip was filmed USS Fort Worth and two Philippine ships, BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF-15) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16) were taking part to the bilateral Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise, where the Philippine Navy helicopters too conducted deck landing qualifications on the LCS’s flight deck.