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Fort Wainwright’s Apaches represent only U.S. Army arctic attack helicopter battalion

Published: Jan. 19, 2021 at 4:17 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Boeing AH-64 Apache is the U.S. Army’s attack helicopter. According to Chief Warrant Officer 4 John Harlin, they can be used both to support troops on the ground as well as work alone doing reconnaissance. He also said that the battalion stationed at Ft. Wainwright is the only arctic attack helicopter battalion.

Harlin is a battalion aviation maintenance officer and a maintenance test pilot for the Apaches in the 1-25th Attack Recon Battalion. He said that these aircraft are integral to the military strategy of the United States, and allow the U.S. to counter other nations who are expanding their arctic presence.

Harlin said that the helicopters stationed at Ft. Wainwright are able to better train because of how big Alaska is.

“One thing that helps us out up here is the actual range in which we can go out and fly in. In many places that we go training out down south, in the ‘Lower-48′ for example, [they] are very restrictive in size - so it limits the amount of aircraft at one given time,” Harlin said.

Alaska allows the 1-25th to fly all of their aircraft simultaneously while they are training. It also allows them to use Gray Eagle unmanned aerial aircraft that work in tandem with the Apaches.

“The Gray Eagles that you may see flying around, we can actually work with them directly, share video feed and actually use their targeting data, which keeps us safer when we are operating in a sensitive area,” he said.

Harlin went on to say that the Apaches are one of the most capable and maneuverable aircraft in the world, allowing them to even fly nearly inverted.

He said that having these aircraft in stationed at Ft. Wainwright helps the Army expand their arctic capabilities, which in turn helps all of the country stay protected.

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