For the first time ever, U.S. and Japanese Apache helicopters teamed up to launch Hellfire missiles during a live-fire test, and the result was perfection.
“We hit four out of four, so it worked out,” said U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 and Apache Pilot Steve Frazee.
The exercise was part of Operation Rising Thunder held at the Yakima Training Center in Washington state. It brought together the U.S. 16th Combat Aviation Brigade and the 3rd Anti-Tank Helicopter Battalion, Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force, to test interoperability of U.S. and Japanese Apaches.
Japanese Apache pilot, Maj. Takahashi Shinichiro, said the purpose of the training was to improve communications between the U.S. and Japanese forces.
“I think today’s exercise went pretty well,” he said.
The U.S., flying the latest AH-64E model Apache, fired the missiles at a ground target, with the Japanese providing precise coordinates via their AH-64D model Apaches.
The E-model Apaches, also known as Guardians, provide the U.S. Army the most advanced avionics and most powerful engines to date on the attack helicopter.
For pilots like Frazee, the Apache is tops.
“The Apache’s great, I wouldn’t fly anything else,” he said.
To see the live-fire test in action, watch the video.