86 Helicopters To Support US Army Activities in Europe

Image Credit: 16th Sustainment Brigade, 21st Theater Sustainment Command
Image Credit: 16th Sustainment Brigade, 21st Theater Sustainment Command

US Army announced that, as a part of the activities, the goal of which is to reinforce and bolster the European potential of the US Army Aviation units, support is going to be provided by 86 helicopters, including 50 Black Hawks and 24 Apaches. At least some of the rotary-winged aircraft mentioned above have been deployed and shipped to Belgium already. Some of these assets will also, probably, be involved in operational activities, while being stationed in Poland. 

The US contingent is going to be deployed by the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division. The deployment will also be supported by a battalion of Apache attack gunships, hailing from the 501st Aviation Regiment of the 1st Armoured Division. The “helicopter” detachment is to involve, in total, around 2200 troops.

As the release issued by US Army Europe reads, the element is going to comprise of 86 helicopters, including 24 AH-64 Apache gunships, 38 UH-60 Black Hawks, 12 HH-60 Black Hawk helicopters in MEDEVAC variant, along with 12 CH-47 Chinook heavy transport rotary-winged aircraft. The helicopters are to be stationed at the Illesheim base in Germany, at least in the beginning, with five Black Hawks to be deployed to the Latvian base of Lievarde, and another five to the Romanian Mihaail Kogalniceanu base.

The Americans are also planning to deploy at least some of the aforesaid units to Poland. Most probably certain elements of the 10th Brigade will be operating from the Powidz Airbase in the Greater Poland district, nonetheless, the US Army has not yet stated which units would operate out of the Polish base.

The operations which are to be undertaken by the American rotary-winged aircraft are scheduled to begin in February, with final point planned in November. Most probably, similar activities should be also seen during the prospective rotations. The whole deployment constitutes a part of bolstered US presence in Europe, the goal of which is to establish a realistic deterrent against the potential Russian aggression. Within the framework of the aforesaid measures, an armoured brigade combat team has also been sent to Poland. Some elements of the unit aforesaid unit have also been deployed in the Baltic states and Germany. Meanwhile, equipment for another brigade, as well as for the division-level units, is going to be stored within the territories of Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany (and maybe in Poland).

Deployment of the 10th Brigade has been planned by the former Administration, led by President Obama. The steps taken will constitute a serious reinforcement of the US Army Europe potential. It is worth to note that as a result of the actions listed above, the Americans will have two complete Army Aviation brigades stationed in Europe. 12th Combat Aviation Brigade has its base located in Germany – this unit still has some significant potential remaining at its disposal (e.g. in a form of an Apache helicopter battalion), even in spite of the cuts that we could have witnessed some time ago.

Considering the aforesaid factors, even taking into equation the fact that US land forces in Europe could be quantitatively classified as a division-sized force, the Americans will have one of the strongest helicopter contingents at their disposal here, at least when it comes to the gunships.