At Fort Novosel in the USA, Polish pilots from the 1st Army Aviation Brigade performed their first training flights on Apache helicopters – informed the head of the Ministry of National Defense, Mariusz Błaszczak, on social media. In August, the US Department of State agreed to sell 96 of these attack helicopters to Poland, along with weapons and equipment.
As written on the profile of the General Command of the Armed Forces, “November 16, 2023 is a unique date in the history of Polish military helicopter aviation.” “This is a new stage in the development of Polish land forces aviation” – it was added. It was reported that “in Fort Novosel (Alabama, USA), Polish pilots from the 1st Army Aviation Brigade in Inowrocław performed their first training flights on the AH-64E Apache – the most advanced combat helicopter in the world.” “The performance of practical tasks in the air was preceded by intensive theoretical and simulator training and included such elements as: checking the helicopter before and after the flight, maneuvering, circular flights, take-offs with limited take-off power and airplane landings,” said the General Command.
The head of the Ministry of National Defense also informed about this event Mariusz Błaszczak. “We want to acquire 96 units of these most advanced combat helicopters in the world. Additionally, the US Army will provide the Polish Army with 8 Apache units until the target deliveries,” he wrote.
The minister reminded about the signing of an offset agreement providing for the establishment of service facilities for key components of the helicopter in Poland.
Apache – what are its abilities?
In August, the head of the Ministry of National Defense, Mariusz Błaszczak, and the American Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced that the Department of State USA agreed to sell 96 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters along with weapons and equipment to Poland.
The spokesman for the Armament Agency, Lt. Col. Grzegorz Polak, in an interview with PAP, when asked about the helicopters’ armament and their capabilities, pointed out that in addition to the 30 mm automatic cannon, the Apache is equipped with, among others, Hellfire and JAGM guided missiles and 70 mm unguided missile launchers. – This is an incredible increase in anti-tank capabilities in the Polish Army – he said.
– Apache is also capable of interacting with unmanned aerial vehicles. This helicopter can control a swarm of drones, for example consisting of a dozen or so unmanned aerial vehicles – he added. As he emphasized, currently the concept of a manned-unmanned team (MUM-T) is only being implemented and tested, but in a few years, when the new Apaches begin to become part of the Polish Army’s equipment, these capabilities will already be real. Polish Apaches will be able to cooperate with Polish-made drones, both in the reconnaissance version and with loitering ammunition, i.e. the so-called kamikaze drones.
Lt. Col. Polak added that the Apache helicopters are adapted to cooperate with the American Abrams tanks, which are already part of the equipment of the Polish Army. – Due to, among other things, the radar they have, the cooperation of these helicopters with any type of land forces – whether artillery, missile, mechanized or armored forces – is an ideal tool that will support operations carried out on land. The Apaches will definitely be included in the equipment of the 1st Army Aviation Brigade, he said. He indicated that the decision to which military units the new attack helicopters will be sent to will be made by the operational troops.
– Apache is a helicopter that goes far beyond the classic concept of an attack helicopter, among others thanks to cooperation with drones and wide reconnaissance capabilities – said Lt. Col. Polak. He added that the Apache can detect and engage targets from a long distance, while remaining undetected itself, for example by remaining low in a hover over a forested area.
Apache are the basic attack helicopters used by the USA
AH-64E Apache helicopters, manufactured by Boeing, are the basic attack helicopters used by the US Army. This structure has been continuously developed for four decades. Apaches were used, among others, during Operation Just Cause in Panama – it was their baptism of fire – and also during the Persian Gulf War in 1991, where they destroyed a large part of Iraqi combat vehicles. Outside the USA, Apache helicopters are used by, among others, Great Britain, IsraelSaudi Arabia, South Korea, Japan or Taiwan.
The AH-64E Guardian version entered service in 2011. Compared to older models, it has reinforced engines, is also equipped with the JTIDS system managing the exchange of information on the battlefield, and has increased communication capabilities – including, for example, the ability to control drones.
Main photo source: private Piotr Pytel/DGRSZ