Skip to comments.WA National Guard gets new helicopter for first time in five decades
Posted on 06/25/2014 4:21:11 PM PDT by llevrok
After 38 years in the Washington National Guard, 1st Sgt. Brett Jensen received something new for a change.
The citizen soldier belongs to an aviation battalion thats receiving brand-new helicopters for the first time in five decades. It means the local unit will be able to retire aircraft dating to the Vietnam War era.
Its kind of nice being able to see new aircraft in the fleet, said Jensen, 56, a Tacoma resident who has deployed twice to the Middle East and participated in domestic missions ranging from the Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980 to the more recent disaster of Hurricane Katrina.
His company in the 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation Regiment is receiving six new UH-72 Lakota helicopters to beef up its resources for stateside emergencies such as landslides and wildfires. The Lakota aircraft are replacing OH-58 Kiowa helicopters.
The battalion took possession of the first Lakota two weeks ago. The bird had just 17 hours in the air when a guardsman brought it from Texas to the Evergreen State.
Since then, pilot Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jay Enders has been racking up hours on it.
This has been a lot of fun, said Enders, 47, a Spokane resident who recently returned from a deployment flying medical evacuations in Afghanistan.
Enders said the Lakota is the first helicopter assigned to him thats equipped with modern avionics as well as technology that will let him stream live information from the air to commanders on the ground. Even the helicopters he flew in Afghanistan tended to date from the 1980s, he said.
Its a huge event for us to have something new, he said.
The Washington National Guard has the Armys third-oldest fleet of Blackhawk helicopters and its oldest Chinook helicopter.
That Chinook, built in 1952, was parked Tuesday on the tarmac at Joint Base Lewis-McChords Gray Army Air Field, a couple hundred yards from the Lakota.
That is most assuredly a museum piece in a couple years, battalion Commander Reuben Hokanson of Bonney Lake said as he gestured to the Chinook.
The Army began buying Lakotas in 2006 from defense manufacturer Airbus at a cost of about $6 million each. The Army now has more than 280 of them.
The eight-seat Lakota is larger than the four-seat Kiowa aircraft its replacing. It will be used primarily for search-and-rescue missions, as well as to help the National Guard gather information to shape disaster responses.
Its not large enough for the firefighting loads that the National Guards Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters sometimes carry.
The National Guard plans to station the new helicopters at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane while keeping its Blackhawks and Chinooks at JBLM.
Hokanson said the battalion is in line to get new Chinooks in the next couple years.
Its finally our time, he said.
WA state Ping
stream live information —
OK, look out for NSA, FBI, CIA information leading to SWAT/Military intervention /S
I sure hope this is /S
so no us maker can make a helicopter that fits the bill? we gave 1.3 bilion to a foreign maker, airbus?
They’re built in Mississippi.
For better or worse, a lot of US operations are foreign owned these days. My SIL works for Rolls Royce they build a lot of stuff for the F-35 here in Indiana.
That's TOTALLY Fk-D UP! The Kiowa's are Search and Kill helicopters. In Iraq they were typically armed with twin 7.62 flex guns and hell fire missiles or rockets. A troop was stationed at my base, 40m from my hooch in Babylon, Al Hillah. They patrolled 24/7 and were awesome at night due to their superior IR. Hadjis were terrified of them.
I woke up one night to firing coming from the road running atop the causeway to our base. The Polish dual 23mm returned fire. The car took off back down the elevated road. A minute later a Kiowa comes in from the SE at high speed. The causeway runs elevated about 7 miles to MSR Tampa, an Iraqi highway. About 30 seconds after flying over I heard a "Woosh - BOOM". And that was that. Peace in the valley.
The insurgents were scared S-less of these things. Many of the IR helo kills you see on Youtube, etc. are Kiowa kills. Their optics allowed them to engage at extreme ranges. The enemy usually had no idea they were there.
Straight up killers! And to be replaced with a Fkn utility helicopter? (spit)
Eurocopters,,, embarrassing that foreign machines are being bought.
So the National Guard is getting unarmed helicopters while we arm every civilian police force?
Airbus owns the company making them there. Embarrassing and un-American. If its something like the Harrier was that we simply didn’t build, I could see it. But With Bell, Sikorski, Boeing, Lockheed, etc,,,, we cant build a helo and keep the dollars here?
Peek Traffic, a maker of traffic lights had a large plant in Tallahassee. They bid on replacing the traffic lights, per a city specification. The city went with a higher bid, non-local company. The city had gone out of its way to let Peek know they were not welcome. (This is a small college town, don’t-ya-know?) Peek was so annoyed at the harassment and the bid that they pulled up stakes and took several hundred jobs to a friendlier place. Not supporting the local businesses is a very liberal thing because, and everybody knows this, businesses are evil.
It’s also probable that the winning supplier offered a kickback or some other deal sweetener. (Those things aren’t done in cash anymore. They pick up tabs for travel or an untraceable “gift” arrives at the door.)
Follow the money....who is that Senator from Mississippi again?
One other thing to realize is that many, many so-called US companies are becoming foreign companies for tax reasons.
I suspect in 10 years almost none of the Fortune 500 will be US based.
And (not to toot my own horn) but Maintenance is still keeping them flying in great shape! :D
“That Chinook, built in 1952
Bullsh*t. The first flight of prototype YCH-47A did not take place until the 21st of September, 1961.
Yeah, right.... 1952. More like 1962.
You nailed it, Moose.
Skytruckin’ in -60’s since 1984.
Mission has changed for the Guard. You don't need an attack helo if they are being used to haul around 8 year old Latin Americans to and from school is my guess.
Active Duty ping.