May 15, 2009

New Apache Aircraft Coming To Gowen Field

Crapo assists Army decision to upgrade attack helicopters, training

Washington, DC. - Following months of consultations involving Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, Idaho Army National Guard personnel, and Congressional and Guard representatives from other states, the U.S. Army has agreed on an upgrade of the Apache helicopter fleet stationed at Boise's Gowen Field. The decision means Idaho will receive new AH-64D Apache Longbows, the Army's top attack helicopter and a major improvement in equipment and training for the 1-183rd Aviation Battalion of Army Guardsmen and other employees stationed and training at Gowen Field.

"The record of Idaho Guardsmen and women in serving our state and our nation both domestically and on international battlefronts is second to none," Crapo said. "After continued discussions on the issue of aircraft replacement with Guard leaders and officials from other states, we were able to persuade the Secretary of the Army that Idaho should be included in this upgrade to the Apache Longbow. The new aircraft keeps our Apache fleet at Gowen on a strong mission path well into the future and places Idaho's personnel alongside a handful of Guardsmen in other states that will train with the finest equipment our nation deploys. It is fitting that Idaho's Army National Guard be included in this top class of servicemen and women."

Crapo joined with Guard leadership and representatives from Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Texas in working with the U.S. Army and Army Guard to reach the decision affecting Idaho and the other states. The 1-183rd Aviation Battalion has been deployed overseas to Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. Members of the battalion provide close air support to infantry ground units, for medical evacuations and troop transport services. Crapo said keeping the 1-183rd Aviation Battalion strong is critical for Idaho's economy, as the Idaho Guard had an estimated economic impact last year of $235 million with $88 million in salaries alone.

Boeing signed the first contract to produce the AH-64D Apache Longbow multi-role combat helicopters for the Army in 2005. It would take 16 new Longbows to fully replace the current aircraft at Gowen Field. Images of the AH-64D Apache Longbows are available at
http://www.boeingmedia.com and http://www.boeing.com/rotorcraft/military/ah64d/ .