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US-based Apache squadron teams up with drones during first Europe exercise

By MARTIN EGNASH | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 30, 2018

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — Air cavalry soldiers teamed their Apache helicopter weapons systems with spotter drones to pinpoint targets, a first test for a 4th Combat Aviation Brigade unit that arrived in Europe last month.

In Wednesday’s exercise, the 6th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment had RQ-7 Shadow drones spot targets from above. Then they used lasers to select where the helicopters needed to fire.

“This training shows that the squadron is fully operational and ready to conduct missions as part of [Operation] Atlantic Resolve,” 4th CAB spokesman Capt. Edward Putzier said.

The soldiers are deployed to Europe for nine months as part of the ongoing mission to deter potential Russian aggression. Operation Atlantic Resolve started soon after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

The squadron brought 24 AH-64D Apache helicopters and eight RQ-7 Shadow drones to Europe from Fort Carson, Colo., where they are based.

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Sgt. Michael Salvi, an Apache helicopter electrician with the 6th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, checks the armaments of an AH-64D Apache during his squadron's first gunnery training since they arrived in Europe to support Operation Atlantic Resolve, at Grafenwoehr, Germany, Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018.