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    US Army aviation assets participate in Exercise Spartan Kopis

    Apache overhead

    Photo By 2nd Lt. Michael Needham | An AH-64 Apache helicopter from the 185th Theater Aviation Brigade flies above a U.S....... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Michael Needham 

    185th Aviation Brigade

    NORTHERN ARABIAN GULF – Three Soldiers from the 185th Theater Aviation Brigade boarded the USS Higgins Aug. 19, 2015, for an interoperability training mission named Spartan Kopis. Their mission involved integrating efforts between the crew members aboard the USS Higgins, the pilots of the AH-64 Apache aircraft and the operators of the MQ-1C Gray Eagle Unmanned Aerial System (UAS).

    The UAS Grey Eagle has the capability to provide live feed to personnel ashore in the Tactical Operations Center (TOC), the pilots of the AH-64 Apache, and the personnel in the Combat room aboard the USS Higgins. Flying between 7,000 and 10,000 feet, the primary function for the Gray Eagle UAS is to search ahead for other threats of watercraft while mine sweeping boats clear sections of the Northern Arabian Gulf.

    “The Army and the Navy have been given a great opportunity to enhance the overall value of the Army Gray Eagle asset,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Brandon Murphy, the flight operations officer with Company F, 1st Aviation Regiment. “The Gray Eagle demonstrated its versatility by providing reconnaissance, security and target acquisition for the USS Higgins during an overwater mission.”

    Tasked with leaving an enduring footprint in Southwest Asia, the Gray Eagle UAS units are continuously working with U.S. Navy Central Command for planning and executing interoperability missions. “This training allows the Navy to see what the Army can bring to the table,” said Lt. Dan Sledz, the weapons officer for the USS Higgins.

    “The fusion of different branches of service is essential to an effective fighting force,” said Spc. Kenneth Poore, a geospatial imagery intelligence analyst with the 185th TAB. “Whether in a mountain range of Afghanistan or the waters of the Northern Arabian Gulf, being able to visually see the battlefield through full motion video and what is beyond line of sight is critical to any operational element,” said Poore.

    On the second day of Spartan Kopis, the U.S. Army intelligence team from the 185th TAB provided the crew members in the combat room of the USS Higgins with the first live feed to be seen on a naval ship from a Gray Eagle. The live feed proved more than helpful to the personnel in the combat room. From the live feed they were able to positively identify hostile intent during the Spartan Kopis exercise and successfully defeat their adversary.

    Using the live feed provided from the Gray Eagles, the personnel in the combat room were able to relay target information to the pilots in the AH-64 Apaches who were also seeing the same feed in the cockpit of the aircraft. With U.S. naval forces and U.S. Army aviation assets seeing the same picture provided from the Gray Eagle UAS, hostile intent and target identification can be detected and relayed to all the assets on the battlefield.

    “Working with the intel personnel of the USS Higgins is an experience that I will never forget,” said Poore. “Seeing how the Navy personnel gather and use intel allows me to provide what they need to operate at optimal efficiency.”

    Using U.S. Army aviation assets on a naval vessel proved more than useful. This training is vital to maintain a capable and ready joint force to address the many potential threats and challenges in the region.



    Date Taken: 08.19.2015
    Date Posted: 08.22.2015 08:55
    Story ID: 173966

    Web Views: 330
    Downloads: 2