By Clark Pierce
The South Carolina Army National Guard 1-151st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion detached a pair of AH-64D Apache helicopters to NAS Jacksonville March 11, where the HS-ll "Dragonslayers" hosted them for two days of joint Strike Coordination and Reconnaissance (SCAR) exercises.
Maj. Antonn Simmons, officer in charge of the Army National Guard detachment said, "This joint exercise is valuable because of the coordination involved in working with dissimilar assets. It moves us forward to a new level of combat preparedness."
Simmons added, "When it comes to joint SCAR training, ours is the first AH-64D Apache battalion in the Army to become overwater and deck-landing qualified. It's part of our overwater program to give the Navy another asset to combat enemy surface ships and small attack boats."
HS-11 Training Officer Lt. Cmdr. Justin Cobb scheduled time at the Pinecastle Range in the Ocala National Forest for two days of joint SCAR exercises with the Dragonslayers' HH-60H Seahawks and the Army's AH-64D Apache and the AH-64D Longbow Apache.
The AH-64 Longbow Apache is a four-blade, twin-engine attack helicopter with a tandem cockpit for a two-man (pilot and co-pilot/gunner) crew. It features a nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems.
It mounts radar-guided Hellfire air-to-ground missiles, primarily used to destroy high-value targets with precision strikes. Other armaments include a 30mm automatic M230 chain gun located under the fuselage, air-to-air missiles and 70mm, 2.75-inch rockets.
Both the Army and Navy helicopters were armed with Hellfire Captive Air Training Missiles to simulate the air-to-ground missile with a seeker head.
In addition to Hellfire missiles, the Dragonslayers' HH-60H Seahawk helicopters employed crew-served M240 machine guns.
Cobb noted, "Pinecastle Range has a moving land target (MLT) system - a remote controlled truck that simulates a small boat threat. To detect the MLT and other targets, I served on board an HH-60 as the SCAR-C (coordinator) for the various exercises. The SCAR-C flies at a higher altitude to assign tasking to the other HH-60 and the Apaches."
Looking to the future, Cobb said, "We're working on new joint exercises with the addition of an MH-60R Seahawk as the SCAR-C, because of its more sophisticated avionics."