'CUTTING EDGE TECHNOLOGY': New generation of attack helicopters arrive at McEntire National Guard Base – Abccolumbia.com


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EASTOVER, SC (WOLO) — New military technology has touched down in Richland County in the form of Apache attack helicopters.
The latest generation of this aircraft arrived at the McEntire Joint National Guard Base this week.
“As we look towards the future and the type of combat we may be involved in, we really have to update our fleet,” said John McElveen, South Carolina Army National Guard aviation director. 
The update adds 24 Apache attack helicopters, the Echo model, replacing the current helicopters at McEntire Joint National Guard Base. 
“This represents a tremendous leap in technology.  The helicopter looks the same. For those of you who are not helicopter pilots, this is a digital transformation,” said Marc Sasseville, United States Air Force lieutenant general.
Five helicopters have already arrived at McEntire. They are equipped with Link 16 communication systems which allow for digital communication from the skies.
“Another huge capability that exists with the Echo model is the ability to not only fly an unmanned aircraft from a manned aircraft but also operate the sensors and weapon systems from the Apache to the unmanned aircraft,” McElveen said.
“You are on the leading edge of this technology with the Echo model here,” Sasseville said, addressing National Guard members. “I think that with that comes a fair amount of responsibility.”
It will require 6 to 12 weeks to get a service member trained on the new helicopter model.
The state’s adjutant general spoke about how important aircraft can be in battle as he found out in Iraq.
“We would look up in the skies. When we saw those gray Apaches, we not only knew they were ours, but we knew that if we got in trouble, they would be there to bail us out.” recalls Van McCarty, South Carolina adjutant general.
The unveiling of the new helicopters also recognized the history of the base and the men and women who had previously served their country.
“We are keenly aware that these aircraft in our hangar today are not the results of our hands alone. We are the grateful recipients of the results of the hard work, sacrifice and dedication to excellence of marauders past,” said Jonathan Norris of the South Carolina Army National Guard.
He also thanked lawmakers for making defense technology a priority in South Carolina. 
The lieutenant governor was on hand to see the new attack helicopters for herself.
“We know the secret to keeping our country and people safe, more so our service men and women safe, is having state of the art equipment,” said Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette.
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