The U.S. Army National Guard will have to give up around 400 helicopters, including all of its attack and scout copters, if Congress approves a new and controversial Army reorganization plan.
Guard leaders oppose the move. “This will have a tremendously negative impact,” said Maj. Gen. Max Haston, adjutant general of the Tennessee National Guard.
But if the plan goes forward, the Guard will actually end up with a more useful aviation force than it has now, according to Army leaders.
Today the Guard possesses some 1,500 helicopters spread fairly evenly across the 50 states and U.S. territories. The restructuring plan would remove all of the Guard’s 200 AH-64 Apache attack copters plus its 100 or so OH-58 Kiowa scouts and 100 UH-72 Lakota utility birds.
The Vietnam War-era Kiowas would be scrapped. The Apaches would go to the Active Army to replace that component’s retired Kiowas. The Lakotas would also transfer to the Active Component, where they would replace old TH-67 copters in the training role.
As consolation prize, the Guard would gain 100 UH-60 Blackhawk transports from the Active Army, resulting in a “new” Guard fleet of around 1,200 rotorcraft—just under a third of all Army aircraft.